Repairing a Sidemint Wing. Bladder Tear in Difficult Spot

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SlugMug

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SOLD!!! - [With leak] Free, but u pay shipping, UTD Signature Series wing, can be used for back or side mount

I acquired the above wing (thanks @boboqa), and have finally got around to taking it apart. This should just be considered a fun DIY side-project, where success is desirable, but not vital.

I started with a seam-ripper, but quickly discovered that was a waste of time, as I couldn't manage to get all of the threads and ended up tearing some of the fabric anyway. So I just used scissors near the edge.... and it might not be super-pretty when it's back together, but hopefully not super-ugly either.

It appears the tear is about 1.5cm long I'm not sure how this kind of tear happens, but maybe something heavy was placed on the wing and pinched it. The tear is inside a corner/fold of the wing, and a little difficult to get to. I could cut more of the fabric, but am not convinced it would make the hole much more accessible, and just make it a bit uglier when I put it back together. A patch on the inside would be nice, but I can't really reach the tear on the inside of the wing (ex: through a dump valve hole). Basically, there's a cut in the bladder, in an awkward place.

My current idea is to use some bladder material to bridge the gap (like a patch) and slather it with glue, let it dry, inflate, and see if it holds air for a couple days. If that's good, take it on a few dives, with redundant bouyancy, and if that's fine, try to sew/patch up the cover in a way that doesn't look terrible.

Questions:
  • What kind of material should i use for a patch?
  • What kind of glue should I use for the patch?
  • Any general advice?
(the tear is in the fold, on the right-side of the pictures where the bladder is partially extracted.)
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Ulfhedinn

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@unifiedteamdiving no showing since 2016 but would be fun non the less...
 

James79

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Any general advice?
The bladder should be slightly larger than the fabric shell (emphasis on should)... that allows the the fabric to take any pressure loads from inflation. As long as that is the case, when you patch the bladder don't pressurize it too much for the leak check. Do a "barely fully" low load test, and if that holds sew up the shell and then test to the point of the OPV releasing some air. Would be a shame to pop a repair by overloading it to levels it won't see in use (constrained by the shell).

Respectfully,

james
 

runsongas

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is the shell separable from the bladder? can try pinching off the torn portion and heat sealing with a leather iron (or even better if you have access to an impulse sealer that will go 400 to 500 F). if the bladder is bonded to the shell, tire patch/aquaseal and hope for the best. too bad it wasn't at a flat portion which would make the repair easier.
 
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SlugMug

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is the shell separable from the bladder?

No. The thicker parts of the nylon fabric are also part of the air-containment. The bladder material only covers part of the interior, and I think it's mostly along the left and right sides, where it expands.

I'll probably try the tire-patch plus aquaseal if I don't get a better suggestion.


Do a "barely fully" low load test, and if that holds sew up the shell

Got it, thanks, I'll make sure to not over-fill.

I might even do the zipper-idea I had in another thread, just so I can re-open it if it starts leaking again from that area. It's not like that corner is going to be very pretty anyway, after the cutting I've done.
 

SaltyFrog

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strange that the tear is in the fold.

From that particular trip, I did put tank/wing/plate on my car, which then went through couple of bumps... It's possible that something edgy landed on the wing.
Although I had fully expected the tear to be on the surface, not folded inbetween. Strange.
 
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SlugMug

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strange that the tear is in the fold.

From that particular trip, I did put tank/wing/plate on my car, which then went through couple of bumps... It's possible that something edgy landed on the wing.
Although I had fully expected the tear to be on the surface, not folded inbetween. Strange.

Yeah, it's in a really strange location. I ordered some vinyl glue, which will probably arrive around next Wednesday.
 
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SlugMug

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Quick update: I tried applying a sort of vinyl patch in the crease, and that proved "impossible" to get a good seal and make it lay flat.

However, since it's in a weird fold/corner, I had another idea. I just applied some vinyl glue inside the crease, around the entire area of the cut, and pressed the bladder against itself. The idea being, that part doesn't really expand much, so I can basically seal around the area, and use the bladder itself as a sort of patch material. It's hard to describe or photograph, especially because to photograph it now would require pulling at what I just glued.

Here's the current plan:
  1. Allow the glue to dry for 24-hours <-- current step
  2. Inflate, and check for leaks. No leak is ideal, but a tiny leak would be okay.
  3. Apply a second line of glue at the edge of what I already glued & give that 24-hours.
  4. Stich the cut-fabric with a strong thread. I'll be ugly at first, just to save time/effort if I happen to need to open it back up again.
  5. FULLY inflate, and check it after another 24-hours.
  6. Underwater test: For the first test, I'm thinking I don't wear it, but instead strap weight to it and use it as an awkward external BCD, and watch for bubbles. Worst case, I have my normal sidemount rig on my back.
  7. If that's good, I'll clean up my stitching, swap the wing on my sidemount harness and take it for some real dives. Obviously (and as always) having redundant buoyancy with me & being properly weighted..
 
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SlugMug

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It seems the glue really doesn't need 24-hours to cure. So, Step 1,2,and 3 are done. I temporarily skipped step 4 (sewing), and have gone to step 5, fully inflating it until the purge releases air. I can't hear any leaks, and I'll check on it after 24-hours. Despite me basically gluing the bladder to itself, it seems to fully inflate just fine.

I might do one final "ring" of glue around the edges after this test, just for some extra sealing & because there might be a little bit of stretching of the glue, etc. Just make sure we have an extra good seal. Then sew, then underwater test.

Here are some pictures, including my failed attempt to use the "repair tape" material as a patch. It turns out the glue was all I needed.

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SlugMug

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Quick Update:
  • So it doesn't hold MAX pressure after 2-hours, but was otherwise fully inflated. So, there's a very, very tiny amount of air leaking somewhere.
  • The glue seal seems VERY solid though. I did some tugging on the seam, and poked at it with a q-tip with it's end cut off, just to see if there was any weak glue. The only way I think the glue is undone is to rip the bladder again I might do that 3rd layer of glue, just because I can. I'm thinking I'll put it through a number of inflate/deflate cycles to "exercise" it first
  • I think this is honestly good to go for the underwater test. The idea of an ultra-slow slow leak doesn't bother me, so long as it's not likely to suddenly rip open.
 

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