Oratex is like Yoga Pants

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Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby BDA » Sat Oct 14, 2017 11:56 am

tail1.jpg
Horizontal Stab with glue on it
Good or Bad - what ever is underneath is showing off for your friends

My first experience covering with any fabric - so don't look too close.

I learned ALOT.

Should have ground down the proud welds cause they stick out like a bad yoga pose.

Should have used a rag to paint the glue on cause the stain applicator left air bubbles.

Should have put on less glue with more applications - left ridges in the dried glue.

Should have left the edges of the fabric piece longer so I had something to pull on.

Should not have cut holes for penetrations when laying out the fabric, they are in a different place after you start stretching it.

Should have cut the finish edge closer to the edge - too long shows up more

But all in all, I like it. Very tough stuff, and very forgiving.
SuperStol XL With Titan 340
#486 - Started 9-2016
Mods in progress: Wing extensions, Airfoil tail ribs
Goal: 15mph no wind
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby BDA » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:22 pm

A few pics of the process
Covered both horizontals, both elevators, and the rudder in about 10 hours start to finish (no finish tapes yet).

If I weren't going to be landing on the beach and other rough gravel strips I would leave the tapes off, this stuff is super tuff.
Attachments
tail5.jpg
tail4.jpg
tail3.jpg
tail2.jpg
My lovely assistant
Last edited by BDA on Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
SuperStol XL With Titan 340
#486 - Started 9-2016
Mods in progress: Wing extensions, Airfoil tail ribs
Goal: 15mph no wind
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby BDA » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:27 pm

Finishing up
Top pic is after initial shrink but before final shrink.
Attachments
tail11.jpg
Tail10.jpg
tail9.jpg
SuperStol XL With Titan 340
#486 - Started 9-2016
Mods in progress: Wing extensions, Airfoil tail ribs
Goal: 15mph no wind
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby Tralika » Sun Oct 15, 2017 12:49 pm

I bet it will come out better than you think. I suggest you cover the large parts first, like wings and fuselage. If you cover all the small parts, like flaps ailerons, elevators, then run short of fabric and you have a half a fuselage left to cover, you'll have to buy a large piece of fabric to finish. If you start with the large sections first and run short you'll only have to buy a small piece of fabric to finish. When I built my plane I fitted the vertical stab but did not install it permanently until I covered the bottom of the fuselage. That way I was able to turn the fuselage upside down when I covered it. That made it a lot easier to lay out the fabric and get it glued down. The only thing I would have done differently is I would start at the front, fitting around the landing gear and then worked my way to the rear. The landing gear on the SS is different than the Highlander so it may not make any difference on your plane. I you don't have a plan for fitting the fabric around the handle in on the left/rear of the fuselage you'll want to figure that out before you start. Also the inside radius curve where the front of the vertical stab meets the top of the fuselage is tricky. There is a way to make that come out a little neater Rob Pedersen showed me. I envy you not having to paint your plane. Without a doubt it was the worst part of my build.
John Nealon
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Highlander Extreme #191
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby moving2time » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:22 am

Wanted to thank you for posting your Oratec installation. No one has posted part by part photos of their Oratec installation that I have noticed. Looking forward to seeing the rest. Good luck. Joe B
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby BucF16 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:29 am

BDA, Thanks for your post. Please keep us updated on all of the do and don'ts. I came to the conclusion after your post, (and hours on the internet list night) that I am going to use Oratex. The main reason is time. I want to get this bird in the air! We were going with a Olive Drab military paint job anyway, so Oratex will make it easy.

Tralika;
Would you share Rob Peterson's method on the radius?

Bruce
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby BDA » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:10 am

Your welcome Bruce

Very happy overall with the Fabric

Time was the deciding factor for me as well. pretty slow going at first until I got the hang of it, MUCH faster now.

I am amazed at how forgiving it is, I can screw it up pretty bad and still save it. And trust that it is safe.

My recommendation for anyone wanting to use Oratex - get some and practice on something that doesn't matter. And do both sides

I used the samples that Lars gave me to cover an old stabilizer from another project - but only did one side, then took it to have painter put a test stripe on it to see how the paint worked with the fabric. Did a lot of abuse testing on it first!

When I covered my tail pieces for real I learned some valuable lessons (made mistakes) on the second side that I should have learned on the test piece. My tail pieces would have turned out much better.

I waited to Order all the glue and Tapes until I really needed them - they have a short shelf life - Very good decision.

This is my test piece - OLD RUSTY part, left most of the old dope on it, scuffed it with sand paper quick and that's it. As you can see, all the rough spots and dope shows through if you don't smooth it down.

