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Thread: Oratex over polyfiber

  1. #1

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    Default Oratex over polyfiber

    Want ask if someone out there has experience with BOTH Oratex and Polyfiber in regards to the applying process from start to finish?? Me personally have only experience with polyfiber and sometimes we humans tend to go with what we are familiar with. I have done soooo much reading of everyones builds using Oratex and the process seems tricky but of course faster and a simpler process. This is why I ask this question, does Oratex extra costs, weight savings and everything else it offers outweigh what polyfiber has to offer??? Any comments is MUCHLY appreciated!

    Freedom2

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    While I consider Polyfiber to be the benchmark by which all other covering systems can be measured, my project came with a big roll of Oratex. A plane expertly covered in the traditional systems is a thing of beauty, and if you're used to looking at museum quality planes the Oratex won't look pretty (up close anyway).

    But it's tough material and it is hands down the lightest covering system out there, with a lot less variation from plane to plane (doesn't depend on how many coats of goo the user applies).

    Regarding the cost of Oratex, I don't need to buy a spray booth, HVLP setup, respirator, Tyvek suits, etc. I don't even have the space to set up one of those inflatable spray booths, so I would need to rent space somewhere to do it. I think if you're starting from ground zero I don't know that it is more expensive.

    Beyond the appearance up close (like reading glasses distance), the detractors of Oratex seem to have experience with the other covering systems and are disappointed when the same techniques don't work.
    Kitfox 5 (under construction)
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    Just want to add a bit extra here. I've only used Oratex so can't compare. That said, Oratex is now coming out with a new paintable product. It's a base layer oratex material with the same easy to apply methods but is designed to be painted. I don't know much more though.

    I agree though that currently if you want that "show room floor" perfect look, Oratex won't give you that per say (without a lot of additional pre cover work) - and it's not going to be the same. But, if you want simplicity and don't want to deal with chemicals, painting, renting or making a booth or care too much about that up close perfect paint job - then it's the way to go IMO. But I only have experience watching others with poly.
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  4. #4

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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    I have done both Oratex and Poly systems, last time i did Poly i swore id never do it again, damm stink i tell u. In my opinion the Oratex is better, lighter, stronger, faster, and i got to do a test like not many other would get to do, a real teary eye test, Hahahahaaa, and im doing the Oratex 6000 again as i write on the Ď47 pa12. Also i took the 3 day Oratex class (along with about 12-15 others i invited to my shop) that they had offered me to get people interested in Oratex in Fairbanks my shop in Ester.
    Soooo i guess if u have some questions fire them away, ill answer best i can, also Better Aircraft Fabric has their own application book with better hints and info from real world installers. Side note i had never done a complete fabric job prior to the Oratex class, but have done lot now in both systems, and also had some experience with Stewards water born also, that stuff is a waste of time and money there.
    Also the two systems r NOT the same in application heat ranges, anchoring, wrapping, sealing, or the tools u use. That is where some people run into trouble, and have problems with the fabric down the road, overheating the fabric and glue is easy to do, and is the worst thing u could do, it looks ok, pulls ok, but WILL come off, same as Poly will, the computerized heat gun and iron r ur best friend, (hell u can solder copper tube with the heat gun the instructions say.
    The Oratex salesman is not tryin to sell more items, their heatgun, and iron is well worth the purchase to have.
    Last edited by buckchop; 01-13-2021 at 12:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jiott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    I have no experience at all with Oratex but I have one serious doubt about it that only time (about 20 years) will answer. That is the UV protection. The Polyfiber system has you put on 3 cross coats (that's 6 coats) of the UV protecting silver Polyspray until no light shows thru with a 60 watt bulb on the other side to give the all-important protection against UV rotting the fabric. Oratex claims built-in UV protection, but we all know that a finished plane covered with Oratex show light thru it similar to the old tissue and balsa models I made as a kid (slight exaggeration here). How can their "built-in" UV protection be much good with that much light transmissibility? Polyfiber is well proven for about 20 year+ life. Oratex hasn't proved much beyond a few years, so in my opinion the jury will still be out for quite a few years to come. FWIW
    Jim Ott
    Portland, OR
    Kitfox SS7 flying
    Rotax 912ULS

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    Senior Member jrevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    Quote Originally Posted by jiott View Post
    I have no experience at all with Oratex but I have one serious doubt about it that only time (about 20 years) will answer. That is the UV protection. The Polyfiber system has you put on 3 cross coats (that's 6 coats) of the UV protecting silver Polyspray until no light shows thru with a 60 watt bulb on the other side to give the all-important protection against UV rotting the fabric. Oratex claims built-in UV protection, but we all know that a finished plane covered with Oratex show light thru it similar to the old tissue and balsa models I made as a kid (slight exaggeration here). How can their "built-in" UV protection be much good with that much light transmissibility? Polyfiber is well proven for about 20 year+ life. Oratex hasn't proved much beyond a few years, so in my opinion the jury will still be out for quite a few years to come. FWIW
    Just a few quick quick thoughts about that, Jim... I don't know how much this actually means to anyone worrying about being able to see light through Oratex and the UV "issue", but consider if you will that you can see pretty darn well through sunglasses, many of which filter 100% of UV -A&B. There are also colorless liquid protectants like 303 that block UV rays quite effectively.

