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Author Topic: Icarex/ PC31 substitute  (Read 3754 times)
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ozzymat
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« on: April 14, 2012, 05:28 AM »

Is there a suitable substitute of Icarex/ PC31 fabric when building sport kites?

I've just started a Sixth Sense build which has almost used up my stock of Icarex so I am trying to work through any options before placing an Icarex order.

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sugarbaker
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2012, 07:30 AM »

I know Will Sturdy is using AirX (probably 600n) in his next version of the Saber.  AirX is a nylon ripstop, but has overcome many of the downsides of previous nylons such as color fading and stretching (at least this is my understanding). I'm not sure where it is available.  There are other variants of coated nylon ripstop that are very good and were found suitable for kites for quite a long time before PC31 became popular.  I'll be curious to know if anyone else chimes in with some solutions.
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thief
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« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2012, 09:57 AM »

Kite studio carries polyester fabric.....
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Wayner
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2012, 01:34 PM »

Kite studio carries polyester fabric.....

Kite studio is closed until May 6th.
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DD
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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2012, 01:35 PM »

Any other fabric stores?
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Will Sturdy
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2012, 07:01 PM »

At this point there are nylons that are stronger and have in most circumstances better dynamic characteristics than PC-31. That was not the case when PC-31 started being used in kites.

AirX 600N is available in a decent variety of colors at about the same weight per yard as PC-31. It has a much harder finish than most other nylons, so it has less bias stretch and is not as susceptible to moisture. It's got a tad more give along the weave than PC-31, but if anything less along the bias because of the super tight weave and hard coating.

Formulon 75 is a bit heavier and available in fewer colors, but is also quite good. It's a bit softer than AirX, which in many circumstances is a good thing.

None of the newer performance nylons come in as wide a variety of colors as PC-31, so if cost is no option and you can get find someone with the colors you want and looks are more important than performance and durability, PC-31 is probably better. Other than that, I really don't see much of a reason to use it.

Edit: Most other polyesters available have weights measured in the same way as nylons generally are. The oz/yd ratings are nominal and are not what the actual weight of the fabric is. The polyesters that Steve sells are much heavier than PC-31. I would avoid them for most sport kites.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2012, 07:04 PM by Will S » Logged
mikenchico
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« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2012, 10:51 PM »

Nylon has better abrasion and punction resistance then Polyester and although it does stretch more then Poly it returns to its original shape unless stressed far past it's limit. Polyester suffers complete failure at its limit. If it's now available in weights near PC31 and the new coatings reduce its absortion of water as Will says for my money it sounds like a better fabric choice. Nylon has always absorbed bumpy winds like we have better then Poly due to the slight stretch, this AirX 600N sounds great.

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DD
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2012, 07:47 AM »

Will,
Where can we get the "new"fabric?
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Will Sturdy
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« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2012, 05:29 PM »

I do not believe that it is available for sale on the retail market. You could check with some sail lofts to see if they have any - if there's a local racing fleet, chances are there's some stuffed in a corner somewhere.
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2012, 09:12 PM »

If you really want icarex right now the only place to get it is through Jon but its ~$15 a yard.  I've been looking for a airx source for a while and Will is right, there are no retail outlets selling it.  As far as color the best range is there 700n (3.4 oz) 600n is equal to pc 40 in weight (.6oz) but only has a few colors.  500n is the .5 oz cloth but only available in 3 colors.  If I find a source for Airx I may have to get it through my business channels so when/if I do I'll post up.

THe only place selling any cloth right now is Goodwinds and all they have is  .75 oz silicone/urethane coated nylon (30 denier)
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2012, 10:40 PM »

Went to a sail loft near by a while back and they were asking I think it was around 15-20 a yard for airex not sure what weight it was though.  Not sure if Texlon ships small quantities (lucky enough to live not too far away from them) but that nylon is what Revolution uses for their EXP and 1.5 I think.
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2012, 11:26 PM »

Went to a sail loft near by a while back and they were asking I think it was around 15-20 a yard for airex not sure what weight it was though.  Not sure if Texlon ships small quantities (lucky enough to live not too far away from them) but that nylon is what Revolution uses for their EXP and 1.5 I think.
Texlon's minmum order quantity is 9,000 yards according to a US wholesaler I talked to and they said the minimum was going to be raised.
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Will Sturdy
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« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 05:25 AM »

Fabric weight with these materials is a complicated thing.

These are measurements I made from 2.5"x3" sections of various materials.

PC-31: .19g (39 g/sq. m)
Formulon 75: .21g (43 g/sq. m)
AirX 600N: .19g (39 g/sq. m)
Challenge 3/4 oz Fibermax: .21g (43 g/sq. m)
Generic 3/4 oz: .23g (48 g/sq. m)

Almost all fabric weights for spinnaker fabrics are nominal, that is they refer to the class of fabric and have more to do with application than actual weight. Note that PC-31 is not 31 g/sq. m - that's probably the weight before the coating. Different manufacturers measure weight differently. The only way to tell actual weight for sure is to measure it yourself.

AirX 500N would be a good bit lighter than PC-31. Formulon 60 is probably between 500N and 600N. The AirX 700N is about the same weight as most 3/4 oz nylons.

Hard coatings reduce the amount of stretch, which isn't necessarily a good thing for efficiency but is generally good to a point for sport kites. In my experience PC-31 has too little and most urethane coated and other deep downwind nylons have too much. What we want is the newer nylons designed for reaching spinnakers on sport boats and dinghys. These generally have a tight weave and hard coating to help get a flatter sail at high pressures.
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« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2012, 10:28 AM »

Texlon's minmum order quantity is 9,000 yards according to a US wholesaler I talked to and they said the minimum was going to be raised.
You talk to someone at Texlon or a thirdparty?  They where pretty accommodating when I called/went there.  If I recall correctly the first time I got some nylon from them they said that 1 yard was like sample size for them so could try buying some 1 yard samples if 3/4 nylon is what you are after.
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 11:47 AM »

IT was a rep at dimension-polyant  that I talked to Will.  THey were the only other place listing polycarbonate coated polyester sail fabric.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 11:52 AM by Ca Ike » Logged
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