• entries
    17
  • comments
    47
  • views
    2,047

Repairing a Dynamic DT-15 Carbon Tube Using Epoxy and Glass Fibre

After a too hard ground contact with my HQ Infinity there was a set of small about 1.5cm (~1/2 inch) long fissures parallel to the axis on the inner end of one of the lower spreaders. This is a description of how I repaired it - not necessarily the best way. If you consider to use other fibres I've written down what I learn't in a comment to the previous blog entry "An Infinity...". Feel free to comment in (close to) any way.

Material:

  • Nitrile gloves (epoxy is not healthy)
  • Sand paper
  • Glass fibre - here is long fibre strand used (but I suppose a thin mesh/fabric would do)
  • Tape
  • Epoxy
  • Spatula/flat pin
  • CA-glue
  • Wire
  • Scissors and a hobby knife

Nice to have/possibly needed:

  • Hot air gun
  • Heat shrink tube

mini-noSnugFit.jpg

No snug fit - The fissures caused a play when connected to the other LS via the (normal) DT-15 connector rod. Also click on the image to see the small fissures that should be visible in the image then).

mini-wireCompress.jpg

Using a wire to compress the expanded/stretched opening while pre-gluing it with a small amount of CA-glue. Verify that this part goes well enough before proceeding. When I tried it the result at this stage wasn't perfect, but it tuned out quite OK in the end.

mini-sandedAndTapedSpar.jpg

Sanding the surface to remove varnish (if any?) - is this a necessary step? Tape the parts of the spar that you don't want to apply any epoxy to.

mini-scissorsAndGlassFibre.jpg

The simplest way to extract the glass fibre strands was by cutting parallel to the strands to be extracted. Limiting to one cut minimised the number of itch inducing short glass fibres on the loose. Before cutting the strand loose from the fabric, put a droplet of CA-glue on either side of it to keep it together, before cutting through the strand/CA-glue. A 3dm long strand was extracted. The damage to the welding sheet was reduced by making the cut in the double layer fabric close to the end and then sealing the hole with a strip of gaffer tape. The sealing of the hole also reduces the number of exposed fibre ends. The way I tried initially to cut one strand end and then pull the strand out step by step using a needle, only resulted in a several places broken strand - not recommended.

mini-fiddleStick.jpg

No the image does not show a broken fiddle stick - it is another old broken (pultruded) carbon tube (used for a practice repair) - here with a CA-glued strand attached. You could of course use tape to attach the strand as well.

Wear rather thin nitrile gloves (really not worn or with holes in them though) when handling the epoxy so that you don't lose precision. Be in a well ventilated area or outdoors. Now mix a blob of epoxy with the spatula.

mini-glassFibreOn.jpg

Coat the area on the spar with epoxy by smearing it out. Soak the strand in epoxy by dragging it a couple of times through the epoxy puddle. Now roll the soaked strand around the tube to be repaired. Connect also the free side of the strand, so that it doesn't attempt to unroll itself. Add some more epoxy and/or smear/make it uniform. Let the epoxy harden.

mini-secondEpoxyLayer.jpg

Cut and/or sand points of the repair that you suspect will point out from the second layer of epoxy. Mix some new epoxy (not much required) and apply the second layer. When the epoxy is almost hardened, remove the tape.

mini-finalResult.jpg

The tape closest to the repair might need to be cut using a hobby knife. If the epoxy remains (already solidified but) slightly sticky longer than your liking, have a go with the hot air gun gently for a couple of minutes. At this stage the repair was finished.

I was a bit concerned that the diameter of the tube after the repair would be a bit to large. When connecting the two lower spreaders together, the spreaders could be wiggled so that the outer tip could be moved (like a flapping bird) about 1cm relative to the other spreader. However when comparing this to my (still intact) Maestro 3 the amount of play was very similar. If it would have been necessary to handle I would have tried to put some heat shrink tube around the connector part of the other LS to act as a cylindrical shim making the spreader to spreader connection play free.

