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Wind Stress on Cuben
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Benjamin Moryson
(hrXXL) - MLife

Locale: Germany
Wind Test on 01/14/2012 17:05:36 MST Print View

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Chris Peichel

Locale: Eureka
wind stress on cuben on 01/14/2012 19:12:05 MST Print View

Has anyone tested a sewn seam where the stitching has been covered with a thin layer of seamgrip? I know with other fabrics seamgrip has helped reinforce seams and minimized the tearing of the fabric.

I have not yet worked with cuben fiber but hope to someday when funds allow.

Rob Daly
(rdaly) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
just say NO on 01/14/2012 20:16:31 MST Print View

to sewing Cuben, at least on high stress areas. I would stick to glue or tape.

nick beaudoin
(nick_beaudoin) - MLife

Locale: Palmy
Just say maybe on 01/14/2012 21:02:23 MST Print View

This is an interesting topic but there are some broad strokes being painted about sewing vs bonding.

I am a sailmaker at North Sails and one of the only sail lofts in the world that builds Cuben spinnakers. They are 400 to 900 square meters in size and cost up to $180,000 each depending on size and cloth (cn 5 up to cn18) used.

We sew all Cuben spinnakers. The seems contain both 3m (9485) double sided tape and sewing. We have never had any failures yet, with our sails competing in the worlds most difficult offshore races. We have in the past seen failures when sails were constructed using Q-bond only.

My point is that if you use a small needle (size 90) and light thread (v32) and triple step stitch it shouldn't tear the cloth, and if it did the nature of Cuben would stop it from yielding. Ryan's picture at the top of the thread look like a larger needle was used and zig zag stitch creating nice holes to yield under load

So depending on application, I think there is merit for both methods of construction.

Edited by nick_beaudoin on 01/14/2012 21:04:17 MST.

robert v
(mtnbob123) - F

Locale: Upstate South Carolina
I would like to see you test cuben fiber from Lightheartgear on 01/14/2012 21:29:46 MST Print View

Lightheartgear sews and bonds their cuben tents, they feel it is the most secure way to construct a tent of this material. Since I have a Solong 6 tent made of cuben, I'd be curious to see how their tents compare to other manufacturers, some who sew, some who bond, and some who do both.

Bradley Danyluk
(dasbin) - MLife
LightHeart on 01/14/2012 22:07:35 MST Print View

Another vote for testing the cuben LightHeart offerings. Though I think, by design, the regular Solo cuben will hold up to wind a lot better than the SoLong (which has much larger unsupported surfaces and greater incidence angles).
But yes, Judy has described her very thorough bonding process on these forums before and I think expressed quite a bit of annoyance at the amount of effort and time it takes to do it right. I guess this is why other manufacturers don't usually do both.

robert v
(mtnbob123) - F

Locale: Upstate South Carolina
Lightheart Cuben Tents on 01/14/2012 22:22:10 MST Print View

I don't think that Lightheartgear's Cuben tents are the absolute lightest ones out there, but the are very well constructed. Judy takes the time to sew, bond, and reinforce any and all seams and stress points, and I'd be curious to see how they compare to some of the other tent manufacturers that might be concerned more with the lightest weight tent.

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Wind Stress on Cuben on 01/14/2012 22:43:15 MST Print View

And I was going to say, someone should just call North Sails. They have a few years putting cuben under some really high loads.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Just say maybe on 01/15/2012 05:00:33 MST Print View

Nick, This sounds real good.

I am not all that familiar with sewing or bonding, so for me, and others here, I was wondering if you could give us any specifics. This might easily fall under a "trade secret" type ethic, though. Please do not violate that.

A triple step stitch? Not really following that term. I am more of a carpenter, cabinetmaker. Though in early years I did a lot of everything and anything to make money. I assume that you refer to the boxes caused by the reinforcment gridding in the fabric. Hard to know exactly what you mean, soo, refering to the grid on the fabric:
Triple step stitch:
1)needle, open box, needle (3 boxes forming one stitch?)
2)needle, 2 open boxes, needle (3 boxes forming the period of each stitch?)
3)needle, 3 open boxes, needle (3 boxes between each thread attachment?)
I know, I total inexperience with seaming is showing...carpenters, sheeish!

"The seems contain both 3m (9485) double sided tape and sewing." I am assuming there is nothing special about the glue tape, cuben fiber, stitching setup. Example: A half lap and roll might give better resilts, or something different? A rough sketch:
Stitching Cuben

Edited by jamesdmarco on 01/15/2012 05:09:24 MST.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
Re: Just say maybe on 01/15/2012 10:32:54 MST Print View

I love BPL forum we have so many different people with different technical training in their every day job or self taught like me.WE HAVE A SAIL MAKER IN THE FOURM!!! and he works for one of the best sail company North Sails.

So Nick I really enjoyed reading the history of cuben used in sails and how the Americas3 team secretly manufactured and made the cuben sails about 20 miles inland from my house in Ranch Bernardo,Ca with out of work surfers from the area on the North Sails web site. It reminds me of the stories of how top secret new military hardware and airplanes are made. So the workers don't know what their making.
I posted the link in a few post back in this thread.

So If North Sails would allow you to give us just a small tutorial clinic with pictures or video on how you make recreational Cuben sails so North Sails don't give away racing sail technology. So we could make Tarps and packs and repairing them out of cuben with out seam failure or tearing. You would be doing us great service in the MYOG crowd like me { I have avoided cuben fiber fabric till construction techniques are perfected} and the Ultra light backpacking cottage industries. It sure would save us a lot of trial and error time.

