skin on frame transparent materials

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by onwatershipdown, Oct 2, 2010.

  1. onwatershipdown
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Ipswich

    onwatershipdown New Member

    So i have the plans for a whitehall 15 from geodesic aerolite boats, though was wondering about transparent materials. I emailed them and bette told me that platt did a mylar skin. She did not recall the mils. I'd probably do an epoxy topcoat... Any recommendations on thickness, and thermoforming?
    I've seen rolls available up to 10mils.

    Thanks!
     
  2. darr
    Joined: Nov 2004
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    Location: Tampa, FL

    darr Open Minded

    According to the website at gaboats it was done with clear Monocote, a film used by R/C model plane hobbiests.

    I used the material many times on R/C planes. I do not recall the thickness, but amazingly durable, considering.

    They have a link to the information on the site. You should be able to determine the mils of the product from the vendors website.
     
  3. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    The Monocote is the brand name for a shrinkable mylar. Mylar is tough but it is easy to puncture, so using it is a just a fun temporary skin at best even in the thickest materal you can find. You can also use the clear vinyl with polyester reinforcing filaments you see used on the clear sails used on sailboards or performance racing dingys. It would hold up better than mylar, but will eventually yellow and get abraded were it contacts beach, dock and trailer.

    Polyester fabric sealed with a clear finish will be translucent but not clear. I have built a number of skin-on-frame boats with both fabric and plastic skins, including clear plastic. You can not see as much through the bottom of the boat as you might imagine, even in clear water, so I would suggest you try it with some inexpensive plastic wrap to see if it accomplishes what you want where you normally sail.

    Good luck.
     
  4. onwatershipdown
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Ipswich

    onwatershipdown New Member

    Fascinating. A place around me carries polyester up to 7mils, the can get up to 10.. Were you thermoforming it to make.it taught? I would be coating it with polyurethane or clear epoxy. Also a UV barrier.
     

  5. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Bellingham WA

    cthippo Senior Member

    I know a guy out in Acme who builds very traditional boats and used nylon for the skins. They come out pretty translucent when finished, and pretty indestructible.

    http://www.dwkayaks.com/index.html

    Something I've considered, but not actually tried is heavy gauge clear vinyl like they use to cover table tops. Any sewing store should have it and it's pretty tough stuff. If you do try it' let me know how it works!
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2010
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