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leading edge bladder popped - fixable?
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bobgatpdx

Since 04 Oct 2008
151 Posts

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PostFri Feb 24, 17 5:08 pm    leading edge bladder popped - fixable? Reply with quote

My leading edge had a twist in it and it finally popped (on shore thankfully). It left a pretty big rip in the bladder. Is this fixable or should I just get a new bladder? The kite is a LF Solo 15.5m only a couple years old.

I've never done any kite repairs before - any tips? I know enough to tie a line to the end of the bladder - but that's about it.

thanks,
Bob


   IMG_7425.jpg 
   IMG_7426.jpg 
   IMG_7427.jpg 

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GregK

Since 21 Jan 2010
13 Posts
Comox, BC
 



PostFri Feb 24, 17 7:07 pm     Reply with quote

Bob :

yes definitely repairable with a big patch of TearAid ( TPU or bladder film with a thick layer of pressure-sensitive adhesive ), give it about a 1-inch overlap on all sides of the tear.

Two essentials to a successful patch :
1. Cleaning the area properly before applying the patch
2. Applying the patch so there are no wrinkles in either the kite bladder or the patch

Looks like there may be some stretching / bulging / thinning of the bladder beside the tear. Usually this deformation can be annealed back to very close to its original shape.

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Wind Slither

Since 04 Mar 2005
2228 Posts
The 503
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PostSat Feb 25, 17 9:20 am     Reply with quote

Yeah, your lucky, that's really clean for a blowout. If there is material that got stretched thinner best to cut it away.

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bobgatpdx

Since 04 Oct 2008
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PostSat Feb 25, 17 10:09 am     Reply with quote

Thanks guys. I ordered a patch kit. The rip is 5" long, but pretty clean.
- Bob

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GregK

Since 21 Jan 2010
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Comox, BC
 



PostSat Feb 25, 17 12:39 pm     Reply with quote

Wind Slither wrote:
... If there is material that got stretched thinner, best to cut it away.

Easiest to cut it away, but then your patch becomes bigger to cover the cut-away, and you will have to add an insert of film to cover the cut-out and prevent the patch from sticking to the opposite inside of the bladder.

For a 15.5 Solo light-wind kite, minimizing added weight is desirable.

But for a first-time DIY, cutting out thinned film is the easiest technique.

For such a clean-edged tear, the advanced approach is to anneal out the thinning, allowing the edges of the tear to come together evenly without wrinkles or overlap, and keep the patch width to a minimum.

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dangler

Since 26 Feb 2006
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PostSat Feb 25, 17 3:28 pm    bladder repair Reply with quote

I've fixed a ton of bladders with tear aid. It's tricky and over time I've developed a bit of skill. Still tricky, tho, and prone to ultra slow leaks.

The Tear aid is STUPID expensive, and you get only one attempt!

I bought a heat sealer for a 17m blowout. it was a clean seam blowout, and it worked a treat. I've since repaired huge blowouts with it. I even Frankenstiened together replacement bladders for old kites, and figured out a way to replace sections of fkd bladders. Time consuming, but cheap compared to costly Tear aid.

The sealer was fairly inexpensive, 20-30 bucks, and paid for itself on the first repair. It works best on newer bladders, old bladders not so much.

Yours is a prime candidate for a heat sealer. I used a kitchen seal a meal my Mom gave me for years. The new heat sealer is mega better.

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bobgatpdx

Since 04 Oct 2008
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PostSun Feb 26, 17 12:32 am     Reply with quote

Quote:
For such a clean-edged tear, the advanced approach is to anneal out the thinning, allowing the edges of the tear to come together evenly


Can you explain what you mean by annealling?

The rip is pretty clean and the bladder material is just slightly stretched out - less than 1/4". I was thinking about allowing it to overlap onto itself and then put the patch over that. That way the patch won't be able to stick to the other side of the bladder.. Or is it better to trim the excess so the two sides of the rip meet as closely as possible?

Thanks for the tips!
- Bob

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GregK

Since 21 Jan 2010
13 Posts
Comox, BC
 



PostMon Feb 27, 17 12:09 pm     Reply with quote

bobgatpdx wrote:

Can you explain what you mean by annealling?


Controlled & even heating / cooling of the deformed / thinned film around the tear. As the TPU ( thermoplastic polyurethane ) nears its softening temperature, residual stress from the thinning reverses the plastic deformation ( the thinning/stretching ) and it returns to very close to its original geometry.

Sounds wonderful, but it will be easier to overlap edges or maybe use a few short perpendicular cuts to get the overlap to sit flat, as annealing bladder film is very easy to over-do.

However annealing does allow minimizing the width of the patch. Overlapping will require a wider patch, as there are invariably wrinkles in the bladder near the tear.

As Dangler mentioned, TearAid patches can develop slow leaks if there are any wrinkles in either the TearAid or bladder film close to the edges of the patch. However if you have at least 3/4-inch of flat (wrinkle-free ) film and T/A patch everywhere around the patch and a good bond between bladder and patch, then it will be a long lasting ( life of the kite ) repair.

I wouldn't recommend trimming overlap, not with the goal of completely eliminating it.

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Last edited by GregK on Mon Feb 27, 17 12:29 pm; edited 1 time in total

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bobgatpdx

Since 04 Oct 2008
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PostMon Feb 27, 17 12:17 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks. What do you use to do the annealing? Blow dryer? Iron? Heat gun?
I think I will stick to trimming the overlap down a little with scissors.
- Bob

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Anthony

Since 07 Oct 2008
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PostMon Feb 27, 17 2:32 pm     Reply with quote

I have repaired a blown bladder. After the tricky fix and time I found that it would have been cheaper to buy a new one. Your model sells for $132 at Airtime. Big tears typically do not hold well. You might save some on money installing it yourself, but having them install it gets it right the first time.

