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Old Jan 09, 2008, 02:25 AM
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How to make your own sail ???

Is there any particular method to make your own sail? Any web site or documentation as a guide line?
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Old Jan 09, 2008, 04:11 AM
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Asturias, Spain
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http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/showthread.php?t=3110
You could also do a google search on "broadseaming" or "sailmakers block". They'll probably return some links to here
Anyway, give it a go. It's not that difficult.
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Old Jan 09, 2008, 06:58 AM
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There have been lots of articles on this subject in the model boat mags in the past, but much depends on the subject. The methods and materials depend on the intended use - a small static square rigger in a glass box will use totally different techniques to a racing marblehead sailing in 30mph in salt water.
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Old Jan 09, 2008, 10:08 AM
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Good sites I like (I'm a neophyte sailmaker):
The most helpful site I've found so far:
http://home.mindspring.com/~pmyc100/Sailmaking.htm

compilation of sites:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=545197
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=713429

photos of a sail design board:
http://www.magicmicro.org/e107_plugi...ewtopic.php?61
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Last edited by Brooks; Jan 09, 2008 at 10:27 AM.
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Old Jan 09, 2008, 04:33 PM
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Also check out the Sailmaking Notes at the Bantock site ( www.sailsetc.com ), downloadable and written with the sailmaking noob in mind.
These notes helped me a lot, making my first (and second and...) set of sails !

Regards, Jan.
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Old Jan 10, 2008, 12:19 AM
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I played around with making my own sails for a bit and it was sort of free. Go to the Post Office and pick up some large Tyvek envelopes (free ) and go for it. The envelopes are the perfect size for Footies as well.
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Old Jan 10, 2008, 11:41 AM
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Quoting Bob Starr "Well, there is a heck of thread on rc sailing on theory of sailmaking. Fair warning, it's 32 some odd pages long."
http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/showthread.php?t=3110

Part of this, now, 37 page thread describes a neat device, "Claudio's gadget". There are several devices available to help you place the camber into your sail without inducing bad wrinkles into the seam (eg. sail board, sail blocks, the gadget). The gadget looks to me to be the simplest to construct. There are many pages discussing the gadget, but I think these are the relevant pages for a quick overview:

Photo series of gadget in use, page 33.
Written instructions, page 37.
Right and wrong way to use gadget, page 12.

Much of the discussion seems to be about calibrating the gadget to get exactly the draft you want. As a beginner, I am not as concerned about achieving that level of precision as a full out racing sailor. It looks to me as if you could get a decent sail w/o worrying about these concerns, important though they might be to an expert.

I plan to make the gadget and try it out with florist's wrap and with tyvek.
-----------
Update: Claudio's gadget works like a charm! Very easy to make and to use. All I did was rip a 1/4" strip off a piece of lath (previously planed smooth by John). I screwed the ripped piece back onto the remaining lathe with one small screw in the middle. For wedges I used pieces of pine wedges sold in a packet for leveling tables, window sashes, etc. Add 2 clamps and the gadget is finished :-).

Two tests with Tyvek showed that the gadget works great with one modification. Tyvek is "fused felt", with no weave. My Tyvek will not let me remove tape; the tape pulls the felt apart (there is no mechanical structure, ie warp and woof, holding the fibers together). Since the sail is taped to the gadget, then peeled off when done, this would be a problem. The problem would not arise with smooth mylar or with cloth, each of which will allow removal of tape w/o damage.

The simple solution I used was to pre-tape the first Tyvek sail panel with generic brand "magic" tape along the edge that would be stuck down to the gadget. By leaving a tail of magic tape extending past the Tyvek, I had a nice handle to peel the sail from the gadget. Magic tape is thinner than regular cellophane tape. This extra tape might make the seam stiffer than normal, I'll have to actually sail with the Tyvek sail and see if it poses a problem. Tyvek itself is stiffer than the tape, so perhaps nothing will happen.

