Thursday, March 12, 2009
Notice the curved path that the fibers take around the gash in this Cabrinha leading edge. This rip was not spread open when this patch was first laid down. Even though there was adhesive patch cloth on both the inside and the outside, the persistence of air pressure without sewing continues to work on the weakness—creeping the adhesive little by little. Eventually it will fail dramatically losing the bladder in the process. Below is a shot after we redid this repair. Internally there are two layers which you can see have a larger perimeter than the external cosmetic layer.
Hey I get that this functions, I mean in the sense that your kite doesn't continue to fail and it holds the cloth together. But I am having trouble liking the stuff both visually and structurally myself. Kitefix seems to work by approximating the edges of your ripped kite fabric from one side, and then laying the fibrous gauze on the other side, and then slathering a gloppy permanent urethane adhesive from a tube over the entire area. Some added bonuses also seem to be that it will never ever come off even if you would like it to at some point in the future.
The adhesive is so intense that it works its way into the porosity of the fabric and manages to gather sand on the opposite side. Granted, this example was not well done to begin with, but all of this kitefix stuff that i've seen basically looks like this. I think it's just repurposed materials you can get from a hardware store to fix your basement. One of its least attractive features is that it becomes incredibly stiff. It's still foldable and flexible, but stiff in the sense that it does not stretch properly with your kite in the normal stress of flight. It feels unnaturally hard and out of place. Thus when the kite is loaded, it stands out in the kite's shape as an area that didn't get the memo.
Here are two samples taken from the same kite. This thing came in with some really nasty looking repairs on it that the customer wanted us to redo. I thought it was a great idea. This is standard ripstop repair tape doing what it does best, gather sand with its gummy, slidey, nasty adhesive. I'm actually amazed that sand makes its way up under the patch the way it does. I think if you tried to design something to do it that well it would fail to do so.
Paul repaired this Best Waroo today and I thought it came out rather well. I particularly liked the graphics preservation he went to the trouble to do. We can put the patch on the other side and avoid having to do that, but it seems more resistant to abrasion when we put the cloth on the topside of the kite's canopy.