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My Oratex experience

There is an IA in Wasilla that uses Oratex on his working Cub and installs it. Also an installer I know that does it for a living (has heat gun will travel). While I know both of them, I receive no compensation or perks of any kind by sending business there way. If anybody wishes to contact them, send me a pm.
 
Just an update,
Have 2 years or so on the Oratex fabric.
Had a bad fuel leak along the way, no damage, but there is a distinct blue stain from avgas, it seems to be fading tho.
Everything is holding up very well. I did have a few small spots where I did not heat the tape enough to trigger the glue, and they lifted a little, but easy to fix with the heat gun.
After the initial install, when I wheeled the plane out in the cold the fabric was too loose, it seems that it will only shrink so tight. So I "froze" the airframe and reshrunk when cold as the frame was smaller, it has stayed tight in all temps since then.
I had a persistant oil leak for the first 10 hours or so, so the belly got pretty oily, no effect.
I have also had some pretty hard "dings" that left an impression in the fabric that I thought I would have to shrink out, but they tightened up on their own - still not sure how that works. Very sure that one of those would have gone through "regular fabric"

All in all I am very happy with it.
It does not have that fancy airplane shine, but I don't wash my plane enough to care about that.
It is VERY tough.
I am going to do some mods in the near future that will require cutting and regluing, I will update after thatbeach plane.jpgcabin plane.jpg
 

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I wonder if, instead of waxing Oratex, you used Aerospace 303? Maybe someone has tried this, Lars?
 
Nanook, I will try it when I get home.

The beauty of Oratex is the ability to repair it with out mek and paint/silver/dope etc. You just paint the glue on, let it dry, then heat it up until the reaction happens, and then shrink.
But
If there is something weird on there, it can be hard to clean well enough to get the glue to stick. I have heard that the Ceramic coatings are really hard to get off.

A word to the wise: do not think you will save some money by cutting Tapes out of your scrap fabric. Looks like crap. The Oratex tapes are really good now, and nearly disappear when done correctly. You can hide alot of ugly with them.
 
A word to the wise: do not think you will save some money by cutting Tapes out of your scrap fabric. Looks like crap. The Oratex tapes are really good now, and nearly disappear when done correctly. You can hide alot of ugly with them.[/QUOTE]

I made tapes once for one elevator and will never do it again. Far too much work and a horrible outcome.
 
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I wonder if, instead of waxing Oratex, you used Aerospace 303? Maybe someone has tried this, Lars?

No data to back this up but, like Armorall, Aerospace 303 has silicone as an ingredient I’m fairly certain. If you ever want a prayer of ever repairing your (insert covering system here, including Oratex) and hope to have the patches stick and remain where you put them, DO NOT spray that stuff on your covering. Silicone is a wicked evil substance to remove once it’s on a surface when it MUST be removed for these purposes. Ever tried to paint where any RTV has been? Takes monumental effort to escape the fisheyes caused by the contamination that’s impossible to even see.

That’s my nickels worth. Inflation has stricken the 2 cent info supply.
Cheers, Oz
 
Hey Oz, where are you seeing that 303 contains silicone?

Likewise, people ask, does 303 Aerospace Protectant contain silicone?
Unlike many products, 303 Aerospace Protectant does not contain silicone, oils, waxes, glycerin or petroleum distillates. Clear Vinyl Protection: 303 Aerospace Protectant provides effective UV protection for clear vinyl and leaves an optically enhanced finish for clearer vision.
Quote off the internet from some expert...
 
Nook, I humbly stand corrected, and in some sort of defense, I did say “no data to back this up” but should have dug into it a bit further before posting. I’ve used several products, like Armorall, that left me wishing I had tried something else. Like the time I used it on the seat on my snow machine back in high school. There are lessons we only have to learn once, that was one such…….
I truly hope that the 303 is a good and better solution than the Oratex wax. It’s definitely a great product. In any case, I would still caution to do a test patch on a surface that’s been treated so you know the compatibility of the glue and the protectant and how easy it is to clean off etc.

Cheers, Oz
 
Silicone removal can be a bear. If in doubt whether or not silicone is present I alway treat the surface with “Polycracker” first. Saves the messy removal of fish eyeing paint. You can get that at your paint store.
 
Yeah Oz, I am impressed with 303s UV blocking properties but have never tried it on aircraft fabric topcoats. Mostly used on Royalex canoes and hypalon inflatable boats, works well on tires also...
 
Silicone removal can be a bear. If in doubt whether or not silicone is present I alway treat the surface with “Polycracker” first. Saves the messy removal of fish eyeing paint. You can get that at your paint store.[QUOTE)

I’ve fought the silicone/fisheye mess off and on for a long time. It truly is tough.
Thanks so much for this info, I greatly appreciate this solution and also appreciate you and everyone else here that give so much to anyone seeking knowledge on so many subjects.
Thanks Mr. Pepperd. Sent you a PM as well.

Nook, it’s definitely good stuff, and your bringing it up has caused me to realize that it’s time for me to snag a new bottle as mine is about empty. Love it on tire sidewalls, bushwheels best friend and a myriad of other items also. Looks like it’ll get a test on this beast I’m working on after I get the Oratex on it.