The Sailsetc document (Sailmaking Notes, Tech TI 20) says to use "3-6mm arc per 1 meter of seam". This seemed pretty small on my tests. I tried using about 12mm and the seam looked flawless. The big advantage of the gadget, for me, is that it is easy to get a perfect seam on the first laydown of the 2nd panel onto the 1st panel. Since I can't pull up and reposition w/o damage, the gadget is the way to go for Tyvek, I'd say.
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Old Jan 13, 2008, 07:10 PM
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I made a sail for my iceboat out of florist's film. I'm not sure if it is the real mylar stuff, or just thick (0.001") cellophane. It works pretty well on the ice. This film is only 25 micron (1 micron=1/1000 mm), making it thinner than the Sailetc. doc recommends (37 micron minimum). We will see how durable the sail is; It held up to 10kt wind out on the pond, so it's not as fragile as I expected.

You can pull up and reposition the florist film sail seam if you are not satisfied (unlike with un-magic-taped-Tyvek). I had to recut the seam because I positioned it perpendicular to the mast, instead of perpendicular to the leech, and got a big wrinkle running from end of boom to the luff end of the seam. The recut seam looked better, wrinkle-wise. I have 2 seams in the sail, at about 1/3 luff and 2/3 luff, trying to get draft into the sail (and some practice with the gadget). I did not recut the upper seam - the wrinkles don't seem to hurt the performance.

The Tyvek sail, with 1 gadget seam, looks very nice, and sailed well too.
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Last edited by Brooks; Jan 13, 2008 at 07:28 PM.
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Old Jan 13, 2008, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooks
Quoting Bob Starr "Well, there is a heck of thread on rc sailing on theory of sailmaking. Fair warning, it's 32 some odd pages long."
http://www.rcsailing.net/forum1/showthread.php?t=3110

Part of this, now, 37 page thread describes a neat device, "Claudio's gadget". There are several devices available to help you place the camber into your sail without inducing bad wrinkles into the seam (eg. sail board, sail blocks, the gadget). The gadget looks to me to be the simplest to construct. There are many pages discussing the gadget, but I think these are the relevant pages for a quick overview:

Photo series of gadget in use, page 33.
Written instructions, page 37.
Right and wrong way to use gadget, page 12.

Much of the discussion seems to be about calibrating the gadget to get exactly the draft you want. As a beginner, I am not as concerned about achieving that level of precision as a full out racing sailor. It looks to me as if you could get a decent sail w/o worrying about these concerns, important though they might be to an expert.

I plan to make the gadget and try it out with florist's wrap and with tyvek.
-----------
Update: Claudio's gadget works like a charm! Very easy to make and to use. All I did was rip a 1/4" strip off a piece of lath (previously planed smooth by John). I screwed the ripped piece back onto the remaining lathe with one small screw in the middle. For wedges I used pieces of pine wedges sold in a packet for leveling tables, window sashes, etc. Add 2 clamps and the gadget is finished :-).

Two tests with Tyvek showed that the gadget works great with one modification. Tyvek is "fused felt", with no weave. My Tyvek will not let me remove tape; the tape pulls the felt apart (there is no mechanical structure, ie warp and woof, holding the fibers together). Since the sail is taped to the gadget, then peeled off when done, this would be a problem. The problem would not arise with smooth mylar or with cloth, each of which will allow removal of tape w/o damage.

The simple solution I used was to pre-tape the first Tyvek sail panel with generic brand "magic" tape along the edge that would be stuck down to the gadget. By leaving a tail of magic tape extending past the Tyvek, I had a nice handle to peel the sail from the gadget. Magic tape is thinner than regular cellophane tape. This extra tape might make the seam stiffer than normal, I'll have to actually sail with the Tyvek sail and see if it poses a problem. Tyvek itself is stiffer than the tape, so perhaps nothing will happen.