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jeremy

Since 18 Aug 2006
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Hood River
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PostMon Feb 27, 17 3:07 pm    patch in and out Reply with quote

I'd recommend doing a patch from the inside, then a patch on the outside. Double patch it !!

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
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PostMon Feb 27, 17 3:33 pm    Re: patch in and out Reply with quote

jeremy wrote:
I'd recommend doing a patch from the inside, then a patch on the outside. Double patch it !!


+1

I'm no expert, but this technique has worked for me multiple times.

Start with a nice flat work area (kitchen table or the likes) as the inside patch can be a little tricky. You need a hole large enough such that you can get your fingers in to place the inside patch without it touching any part of the bladder. First place a piece of tissue down so your patch doesn't try to grab the back side of the bladder. Then put your patch in. Once you have things lined up let the bladder fall (float down) to your patch. You only get one chance so take it slow and don't screw it up Rolling Eyes

edit: One more thing I forgot to mention. This is really a two person job. One person to place the patch inside the bladder, the other person to hold up the top side of the bladder.

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Last edited by bigjohn on Mon Feb 27, 17 3:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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ldhr

Since 21 Jul 2009
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PostMon Feb 27, 17 3:36 pm     Reply with quote

Airtime for the win.
They're cheap, do perfect work, and you won't worry "is it gonna leak" when you're
3 miles from your launch.

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bigjohn

Since 13 Mar 2012
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PostMon Feb 27, 17 3:54 pm     Reply with quote

ldhr wrote:
Airtime for the win.
They're cheap, do perfect work, and you won't worry "is it gonna leak" when you're
3 miles from your launch.


Airtime's good I agree, but they don't follow me around when I'm on vacation.

Learn how to fix things yourself and you have a vacation saver.

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GregK

Since 21 Jan 2010
13 Posts
Comox, BC
 



PostMon Feb 27, 17 4:09 pm     Reply with quote

Fixing things versus discard & replace is also much better for the environment.

After all, 99.9% of this bladder likely is in perfect condition. You wouldn't throw away a car tire if you got a nail hole in it ( same 99.9% ) because the techniques to patch that tire are effective, proven reliable, and widely available.

Kite LE bladder repair will get there too eventually.

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user124

Since 02 Aug 2012
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Portland
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PostMon Feb 27, 17 5:07 pm     Reply with quote

ldhr wrote:
Airtime for the win.
They're cheap, do perfect work, and you won't worry "is it gonna leak" when you're
3 miles from your launch.


+1 on airtime. Better to have it done right, and every airtime repair I've ever had has been perfect with no future failures. To me it's worth the money to not end up with a ruined session.

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bobgatpdx

Since 04 Oct 2008
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PostTue Feb 28, 17 4:35 pm    the fix is in - and it's not pretty Reply with quote

OK, well I gave it a shot. The results are not pretty, but it does seem to be holding.

Here's what happened:
1) I liked the idea of patching on both inside and outside, but putting a patch on the inside is easier said than done. I got it started OK, but then when I took the backing off, the patch immediately crumbled up and stuck to itself forming a wad. I had to cut most of it off with scissors. Shit.

2) As a result of my failed inside patch job, the edges of my hole were now too far apart and so the area was impossible to get flat. When I put a patch on the outside, I got wrinkles. Shit. Shit. Shit.

3) I had some patch material left over, so I put another layer of patch on top of the first patch - this layer extended further out and I was able to gradually peel the backing off and get a good application without any wrinkles or trapped bubbles. Whew!

4) Waited an hour, put the bladder back in (I had only taken out one side of the bladder so it was pretty easy), and pumped it up to 5psi. Seemed to be holding. Yay!

5) Took the kite down to the beach, pumped up to 10psi and let it sit in the sun for 1.5hrs. Still good. Flew it around a little - holding fine.


If I was going to do this over again, here's what I'd do:
1) Do a couple of small patches on the inside to get the edges of the cut held down. Key is to get a flat area for the outer patch.
2) Do a big patch on the outside and try to get it flat enough so there are no wrinkles or bubbles.
3) If there are any wrinkles or bubbles, put a second (bigger) patch over the first patch to make sure those areas are wrinkle/bubble free.

I bought the TearAid (Type A) on Amazon. Really cool stuff - but SUPER STICKY.
- Bob


5" long cut - edges are overlapping
 5" long cut - edges are overlapping  IMG_7429.jpg 
trimmed edges so no longer overlapping
 trimmed edges so no longer overlapping  IMG_7430.jpg 
Tried to put patch on the inside, but it didn't go well
 Tried to put patch on the inside, but it didn't go well  IMG_7431.jpg 
results of inside patch job
 results of inside patch job  IMG_7432.jpg 
first outside patch - notice bubbles and wrinkles - damn
 first outside patch - notice bubbles and wrinkles - damn  IMG_7433.jpg 
putting second layer of outside patch on - going on much nicer
 putting second layer of outside patch on - going on much nicer  IMG_7434.jpg 
finished patch job with two layers of outside patches - ugly but functional
 finished patch job with two layers of outside patches - ugly but functional  IMG_7435.jpg 
first test at 5psi - seems to be holding
 first test at 5psi - seems to be holding  IMG_7436.jpg 
pumped up to 10psi, left on the beach for 1.5hrs and flew it a little - still looking good
 pumped up to 10psi, left on the beach for 1.5hrs and flew it a little - still looking good  IMG_7437.jpg 

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