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Jun 11, 2021, 09:10 PM
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splicing envelope material together


Good news, another sheet of the envelope material has arrived. I can now make two more gores.

Unfortunately these sheets are only 2 meters long, and as my gores are 210cms I need to find a way to splice on the last 10cms of material.
The material is heat sealable only on the white side so I have to find a way to join the pieces in a way that does not impede the heat sealing side.
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Jun 14, 2021, 10:22 AM
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I managed to tape on the extra 10 cms by using packing tape and taping on the outside (silver side) so that it won't interfere with the heat sealing white side.

I have also started work on the balsawood control gondola.

6 gores down, 2 to go!
Last edited by Q airships; Jun 14, 2021 at 10:41 AM.
Jun 14, 2021, 12:48 PM
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ruzam's Avatar
It's hard getting the bubbles out from under the tape. I've lived that

I hope you don't run into a problem of material shrinkage rates when you join your seams. Can't wait to see it inflated!
Jun 15, 2021, 09:31 PM
Melbourne, Australia
Good Stuff!

... a lesser builder would have just shrunk their build size by 5% :-)
Jun 19, 2021, 11:11 AM
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Fill valve


The fill valve that I made for the blimp is a slightly scaled up version of the valve described in Alan Sherwood's Microblimp plans.
It is made from styrene tube and a drinking straw. Once the valve has been inserted into the envelope I will add two pieces of mylar to the inside end to make it a non-return valve.

The location of the valve will be on the underside of the envelope, forward of the gondola. However, I was wondering if the valve would be better suited at the nose or tail of the envelope?
Jun 19, 2021, 01:16 PM
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ruzam's Avatar
Not in the tail. You don't need any extra weight there. If you put it in the nose it'll be easier to conceal with a nose cap.
Jun 25, 2021, 07:26 PM
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Good News,

The last roll of envelope material has just arrived.

Time to make the last 2 gores!
Jul 03, 2021, 09:30 PM
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Envelope Sealing


All 8 gores have been cut out and I am now ready to seal them together. I will be using an iron to heat seal. The gores will be stacked and folded on top of each other (as seen in the drawing below).

I would like to fold the entire envelope inside out to get a much smother finished surface but unfortunately the other side of the material is white, this would be great for modeling any modern airship, however the Goodyear blimp that I am making is a silvery grey color, which is the color the material that I bought.
Jul 03, 2021, 10:39 PM
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ruzam's Avatar
Make sure you do lots of practice seams before you attempt your gores. Then do some more The iron often doesn't behave as well it looks on paper. Too much heat, not enough heat. Same for the pressure you put on the iron. How fast you move the iron. It takes practice to get a feel for it. Don't use up your gores figuring it out. Make a square test balloon and see how well it inflates and holds air so you know what to expect.

Good luck!
Jul 03, 2021, 11:56 PM
Melbourne, Australia
What Ruzam says - do some practice pieces first!!

Drawing guide lines on the wax paper may also be helpful, to help you keep things neat...
Jul 04, 2021, 09:34 AM
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Thanks for the advice, I will certainly do some practice and make some test balloons.
Jul 09, 2021, 10:34 PM
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Control Gondola is almost finished. (will post more info tomorrow )

I have also made a test balloon and did some experimenting with the foil.
Jul 09, 2021, 10:42 PM
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ruzam's Avatar
Looks good! Are you still in your weight budget?
Jul 10, 2021, 01:00 AM
Melbourne, Australia
Nice work with the test balloon!!
Jul 10, 2021, 10:09 AM
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For the gondola, I did everything that I could to bring the weight down: I cut large holes in the balsawood base, I uses the same envelop material to cover the sides, I used kitchen saran wrap (very light) for the window panes. Even with some scale details like the landing wheel and the decals, the weight of the gondola is 25 grams, which is under my 30 gram estimate.

The landing wheel also has a small spring at the top to give it a bit of suspension on landing.


I have been doing tests and making balloons, the envelop material has a heat activated glue on the white side so it will obviously not seal grey side to grey, however it will seal grey to white but the seal is not very strong. Another test I did was to see if it would seal to safety blanket Mylar. With enough heat it did seal quite well to the Mylar (see photo), I don't know if that would be useful, but it is still interesting.

I plan on starting the envelope soon.


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