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From time to time I have seen reference to a velomobile being built from a frame with a covering of heat shrink material. Sounds easy enough if the covering is strong enough. I did a couple of internet searches and turned up zilch. Posted a couple of queries on forums and Doug G from BentRider Online referenced Rick Gritter’s streamliner on the Recumbent.com site. Sure enough, http://wisil.recumbents.com/wisil/gritters/rick_gritters.htm turned up Rick’s lowracer and his streamliner. Seems Rick has been quite successful racing this streamliner with a cromo frame and Dacron heat shrink skin.
Here is a great look at Mr. Gritter’s streamliner.
If anyone knows the finish used on the Dacron, I would like to know. In other words, was it paint, epoxy, etc. firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick’s streamliner answers one question for me. Can a frame and skin of Dacron look very professional? Indeed it can. Next question. Is it durable? From what I’ve found searching the internet is that it is durable on canoes and airplanes. I think others may have asked this last question also. This video seems to go to a lot of effort to demonstrate the durability of Dacron. I have found a few references to others that may have built velomobiles/streamliners in this fashion, I can find no build details.
Skin on frame canoe construction seems to be common and date back to the beginning of history. I’m talking of days when they used real skins, not synthetics like today. There are numerous sites with “How To” instructions and technique. I’ve not yet studied enough to know what coating or coatings would be best, but a couple of the sites just recommend paint although one of the video’s I watched had some kind of epoxy that made a hard shell of it. I’ll list the sites and videos at the end of this post so you can do some of your own studies. .
I’ve seen many pictures of Rick’s streamliner, many boats, canoes and kayaks. They all look good. So I have built some confidence that this is a doable project. I’ve looked at the cost of Dacron and it is in line with Coroplast. There is another product called ballistic nylon, but I’ve not looked into the price or methods of applying this product. Videos make it look like a very tough product also.
I am enthused and ready to start on this next project. I mean like tomorrow.
Well, after writing the above, I have found another build that may still be in progress. http://www.bentrideronline.com/messageboard/showthread.php?p=741853 More on this one later.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNXjKX6-N-w A short take lol
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JTcMMkgk2Y I don’t know if this is Dacron or ballistic nylon. Both products have positive and negative attributes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xb_21OLjHE Darcon and Paint(?) I think take two…. OK I’m convinced. I don’t think Coroplast would take this kind of abuse.
http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/07/howto/skin/index.htm This is a very informative article on the application of The Dacron/Xynole/Epoxy Matrix. I am basing some of my new found confidence in the site.
http://gaboats.com/ A great deal of information is here also. Dacron pricing on their order page.
This is just a reminder for me to check into this construction process http://www.boatbuilder.org/stitchandglue.htm Stitch and glue is a process that I think might have been used on one of Friend Wood’s velomobiles.
Dacron–A Canvas Alternative instructions for mounting Dacron canoe style.
To be continued.