I make my own sails as well. and I agree making the sails is easy, takes about an hour to have a main and a jib 3-4 panels each, I use the claudio tool, all the detail work luff pockets, battens, corners, ect… big PITA…
But a “molded sail” seems very intruiging…and, in theory, a very repeatable process… I have no doubt that when I make my sails they are very similar to one another, but I doubt they are exact replicas of one another
I’m waiting on a “spray on” plastic! Get a sail mold shaped, spray on a layer, add reinforcements or even load path threads, like 3DL’s, then another spray on layer. I bet it’s not too far in the future!
I have a heat shrink machine…I was thinking one layer of heat shrink add heat, add fibers, and then a second layer and heat… not sure how well it would hold up, or if the fibers and material would bond together…
Just as reminder, I’ve cut & paste Zvonko Jelacic method from other site - quote:
[i]"Regarding sailamaking process, please find some notes for all of you to have better overview how it is possible to make easy, cheap and fun sails for radio sailing boat.
My club friends Vjeko Orlandini and Ante Kovacevic had made 3D sail and they have done on very easy way ten years ago. They made female mould using certain part of the Europa dingy class hull as plug. It is true! They put sail material over such mould and fixed him. They made few holes on the mould and connected compressor from old refrigerator for making vacuum. Using hair dryer fan they heated the sail material and sail has been shaped ! Vjeko Orlandini abandoned IOM sailing and for years nobody worked on this technology until I had started to think about that.
By the way, even easier way for making such sails in warmer places of the world (Mediterranean or closer to the equator) during summer period is as follows. Find a suitable form you want to have on your sail (outside shell of VW bug car, outside shell of dingy class boats like Europa, Laser or alike) paint the required portion black (or put black plastic bag over the shell), place and firmly fix the sail material over the “mould” early in the morning and come at the evening. Voila! Material will be shaped with ZERO costs without seams, sticky double side tapes, wrinkles on the seams etc. Just experiment and have fun!
I am using slightly more advanced methods for making my 3Dmf sails (investment cca 200 EUR: mould + equipment from any store of technical equipment) in order to make sails quicker and to have economic production. Few sets of my sails have been sold for 50 EUR. My target price will be around 70 EUR per set. If I find out solutions for some better efficiency in sailmaking process, even 50 EUR may be realistic cost of one suit of sails. Of course if IOM ICA find out that this sails are in accordance with current IOM CR.
In less than one year, along with other jobs, I have figured out how to commercially made one paneled sails. I consider that as great success because there was no chance to make competitive sails using paneled sails in such period of time. Thinking about 10+ possible moulds (blocks) for making seams, precise gluing of two panels without wrinkles and air holes on the seams, finding out how to achieve repeatability of good shapes discouraged and frightened me at the early start of my idea to make sails! It was much easier to make three dimensional mould using plank on frames method (material costs cca 30 Euro) and shape the sail over such mould! "[/i]
I am guessing here but from his description it possible he is using only one mould with a progressive profile so you can moved sail to get the desired shape, as Marc has suggested earlier.
what should be the sail material ?
Are all materials available performing at the same way ? Reinforced Mylar, Polyester, Melinex, etc
How long the sail shape will stay once exposed for some weeks to Sun/UV radiations ?
1.-More or less I have the skills to try to make sails thermoformed.
2.-I do not think they are better or worse than other sail types.
3.-For me, these sails would be a solution to the problems of high temperatures in my area.
4.-I respect all opinions about the thermo-molded sails.
5.-I ask please. if someone has a template profiles IOM, to make the mold of the sails.
-Thanks in advance for your contribution to my project.