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Thread: Oratex Fabric

  1. #1
    FullThrottle's Avatar
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    Oratex Fabric

    Has anyone recovered a PA-18 with Oratex fabric? Was wondering if there were any downsides (except for appearance)? Thanks!


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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    use search box at bottom of home page, many threads already on oratex

    https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=001054...19.m7rD4m8zP6g

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    whats wrong with the appearance?
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    i have one started the air frame is covered

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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    whats wrong with the appearance?
    the pictures/ones they had on their web site were kinda translucent.. so the 2 layers where tapes were, were a different shade/color... maybe they fixed that???

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    Quote Originally Posted by tempdoug View Post
    whats wrong with the appearance?
    Some find the somewhat translucent appearance not to their liking, I for one think it looks kinda cool, I like being able to see the structure, what's wrong with that? It probably depends a lot on how big a weight weenie one is, for the weight savings it's a non issue. The same reasoning made me use PolyTone finish paint for 5 aircraft I've covered, lightness being more important then a slick glossy paint job, for me anyway. Winner in his class at the recent Texas STOL event: Hal Stockman, in his RANS S-7S, beating the much higher powered CC's by quite a bit, was Oratex covered, FWIW. His second time he's used it, so far so good.

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    The materials are about 2X the cost of anybody else. Also makes one ask why their display aircraft at Osh was painted?
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    Some of the colors are more translucent than others. The light colors are the worst but the blue and silver are opaque. I heard they are working on making them all opaque. Here is mine with the Fokker red. I plan to paint on trim in the '58 livery.
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    Mauleguy's Avatar
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ID:	39394I have 3 years on my covering, the aircraft is hangared year round here in the Pacific NW and still looks new except where I have some tapes that lifted. I have used superglue to glue some back down but that is a PITA too because if the glue gets out past the edge of the tape you see it also. I like a lot of things about Oratex: #1 non toxic #2 easy to repair #3 weight savings. The only thing I really don't like is the tape issues but I think if I did another airplane I have that figured out. Every where you are going to put a tape down brush on their glue and that issue will be a non issue. Put masking tape down and stay a 1/16" in on each edge so the actual tape width is covering the brush on glue otherwise it will turn brown later where the glue is.

    I just finished doing Bushwacker in Polyfiber with Aerothane and as I was dragging around the fresh air hose while painting I was thinking Oratex was looking like a good option again. The truth is there is no easy way to cover an airplane it is all labor intensive and patience is key.
    Last edited by Mauleguy; 10-19-2018 at 12:46 PM.
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    storm_pilot's Avatar
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    About 2 years ago they came out with a surface prep for the tapes. Wipe on, dries clear, TAPES STICK AWSOME!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longsair View Post
    The materials are about 2X the cost of anybody else. Also makes one ask why their display aircraft at Osh was painted?
    I suspect it was, at least in part, because people kept asking Lars "How can I get a shiny finish with Oratex?" and "Can I paint Oratex with good results?" There were at least a dozen other airplanes on the field covered with Oratex that they pointed people to if they wanted to see the "au naturale" ones.

    And although the materials cost 2X the others, the labor is about 1/2 to 1/3 (the more you do it, the better you get, as with any system). My labor might be free, but I can't paint worth a darn, so I would have to have someone do that for me. And given labor rates of $95/hour around here for anything related to aircraft, I suspect the Oratex would be a LOT cheaper overall.
    Jim Parker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longsair View Post
    The materials are about 2X the cost of anybody else. Also makes one ask why their display aircraft at Osh was painted?
    The owner wanted a particular look. Only the purple was paint, most of the plane was Oratex silver.
    "Always looking up"

  13. #13
    Rick Papp's Avatar
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    I covered my carbon cub in oratex. It turned out really nice. Enjoyed working with it very clean and very safe. Got to do my first repair on it before I even had it certified by the FAA. I poked a hole in the bottom of the airplane with a screwdriver and got to repair it. It was really easy and turned out nice. I hate to paint and hate to sand even more. It was really easy to put on and very clean. I also used Foker Red. It is a bit translucent but I kind a like it. Without a doubt I would use it again on any airplane. Rick��
    Never stay level!!!!!
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  14. #14
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauleguy View Post
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ID:	39394I have 3 years on my covering, the aircraft is hangared year round here in the Pacific NW and still looks new except where I have some tapes that lifted. I have used superglue to glue some back down but that is a PITA too because if the glue gets out past the edge of the tape you see it also. I like a lot of things about Oratex: #1 non toxic #2 easy to repair #3 weight savings. The only thing I really don't like is the tape issues but I think if I did another airplane I have that figured out. Every where you are going to put a tape down brush on their glue and that issue will be a non issue. Put masking tape down and stay a 1/16" in on each edge so the actual tape width is covering the brush on glue otherwise it will turn brown later where the glue is.