Also - if you are not careful with the glue on the table (gotta use disposable cover) the glue that you dripped or wiped onto the table will transfer to the fabric with heat :evil:
Attachments
tail test 1.jpg
I glued 2 pieces of different color fabric together on the bench and triggered the glue before covering to make the sample piece big enough
tail test 2.jpg
Before shrinking
Tail test 3.jpg
Good example of what poor surface prep will do to the finished part - it shows through
SuperStol XL With Titan 340
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Mods in progress: Wing extensions, Airfoil tail ribs
Goal: 15mph no wind
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby moving2time » Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:43 pm

I have not seen an Oratex covered bird in person yet. Two people have said that you can see through the covering. More specifically they said you could see the frame through the covering much like some of the RC films for RC aircraft. Looking forward to following your progress. Joe B
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby Strasnuts » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:45 pm

I have a red SS covered with Oratex. I have 90 hours on it and I'm happy with the decision. I had first gen of tapes made and they needed a lot of touch up afterwards. I have had to hit the same spots over a few times. I heard they have a 3rd generation of the tapes now with more glue. I thought the process was easy though. I used small pieces of fabric on glued and ironed on welded corners and sharp edges then covered over the small pieces with the main sheets. My SS came out at 848 pounds empty with a 130hp rotax and touch G3X. I have ADS-b and FIS-b installed. Happy with the plane.
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby moving2time » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:46 am

Strasnuts, Can you comment on the translucency concern other have shared with me? Perhaps take a photo from both outside and inside on a sunny day. I haven't seen it in person so I don't know if it is something that I would find to be an issue. I'm certain it is a personal thing but I can't imagine it is a big deal. Perhaps the guys I talked to were just put off because it didn't look like a traditional painted covering. Oratex is an awesome covering material as far as wear and tear. I wish there was mote out there to get a better idea of what it looks like in the real world. It should be perfect for someone that is interested in using their plane heavily and not interested in winning a show. Joe B
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby Strasnuts » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:10 am

It's a sunny day today. I'll try to get a good pic inside and outside. I don't have the interior kit so mine is probably more translucent than most.
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby SheepdogRD » Sat Oct 21, 2017 5:01 pm

moving2time wrote:... Two people have said that you can see through the covering. More specifically they said you could see the frame through the covering much like some of the RC films for RC aircraft...

They're likely referring to the lightweight Oratex 600 in white. Where the 6000 grade is milky white, the 600 grade is a skimmed-milk white and you can see the fuselage frames in strong sunlight. I haven't noticed the see-through effect in any other color except the 600 white. Our silver Oratex 6000 is absolutely not see-through, even in direct sunlight.
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby BucF16 » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:53 pm

Thanks Sheepdog! The Alaska group has been on my inquiry from the beginning. Time is money. And since the preferred method to enhance the single color fabric is vinyl wrap, this is an easy decision.

Cheers,
Bruce
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby Strasnuts » Sun Oct 22, 2017 11:17 pm

Here are some pics of the red Oratex on my SS. As you can see it is a little translucent.
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IMG_8324.jpg
IMG_8323.jpg
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Re: Oratex is like Yoga Pants

Postby Tralika » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:21 pm

Bruce asked me to share the finishing technique I got from Rob Pederson for the convex curve on the vertical stab. I learned how to get the fabric to fit in that area from the Stewart's video. The link below shows that in good detail at about 1:30:00 into the video. Note that plane being covered in the video is a Pacer and he covers the sides of the fuselage separately from the vertical stab. You could do it that way on the Highlander/Super STOL fuselage but most people use one piece of fabric on each side and the vertical stab attaching the fabric to the bottom longeron and the top stringer on the fuselage. After covering one side you will need to shrink the fabric to make it smooth so you you have a flat surface to glue the fabric over the top stringer from the other side. Do not do a full shrink on the first side. Just shrink it enough to make a smooth surface to glue the fabric from the other side. The top stringer is not strong enough to take a full shrink on one side and will bend. You must shrink both sides at the same time to keep the tension on the top stringer even.

Working the fabric around the convex curve at the between the bottom of the vertical stab and the end of the top stringer is not easy and you really have to take your time. When your done your going to have a bunch of triangular cuts on the fabric that is glued down over the fabric on the other side. This gets covered with tape but the triangular cut outs show through the tape. To make them less noticeable you can fill in the gaps with pieces of fabric. This is done after the glue on the joint is dry and you have done your final shrink. I used a piece of paper to trace out a template on each spot. After cutting out the paper template I transferred that shape to a piece of fabric. I cut out the fabric with regular scissors, not pinking sheers. I trimmed off the edge of the little patch with pinking sheers to match the edge of the fabric seam. Glue the small piece of fabric in the gap and let it dry. It will help if you can get all the little fibers of fabric either cut off or tucked down next to the fabric while you are in the process of attaching the fabric to the fuselage. I didn't do a very good job of that. Frankly I was so glad to finally get the fabric to fit over that convex curve that I didn't even notice the fibers until after the glue had dried. Without a doubt, this was the most difficult part of covering the plane.

In the photo you can see all the ragged cut-outs on the seam and the one white piece of fabric that has been cut but not yet glued into the space. The other photo shows the final product after taping and painting. Not perfect but a lot better than all the obvious cut-outs under the tape.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGpMEuPnM7g&t=5515s
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DSC04143.JPG
DSC03495.JPG
John Nealon
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