The Sailsetc document (Sailmaking Notes, Tech TI 20) says to use "3-6mm arc per 1 meter of seam". This seemed pretty small on my tests. I tried using about 12mm and the seam looked flawless. The big advantage of the gadget, for me, is that it is easy to get a perfect seam on the first laydown of the 2nd panel onto the 1st panel. Since I can't pull up and reposition w/o damage, the gadget is the way to go for Tyvek, I'd say.
Thanks Brooks, I have been wanting to build one.
How would 1"square aluminum tubing work as the heavy piece and plastic or wood as the flexible piece? How much does the small piece have to flex?
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Old Jan 13, 2008, 11:01 PM
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Btw 35 micron film (Spanish florists use thicker guage) is 50 g/sq. metre. Its biggest problem is that cut edges tend to tear. Cutting with a fine tipped soldering iron is the recommended way although I used scotch tape reinforement.
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 12:05 PM
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Robert - I'd think your plan should work. The gadget's "thick piece" has to have enough stiffness to resist distortion when the wedges are placed. The "thin bar" has to have enough width to support the 1st piece of tape, say 1/4". My bar and thick piece are made from a planed-smooth lathe, the bar ended up 1/4" x 1/4" x 16". Straight grained wood will flex smoothly, as will plastic, so either could be used for the thin bar. I'd say use the smallest screw you can to hold the thin bar onto the thick piece; the smaller the hole you have to drill, the less you will affect the thin bar's flexibility (a large hole might make the bar kink when the wedges are inserted). I used a #4 wood screw, and the head of the screw was small enough to not stick out above the bar; I'd have had to file it down if it had interferred with the smooth surface of the bar where I was going to lay down tape and sail.

I use Scotch brand double-sided Poster tape for the 1st tape (stuck to the thin bar), and sailmaker's double-sided seam tape for the 2nd tape (goes beween the layers of sail material, forming the actual seam). The Scotch tape is 3/4" wide, so I cut it into 1/4" strips; the cuts don't have to be precise. The Scotch works well because, unlike the sailmaker's tape, it has a film between the 2 layers of stick'em, thus pulls off the gadget easily when you need to replace the tape. Sailmaker's tape is actually just pure stick'em; to remove it you scrape it with your fingernail, sort of like removing rubber cement. W/o a film backing, sailmaker's tape introduces less stiffness into the seam (although, you might want stiffness if you are using the seam in lieu of a batten).

Wedge size: I cut my wedges from "shims" I got from the lumber/hardware store. They should be the same thickness as your bar's depth, to keep the thin bar from warping when the wedges are inserted. As to how much wedge is needed: Sailect. says 3-6mm arc per meter of seam, ie. 0.6%. I find it easier to think in terms of gadget length; you get the same result. So, for my 16"=406mm bar, 406 x .006=2.4mm wedge at each end. I actually used 5mm of wedge at each end, doubling the arc. The lath wood handled this much flex with no problem. More experienced sailmakers would have a better idea of how much arc to introduce, and that topic is discussed in the original rcsailing.net thread.

I pushed the wedges in symmetrically, and got a symmetrical airfoil/arc. Maximum camber is often recommended to be at 40% of the distance from luff to leach (instead of in the middle, at 50%, as I did). If you wanted to make an unsymmetrical airfoil, perhaps you could push the luff wedge in farther than the leach wedge (and place the sail material on the gadget unsymmetrically, ie with the 40% mark over the screw). With a whole roll of film (purchased for $15 from a party planning store), I have lots of material to experiment with :-).
-------------
Martin - thanks for the tip about strengthening the leach with tape. I noticed the tearing when I was cutting the film, possibly due to dull/dirty scissors.
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Last edited by Brooks; Jan 14, 2008 at 12:28 PM.
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 01:06 PM
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Thanks Brooks, that helps alot, especially the pictures.

I like your wedge system.

It seems like using solid wedges instead of the easily compressible shims shown in the sailnet thread ( thin paper /plastic) would be more accurate and longer lasting.
It seems like you would get a smother curve too.

Thanks again, Rob
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Old Jan 14, 2008, 10:28 PM
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Darth ..... i guess it's time for us to try and make our own sail .....
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Old Jan 23, 2008, 10:56 PM
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"Making Model Yacht Sails"

There's a 41 page book by Larry Robinson, Ragged Symmetry Publications. Robinson was the technical advisor to Bob Wells, who wrote the EC12 publications, which are now sold through the AMYA store.
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