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Which fabric should I use?

Posted: Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:35 PM Quote
The two most common fabric choices for certified fabric are Ceconite/Poly-fiber (same stuff) and Superflight. You can get either a medium weight or heavy weight fabric. The FAA no longer certifies light weight fabric.

Medium weight fabric from Ceconite/Poly-fiber is called 102-3 and weighs 3.2 oz per yard. Superflight medium fabric is just plain 102 and it weighs 2.7 oz per yard. Both fabrics are fully FAA certified but the big difference is how they feel, shrink, and soak up the glue and primer.

Ceconite changed manufactures a while ago and the newer "-3" fabric has a more starchy and stiff feel to it. It shrinks very fast and very tight. The weight and strength of the fabric has increased and it actually is as strong and the old heavy 101 fabric. You have to be careful on light weight structures not to go past about 300 deg F. to avoid crushing or distorting the component.

Superflight brand fabric has a nice and silky feel to it. It soaks up EkoBond and EKoFill extremely well. It is very strong and shrinks evenly in both the warp and fill directions. It does not feel as drum tight as the Ceconite fabric when shrunk to the same temperature. It's a better choice for light weight aircraft and structures because it's much less likely to distort the frame work.

Finishing Tapes

There are either light weight or medium weight fabric tapes. Today most builders prefer to use Pinked tapes instead of the straight tapes due to the fact that the straight tapes have a slightly raised edge and if you don't put them on perfectly straight they stand out more. There is no right or wrong it's all about personal preference. Ceconite and Superflight have different sized pinks on their tapes so try not to mix the two different brands on the same area of your project. Ceconite tapes in my experience have the ability to shrink around tighter curves better. You can also buy pre-shrunk tapes and bias tapes.

My preference is to use the light weight tapes. I feel that they look better and I like how much nicer they lay down.

Posted: Thursday, September 29, 2011 1:45 PM Quote
Hi, I am not sure where to put this question so here it is. I was at Oshkosh in 2010 for the monsoons and mud but did make it to the Stewart system booth. I talked to Mr Stewart about an easy riser I am working on. We discussed the lightest fabric which I will use. My easy has an aluminum frame which Mr Stewart said is no problem. We also discussed the weight factor of the entire system and the possibility of using just one coat of the Eco Fill to seal the fabric with a possible top coat for color but thin coats to keep the weight down as the easy riser is a fixed wing hang glider. He mentioned doing some tests and I am curious as to whether he was able to do this and what the results were, My frame is complete and I am almost ready to cover. I considered sail cloth as an option but I like the durability of the stewart system. After seeing it on a fellow EAA members Volksplane I am sold. Just need the information on the "lightest " way to get it done.