    I just finished doing Bushwacker in Polyfiber with Aerothane and as I was dragging around the fresh air hose while painting I was thinking Oratex was looking like a good option again. The truth is there is no easy way to cover an airplane it is all labor intensive and patience is key.
    storm_pilot posted it. The new manual calls for the surface prep which is interesting and clever because they send you some granules that you dissolve in pure Acetone to save on hazmat shipping. Also mask off inboard of where the tape will lay so the glue will neat get on the colored finish. Precoat with their glue just outboard of the reinforcing ribstitching tape. Once put down with a heat gun and the felt sqegie I had two sharp creases in the tape. 240 degree flat iron made them flat and looked perfect. I tried getting my thumb nail under and pulling the tapes off but was unable. This was all on AirTec cover job that they didn't stitch the inboard 4 ribs on. It is expensive, over $1000 for everything to cover a set of elevators plus a 10% charge for the STC. It is alla compromise.
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    Steve Pierce

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    For those that have never covered a plane, I can see it being a hard decision to make. Think of it, Oratex, like the difference between drywall and finished paneling: after you hang the drywall, the fun is just starting, you then have to perform numerous tasks to bring it to the state to where you can finally put the finish coat on it. All of this has to be done in a dust free, temp controlled enviroment. With paneling, hang it, and you're done. If a builder subbed out the fuselage and other metal parts painting, there'd be no need to ever build or maintain a paint booth again. No need for an outside air respirator, exhaust fan, and a way to keep all this at the proper temp if building in cold weather. No sprayer cleanup after painting, all that lacquer thinner not bought, all the fire hazard, all the stink, gone. Also the hazardous freight fees for shipment of the various top coatings, that really adds up these days. Oratex seems like a bargain to me when all that is considered, being lighter also is a real bonus. I've been halfways hoping I'd wreck just so I could have a chance to work with it, but the PolyFiber/Polytone still looks pretty good, 13 years now.
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  16. #16

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    The double cost of Oratex is for the materials. The process time will be very different, so if you are paying somebody else to do the work, it will likely save money to go with the more expensive product. On the other hand, if you are not paying for labor and you have the time, then yes, Oratex will end up costing more, so the more traditional covering methods might be worth the savings.


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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mauleguy View Post
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ID:	39394I have 3 years on my covering, the aircraft is hangared year round here in the Pacific NW and still looks new except where I have some tapes that lifted. I have used superglue to glue some back down but that is a PITA too because if the glue gets out past the edge of the tape you see it also. I like a lot of things about Oratex: #1 non toxic #2 easy to repair #3 weight savings. The only thing I really don't like is the tape issues but I think if I did another airplane I have that figured out. Every where you are going to put a tape down brush on their glue and that issue will be a non issue. Put masking tape down and stay a 1/16" in on each edge so the actual tape width is covering the brush on glue otherwise it will turn brown later where the glue is.

    I just finished doing Bushwacker in Polyfiber with Aerothane and as I was dragging around the fresh air hose while painting I was thinking Oratex was looking like a good option again. The truth is there is no easy way to cover an airplane it is all labor intensive and patience is key.
    Not trying to hijack the thread, but I would love to see/hear how Bushwacker is coming along. Hope you are flying version 2.0 soon.

    Joe
    Likes Olibuilt, RaisedByWolves, kestrel, WA L16 liked this post

  18. #18
    Mauleguy's Avatar
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    I just finished painting the fuselage, wings and tail feathers, decided to change the paint color, went with all black. . I am in the home stretch, lots of little things to do but it is mostly easy stuff. I still have to build new ailerons and baffling those are probably the two biggest projects. I pulled the sump last week and machined it from rear facing to forward facing to make my induction simpler. I have not decided on a propeller yet but since I am running a Lycoming IO-360 now with 200hp I will probably go with a constant speed. I was thinking about a constant speed composite propeller but not sure I want to spend the big dollars on it right out of the gate. I already have an 86" compact Hartzell I can play with and it is almost as light as the big 90" fixed prop I was running before. I am trying to get her done by the 1st of the year, I will post some video of it when it she is flying again. My goal is to cruise at 120 mph and land at 35 mph on 35" Bushwheels. Bushwacker 2.0 will be heavier which is never good but I am trying to make an airplane that does many things well. Original Bushwacker weighed 1325 on 35" Bushwheels I will report back on the weight gain but if I had to guess 1400 pounds.

    Major changes:
    Dynafocal engine mount with Lycoming IO-360
    Custom engine mount.
    Constant speed propeller.
    Pilot sets center line in Cub seat with passenger sling seating moved forward.
    Cub heel brakes and rudder peddles.
    Control stick for pilot only (custom torque tube)
    Larger extended baggage with totally flat floor for 7 feet behind pilot seat.
    Extend wings by 12" each (wing span 36') with Dakota tips.
    Added tip tanks back in so I have 67 gallons of fuel on board if I am traveling.
    Flaps shortened to 114" (they were 120") and ailerons extended to 78" (they were 60").
    Angle of incidence increased by 3/4" more then a stock Super Cub.
    Custom Oleo's, canister has a 3" die spring with 10 " of urethane disc segments.
    Cub style cowling and nose bowl.
    Likes Bill Rusk, Hardtailjohn, hottshot liked this post

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