So far I've tried the Inifinity only one time after the repair in quite light wind due to the winds lately and I might have gone slightly less risk taking after the incident. Will it last? - only time will tell. However if it would break I would comment on this blog post and try with a higher content of glass fibre if feasible to repair. The next time I think I would have two strands in parallel to increase the amount of glass fibre in the repair.

Perhaps a next project could be to see if it is possible to repair some old broken lower leading edges of my Prism Illusion (Avia Sport G-Force UL)? Yes, this repair could have some unfortunate effect on flight behavior, especially since it is far from the centre of the kite and also might affect the curvature of the leading edge. However, the Illusion spars just snapped in two pieces when they broke, so some other approach is required to repair them than the above - a thin walled carbon tube that fits nicely into the Avia spar and a very fine fibre mesh would very nice to have here.

(A spin-off from this project - now I got a nice long glass fibre source for sealing the spigot of the wooden stove. No definitely not the epoxy for that - got a special heat resistant type of goo for this.)



3 Comments


Recommended Comments

I wouldn't try this on the Illusion. When assembled, the Illusion has a lot of stress at the center T because of the curvature of the kite when assembled. The Illusion had special, specific lower spreaders that were reinforced at the junction point, they are exclusive to the Illusion.

The problem with trying to repair a spar on a kite is that if the repair fails, there is the risk that a broken spar will puncture the sail. 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
10 hours ago, RobB said:

I wouldn't try this on the Illusion. When assembled, the Illusion has a lot of stress at the center T because of the curvature of the kite when assembled. The Illusion had special, specific lower spreaders that were reinforced at the junction point, they are exclusive to the Illusion.

In the text I explained that it was the lower leading edges (perhaps you did notice?) of the Illusion that easily broke (and that they snapped in two pieces and therefore would require some other approach than explained in the main part of the text and images).

If a lower spreader of the Illusion broke at the joint as you described, I'd wind some extra turns of glass fibre there thanks to the knowledge you shared. With a DIY approach comes liberty to have it your way (Swedish proverb: "Yourself are the best farmhand"). You seem to be well familiar with the Illusion design, if I may, I'll ask for your opinion before future Illusion (spare part) repairs.

10 hours ago, RobB said:

The problem with trying to repair a spar on a kite is that if the repair fails, there is the risk that a broken spar will puncture the sail. 

[rant] The problem with flying is that spars might break and might risk puncture the sail - there is obviously no point in leaving home and flying kites. [/rant]
The problem with the Illusion spars (as you expressed in http://kitelife.com/forum/topic/6637-older-prism-illusion-kite-need-help/#comment-53325 ) is that that it is difficult to get them. So given the choice, should one try to repair the Illusion and use it for what it was intended for or should one forever return it to it's sleeve? I'm not there yet (got a working Illusion, two snapped LLEs and a spare lower spreader with only the nock broken), but would like to be well prepared if possible just in case and not have the lack of spares limiting my flying. And if it would happen, a puncture in the sail i.e., I could Teldar patch it. In my years I've never had a broken spar induced sail tear. I've broken/worn out sail/fabric parts about six times and spars about ten times (not counting C-clips, nocks, fittings...). But perhaps the Illusion is more sensitive here?

Regarding the lower spreader of the Infinity repair (which is what the main part of the text is about), the extra layers at the repair point, are at least as thick as the original tube wall thickness, so I'm quite optimistic here. Would it break, well then have learnt something and I'll learn something more during the next repair.

And, b.t.w. thank you for commenting!

 

Share this comment


Link to comment

I hope your repair is standing the test of time. I have attempted spar repairs in the past, only while waiting on replacements. Never had one fail, but I only flew on the repairs once or twice before the new ones came in. Please don't get me wrong, I respect your effort.

I will say... I've had spars fail and the pieces ripped the sail. Really, nothing worse than that... without replacing a panel, there's no way to fix a sail and make it like new... you can always tell, and if it's a special kite, it's heartbreaking. 

Best of winds to you !

 

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now