Cheers, Oz
 
I have an Oretex test kit here somewhere…I’ll glue and shrink it to a frame, put 303 on and set it out in the sun for a bit.
 
I have to say, I love the stuff. But not necessarily for all of the reasons many do. Yes it is lighter, yes it's non toxic, yes it is durable and it saves time...

My experience, it shapes extremely well with heat, it grips the air frame way, way better than polytack, but here's the kicker... I love it because it takes urethane paints like nothing else in terms of fabric. Simply looks amazing.

I know you guys have almost totally shunned toxic products, I get it. I've spent much of my life painting, Lars thinks I'm nutz you probably do too, but I've spent a lifetime developing the skill, hell I even like sanding.... so ya, I'm a bit goofy i know.

I've been shooting an aircam with an elaborate scheme and of all the surface material types on the ac the otex looks the best.....hands down.

If you like hot rod quality glossy finishes oratex will perform and be significantly less weight than any other painted fabric.

Oh... and yes for any nervous Nellie's.... yes I exercise proper ppe protocols.
 
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I am considering using Oratex 6000 on my new Javron build, while I was at Airventure Oshkosh I visited the nice people at the Oratex booth on the advise of my good friend Rick Pap, his Carbon cub was the red one they had on display. I had quite a few questions for the sales people and most were answered within reason. after a rather lengthy discussion about the product I then asked the big question: How much to cover a super cub? I know material pricing is changing rapidly in most if not all industries these days, mine included (General Contractor) but wow, I think my jaw hit the floor when she told me how much: about a 30% increase over some of the higher quotes I read on this thread from 2019 and not the 5K one. I am still considering the product for its huge time saving qualities and for its weight savings, but man, the price for building an aircraft is getting out of hand. I still like to look for the best value along with quality and convenience, but these days it is getting very difficult. There is no doubt that Oratex is a great product that is a proven performer. I do not know current pricing on any of the other fabric systems out there as of this date (I used Poly fiber my last build 2012) but I would guess they have all increased substantially.
Just my observation,

Rick
 
@rotto789

I just finished the last of my tail feathers yesterday (start the fuselage soon), I never seriously looked at legacy covering due to the faster speed and NO painting of the Oratex which as you pointed out makes for a faster completion time. I also like the idea the toughness of Oratex. When you add up the cost of fabric, paint, paint application tools (gun etc…) paint booth and of course time, I doubt there is my price difference.

If you are looking for a show plane, I think legacy covering + paint is the way to go. I was looking for a tough covering, fast completion when I made my choice.
 
@rotto789

I just finished the last of my tail feathers yesterday (start the fuselage soon), I never seriously looked at legacy covering due to the faster speed and NO painting of the Oratex which as you pointed out makes for a faster completion time. I also like the idea the toughness of Oratex. When you add up the cost of fabric, paint, paint application tools (gun etc…) paint booth and of course time, I doubt there is my price difference.

If you are looking for a show plane, I think legacy covering + paint is the way to go. I was looking for a tough covering, fast completion when I made my choice.

Great points and definitely something to consider when choosing a fabric covering system, I am not looking for a show plane, however, I am a detail oriented person and want the end result to be as near perfect as possible. Utility along with a great finished product is my end goal and we all know that the better the end result the better the resale value for when the day comes we cant fly anymore.

I already have all the tools and equipment necessary to cover and paint using the traditional fabric systems from my current cub, so no price consideration needed for those items. there will be needed specialty tools for the Oratex system which I will have to purchase, so some consideration there. I am not opposed to paying the extra money, its just a hard pill to swallow given the current circumstances.

I am also not getting any younger, and want to get the next build flying sooner that later, don't get me wrong, I do thoroughly enjoy the build process but time is against me and I'd like to be up and flying within a max of two years after starting my project. the other problem is, life gets in the way :lol:

Rick
 
I have to say, I love the stuff. But not necessarily for all of the reasons many do. Yes it is lighter, yes it's non toxic, yes it is durable and it saves time...

My experience, it shapes extremely well with heat, it grips the air frame way, way better than polytack, but here's the kicker... I love it because it takes urethane paints like nothing else in terms of fabric. Simply looks amazing.

I know you guys have almost totally shunned toxic products, I get it. I've spent much of my life painting, Lars thinks I'm nutz you probably do too, but I've spent a lifetime developing the skill, hell I even like sanding.... so ya, I'm a bit goofy i know.

I've been shooting an aircam with an elaborate scheme and of all the surface material types on the ac the otex looks the best.....hands down.

If you like hot rod quality glossy finishes oratex will perform and be significantly less weight than any other painted fabric.

Oh... and yes for any nervous Nellie's.... yes I exercise proper ppe protocols.


rsr, I have at least one question. I’m no pro painter so any help is appreciated. My build (Exp. PA-12) is coming together, my Oratex is in the shop waiting for that day. I’ve had mixed results with vinyl in the past so I’ve resigned myself to the thought that I’m going to do some painting. Heck, it’s a given anyway because I have to paint the cowling and other sheet metal parts, small parts and so on so no big deal.
Question is this….For the Otex at the very least, you mentioned urethane paint. That’s a fairly broad brush so what is your go-to brand, type, etc? Any advice or quirks on types, what not to do, anything that makes for better outcomes and so on much appreciated. I know those answers can get complicated, generalities will work, anything helps so thank you in advance.

