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Author Topic: Laying up sails with taped seams  (Read 3047 times)
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inewham
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« on: March 06, 2009, 04:01 PM »

First post - got to start somewhere  Cheesy

I've seen various methods for sticking together panels on taped seam sails. When I got started with taped seams I was shown a method suited to doing a lot of sails which, if you have the space, makes short work of it. I'm not sure I've ever written it up so here goes:

Get some drafting film, the heavy opaque plastic(?) tracing paper used by architects and draughtsmen. Copy the sail pattern onto a single sheet - I do my templates without seam allowances so I lay out all my templates and draw around to get a full size plan. It ends up about 8ft by 4ft so you need a big table or you could do half a sail maybe.

Next in strategic positions on the film stick down 1" lengths of seam tape. I find 4 or 5 per panel is good, keep them about 1" away from the edge of each panel (because you need to lift the edges). Bainbridge or Venture tape is excellent for this, the 3M stuff is a bit too aggressive IMO.

Now peel all the backing off these strips of tape and roll the palm of your hand over the tape, over and over to take most of the sticky-ness off the tape. You want it to hold icarex in place without actually sticking to it.

(A digression here - some will say you could us spray mount but in my experience its too tacky and grabs too quickly even after using it a lot. Great for stopping your templates slipping when cutting out but a PITA for this)

Now stick all your panels on the film until you have a complete sail but don't add the tape between seams yet! Ensure that as you lay out the panels, for each edge, the panel that should finish underneath, is on top to begin with (hope that makes sense when you read the next para. ).

Now you have a complete sail, minus tape, lay the tape on the uppermost piece of Icky for each seam, stick it down. leaving the backing on, slip a pinky under the panel edge underneath and slip it out and over the panel edge you've just taped.

Now just whip the backing off and rub down the panel edge above and move on to the next seam.

When the whole sail is done just lift it off the film ready to sew.

This really needs photos  Roll Eyes but with all the tacking down to the film all the panels stay flat, you don't get any creases or wrinkles and you can blast through laying up sails in no time.

A bit long winded for a single sail but if you make half a dozen of the same kite (B'zar or Le Virus fans?) this method is fast and a piece of cake.

 
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CTaylor
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« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2009, 04:57 AM »

KMAC's method is to use a sticky mat.  It definitely saves a lot of time, but it's expensive if you only build a few kites per year.  However it should last quite a while if you can keep dust from settling on it.
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DWayne
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« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2009, 07:21 AM »

I've been using masking tape to hold my panels in place (taping them to the plan) then gluing them together with Bostik "Quick Stick" glue sticks. It works really well on everything but the dacron (wear patches and leading edge) and nose webbing. Way faster and than using seam tape. Less expensive too.

Denny
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CTaylor
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« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2009, 10:38 AM »

Denny, you should try out the 3M DS tape gun.  Talk about fast and easy.   Wink
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mikenchico
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« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2009, 01:05 PM »

I'm really happy to see Mr Newham volunteering as a moderator for this section and the excellent start he's giving it. His website is one I rely on and pass on to anybody who is considering designing & building sport kites. With starts like this Steve's new forum is really getting a leg up.


I do use the spray adhesive over the whole pattern technique myself, the trick is VERY LIGHT dusting and let it DRY before placing the fabric down, it remains tacky enough to hold things nicely and I've had no problems with it releasing. I first tack down a copy of my pattern then dust it, that way I have a layout for my panels right there. Usually I just lay the fabric on and cut it right on that pattern and leave it stuck down, just roll the edge back to cut the adjacent panel, of course your pattern is toast when your done but I don't produce multiple kites so making templates is just an extra unneeded step for me. If I intended to make multiple kites I'm sure I would be rethinking my process.

I use the one wing at a time method when building sport kites even though I have an 8' x 8' worktable.

My taping process after all the panels are cut and still stuck to the pattern is much like Ian's although I fold back the top layer, tape the bottom layer then let the top layer fall back onto the tape.

Most Important: and Ian didn't go into depth here. Spread your fingers out and lightly tap the top layer to the tape all along the seam starting in the middle and working out. Leave an inch or two between your fingers then move out and tap again. Go back to the center and repeat until until the whole seam is stuck, you'll see the fabric becomes more translucent where it's stuck. If you need to reposition, the taps haven't stuck the fabric so strongly that the tape won't release easily. Never start at one side and rub it down or you'll stretch the fabric and cause wrinkles and alignment problems. Once tapped down press harder with your palms, again without sliding them along the seams. Then use a rubber roller if you feel you need to. The result is the same in the end, a flat sail with no wrinkles.

A 4' x 8' sheet of hardboard/masonite makes a fine cutting surface and is inexpensive enough that after many kites and a buildup of glue and cut marks I can replace it and have always found a use for the old one without tossing it. I leave a little extra fabric around the perimeter of both halves then lay them face to face and cut the final outline through both layers at once giving me a perfectly symmetrical sail.

I'm sure everybody finds their own methods, mine is just an amalgamation of techniques I've learned from others over the years and evolves as I incorporate new idea's from builders I talk with or read in their posts like these.

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inewham
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2009, 04:57 PM »

For prototypes and one-offs I just stick the templates together and waft over a bit of spraymount but when making a few kites at a time the bits of tape method had the advantage that I could slap a panel down and easily slide it around to get it into position whereas with the spray mount, even after drying I need to lift the panel up to reposition it - I can't slide it around.
Everyones got their favourite way of doing it.  Cool

If anyone is about to use tape for the first time and without a gun - don't stretch it! Lay it down gently, don't hold it tight by either end or your seam will not so much wrinkle as get odd bulges as it shrinks back.
 
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