Thank you very much,

Edited by socal-nomad on 01/15/2012 10:35:38 MST.

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Three step stitch on 01/15/2012 15:51:46 MST Print View

The three step stitch is a standard stitch used by sailmakers. It is a zigzag stitch where each zig and zag consists of 3 stitches, This distributes the load over many fibres rather than just one and provides a bit more stretch in the seam. See the discussion on this thread

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Three step stitch on 01/15/2012 17:12:30 MST Print View

Thanks, Mark!

nick beaudoin
(nick_beaudoin) - MLife

Locale: Palmy
Construction on 01/16/2012 01:18:46 MST Print View

Here is a photo of triple step used on a laminate spinnaker at work. Note the 12mm seems join the panels and run with the warp of the cloth. The larger seem joins the section (of panels), it runs against the fill and needs to be larger.

triple step seems

Cuben has a fill and warp. So it is stronger in one direction (warp).

fill and warp

Most/all tarp shelter manufactures don't use cuben properly as say sailmakers who design spinnakers around the load put on the warp direction of the cloth. Most tarp are constructed with the least amount of seems to save weight and cost in manufacturing (ie :less cloth and build time). They usually run the ridge line along the warp of the cloth and simply join 2 pieces together.

Below is how you could build a tarp using a radial pattern with the warp (load) coming out of the corners. The red lines are the seems and the blue lines would be the direction of the warp. There is load in the ridge line but a flat felled seem would take care of that.

radial cut tarp

But in fairness, we are talking about comparing how industrial/commercial construction techniques differ from say home building. Some techniques can be used and some can not. Clearly loads are not that great that in tarps that require techniques taken from sailmaking.

Here is a corner of a 800 square meter spinnaker. Here you can see how large the patches in the corner are that radiate out from the corner. There are also many layers to taper off the further you go out from the corner. The same could be used in tarps/tents.

cuben patches

nick beaudoin
(nick_beaudoin) - MLife

Locale: Palmy
corner on 01/16/2012 01:21:59 MST Print View

Here is the head of that spinnaker. Note the 38mm spectra webs!


Thats real corner reinforcement

Edited by nick_beaudoin on 01/16/2012 01:23:38 MST.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Construction on 01/16/2012 06:23:12 MST Print View

Thank you for the hughly detailed explanation of the fabric and stitching used. The stress layout of the tarp is probably way overkill as you suggest. But it clearly shows the need for various cottage people to manufacture tarps & shelters with proper warp orientation.

Also, the simple inreinforced loop attachments would likely cause some problems. Which direction should such reinforcement run in? Along the strength of the fadric reinforcement, the strength of the body fabric, or the direction of the stress? I would assume you would want it in the direction of the stress, but in the case of a simple tarp with three guy lines (one each corner and the center side,) a case could be made for strenghtening the fabric along the fill (weft?) rather than simply along warp. I would guess a diagonal grain, oriented along the warp to the corner. The side piece would be a right angle, orienting warp to weft? I ask because I anticipate most cottage manufacturor simply taking two 42" pieces and sewing them together for the main panels along the length of the tarp, along the warp direction. If they should instead put the main seam across the body, right angles to normal practice, this orientation could change...follow?

Again, the goal is minimal fabric for maximal reinforcment, assuming stitching AND gluing to be about 100% of material strength. Or, a felled seam, stiched and glued.

Rob Daly
(rdaly) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
THANKS Nick! on 01/16/2012 06:50:48 MST Print View

What a great explanation, thanks. And as noted, Spectra orientation is probably not as critical on a tent or tarp as it is in the sailing world.

Terry Trimble
(socal-nomad) - F

Locale: North San Diego county
THANKS Nick! for the photo tutorial about cuben sewing techniques on 01/16/2012 08:56:11 MST Print View

Thank you very much for the mini photo tutorial about Cuben sewing techniques. I did not know about warp and fill direction of fabric how it could even be applied to working with Xpac,Grid x dyneema and other light weight outdoor fabric for making backpacks,shelters other thing to make a stronger build of outdoor equipment.
I think I am ready to come down off my wall to sew some cuben equipment see how I like working with cuben.
Thanks again,

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Re: Wind Stress on Cuben on 01/16/2012 10:36:10 MST Print View

Some more photos of Cuben Fiber stitched to silnylon or Cordura Nylon and loaded to
failure. Will be adding more throughout the morning.

See how the un-reinforced tie outs were NOT the failure points.

Edited by oware on 01/16/2012 10:49:11 MST.

Daryl and Daryl
(lyrad1) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest, USA, Earth
Thanks Nick on 01/16/2012 10:38:10 MST Print View


Thanks for taking the time to post this info.

Interesting and helpful.

We've been collectively discussing/brainstorming these issues here for some time, off and on. One the the recent iterations looks a bit like one of the photos you just posted.



Edited by lyrad1 on 01/16/2012 10:44:09 MST.

David Olsen

Locale: Steptoe Butte
Wind Stress on Truck Vinyl on 01/16/2012 10:47:19 MST Print View

Long Haul Reinforced Truck Vinyl. Notice the bar tack needle holes enlarged like Ryan's
cuben fiber zigzag stitch. Stitch pattern is important. Bar Tacks and imitation bar
tacks made with a zigzag stitch are not the best
for sewing on laminates made with a wide scrim no matter how heavy. See how the
rough sewn line tack held with less needle hole enlargement?
Truck Vinyl test 1Truck Vinyl test 2Truck Vinyl test 3

Edited by oware on 01/16/2012 13:43:44 MST.