    I've had test strips of my white Oratex 6000 hanging outside, directly facing South, at an elevation of 5700 ' msl, 24 hrs. a day, 365 days a year for 6 years now. They've been exposed to rain, snow and more days of high-intensity sunshine than experienced by most other parts of the U.S. They have slightly discolored, possibly somewhat from air-pollution (this is Denver) but seem to be a strong as new... at least I can't tear them. I figure that this kind of exposure is probably at least equal to 20 or more years of a normal airplane's life, especially if it is hangared (as most of our Kitfoxes are).
    John Evens
    Arvada, CO
    Kitfox SS7 N27JE

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    Quote Originally Posted by jiott View Post
    I have no experience at all with Oratex but I have one serious doubt about it that only time (about 20 years) will answer. That is the UV protection. The Polyfiber system has you put on 3 cross coats (that's 6 coats) of the UV protecting silver Polyspray until no light shows thru with a 60 watt bulb on the other side to give the all-important protection against UV rotting the fabric. Oratex claims built-in UV protection, but we all know that a finished plane covered with Oratex show light thru it similar to the old tissue and balsa models I made as a kid (slight exaggeration here). How can their "built-in" UV protection be much good with that much light transmissibility? Polyfiber is well proven for about 20 year+ life. Oratex hasn't proved much beyond a few years, so in my opinion the jury will still be out for quite a few years to come. FWIW
    Oratex has been used in Europe since 2002 or 2003 - quite a few more than "a few years". I have not heard of any UV protection complaints or issues to date.

    Thought to ponder: Most sunglasses these days have UVA and B protection of 99.9 to 100% and I can see through them pretty well (light transmissibility), much easier than I can through Oratex! Hmmm - think about it.

    Also not seen mentioned here yet - Oratex can be peeled back if repairs or access are necessary and re-applied in lieu of full replacement.

    If we all waited 20+ years for something to be "proven", innovation and progress would be stifled by around I'd say.....20+ years!

    I think the question really comes down to: Do you like the look of unpainted Oratex (if you're going to paint it, you're not really saving anything) or are you comfortable doing lots of painting and will be satisfied with those results? Either will serve the utilitarian purpose.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    Another thing to possibly consider with the UV blocking may be this. If you do the 3 cross coats that Polyfiber requires for the full amount of UV protection, the plane can probably sit outside for 30 years and the fabric should still be good. My Kitfox and Avid Flyer never go out of the hangar except to fly, and probably that is likely true for most Kitfox owners. Certainly very few leave their planes parked outside long term. That all being said, how much UV protection is really needed? Maybe it's not that big of an issue?? JImChuk

  9. #9
    Senior Member jiott's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    Interesting responses. The sunglasses comment is interesting and probably very valid. If there are clear liquids that can filter out all UV, I wonder why Polyfiber doesn't use something like that instead of 6 coats of silver Polyspray?
    Has Oratex really been used on aircraft in Europe since 2002 or 2003? If so I wasn't aware of that and stand corrected. I am aware of its use on RC models (used it myself) since at least 2018, probably earlier.
    I was only giving my personal, probably old-fashioned, doubts about Oratex; not really suggesting that a new product be tested for 20 years before being offered, especially in our experimental world.
    Jim Ott
    Portland, OR
    Kitfox SS7 flying
    Rotax 912ULS

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    Senior Member jrevens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Oratex over polyfiber

    Quote Originally Posted by jiott View Post
    Interesting responses. The sunglasses comment is interesting and probably very valid. If there are clear liquids that can filter out all UV, I wonder why Polyfiber doesn't use something like that instead of 6 coats of silver Polyspray?
    Has Oratex really been used on aircraft in Europe since 2002 or 2003? If so I wasn't aware of that and stand corrected. I am aware of its use on RC models (used it myself) since at least 2018, probably earlier.
    I was only giving my personal, probably old-fashioned, doubts about Oratex; not really suggesting that a new product be tested for 20 years before being offered, especially in our experimental world.
    Oratex started out making model covering systems first. I believe (I might be wrong) that the product sold for our aircraft, at least the 6000, isnít the same product as that used on models. It is a polyester fabric, like Ceconite, PolyFiber, etc., but a different formulation and weave. It has a considerably higher safe and usable temperature range and supposedly has greater puncture and tear resistance.
    John Evens
    Arvada, CO
    Kitfox SS7 N27JE

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