I’ve often thought that if a guy could use some of the newer paints and especially paint colors the automotive industry is kicking out and apply them to fabric covering, it would be a beautiful thing. Seems you’ve found that answer. Well done!

Thanks again!
Oz
 
So there's a bit to unpack here. I've used a alot of aerothane, It shoots well and is flexible as well as durable....(I don't mind repairs either). Superflight is excellent as well. I’ve also heard good things about airtech. All are formulated for fabric.

Lars mentioned Stuart paint so that must mean it works with otex. I personally don't care for it or some of the negative things the folks there think about those of us that don't care for it. It's been insinuated that those of us that dislike its special application requirements are trogladites, ludites and generally old school hicks incapable of change.. I have used stews, I had an excellent finish, but l won't use it again, I shouldn't have to use the force to get paint to flow out... Anyway I don't let my fear of chemicals or my wife dictate what material I shoot so I shoot traditional solvent urethane paint formulated for ragwings.

Most of the aircams being shot these days are 2 stage high end ppg stuff, and they've been lasting well from what I'm hearing. My hunch is it would likely work well with otex... might even weigh less than shooting aerothane or sf as the base coat can cover well with one good coat unless your trying to shoot a terrible hard to cover color like yellow.

Come to think of it I'd like to see a yellow otex cub with a light coat of cub yellow aerothane, that would look amazing and still shave a lot of #'s...
 
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Update on the Longevity, I have had it on the plane for almost 4 years now - mostly hangered. my test piece has been out in the weather for 5+ years now, rain and snow, and sun.
Fabric on both is holding up really well. I did have another tape peel up, but same as the others, I just wipe w alcohol and add heat and that sticks it down, and it stays down. I used too little heat when I first applied them.

I have had several instances where "an object" has tried to make a new window - bush rash. The worst ones leave a "dent" in the fabric, that is easily fixed with a heat gun, like it never happened. And that right there is why I have Oratex Fabric, so I don't have to start calling the plane "patches" after a few years.

One other thing I have been really happy about is adding inspection holes for maint that I would not have done on legacy fabric because of the time and difficulty. It is just a few minutes to glue a new ring on Oratex and cut it out.

Thre are a few things I would do different the next time.
- Double fabric in the high wear areas - Yes I know I can still do that now.
- be more patient with the Tape install, and order/ install more different sizes of tapes instead of trying to use one size for everything.
- More Aluminum "penetration doublers"

connie w new landing gear.jpg
 

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Radical

Hunter - It is more fun than you should have with your pants on!

Slats and 35s on a 180 hp SuperStol
 
Update on the Longevity, I have had it on the plane for almost 4 years now - mostly hangered. my test piece has been out in the weather for 5+ years now, rain and snow, and sun.
Fabric on both is holding up really well. I did have another tape peel up, but same as the others, I just wipe w alcohol and add heat and that sticks it down, and it stays down. I used too little heat when I first applied them.

I have had several instances where "an object" has tried to make a new window - bush rash. The worst ones leave a "dent" in the fabric, that is easily fixed with a heat gun, like it never happened. And that right there is why I have Oratex Fabric, so I don't have to start calling the plane "patches" after a few years.

One other thing I have been really happy about is adding inspection holes for maint that I would not have done on legacy fabric because of the time and difficulty. It is just a few minutes to glue a new ring on Oratex and cut it out.

Thre are a few things I would do different the next time.
- Double fabric in the high wear areas - Yes I know I can still do that now.
- be more patient with the Tape install, and order/ install more different sizes of tapes instead of trying to use one size for everything.
- More Aluminum "penetration doublers"

View attachment 67088

That's.......
 
140# Rotty, Connie is 5'7", 35" tires

This is just off the hoist, the gear are still pulled in, it spread out some after rolling it around and adjusting shock pressure. It is still somewhat sporty to get into.

The point of this gear is to test the theory that this wing will fly ALOT earlier with more AOA - it does. About 60' earlier, It has a "1" count takeoff roll now, at least at 1,400#.

These slats seem to not be effective until reaching this angle of attack, so taking off with Slat authority is a whole different ball game.
 
Some documentation on these wings they're pacer wings but i think its relevant. I've spent the last 3 days finish taping, and cleaning everything up for paint. It's still a long process, maybe a little less time than traditional soaked and coated dacron systems. Now maybe it's just my ocd but it's still a time consuming process, additionally if you aren't painting it you really have to put it on absolutely perfect if you want that awesome unpainted finish.

If you look close enough you'll see I've laced the bottom of the root rib. In addition it's properly bonded with the oratex adhesive, overlayed with a root skin and also finish taped. It's likely overkill but we seriously don't want damage from the prop wash zone.

I'll be building and installing aluminum doubler plates tomorrow
 

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Did the first coat of white yesterday and the vg's and leading edges today. They get wet sanded and second coated tomorrow.
 

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Finished today
 

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