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Fireline

Old 03-06-2010, 08:04 PM
  #1  
01sporty
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Default Fireline

I've seen a fair bit of discussion here and there about superline. The majority of it seemed to be centered around Spiderwire but most people seemed inclined to lump them all together.

Then I read a bit saying that GMA had once commented that Fireline was the one superline that had real potential. It may have just been rumor, but it was good enough for me. I ordered a roll of 20lb., 65lb., and 80lb. Fireline Tracer Braid. I picked these values because word on the street said it was apt to fail at 1/2 it's rated value. I picked the tracer braid for it's visibility.

I started my testing with a polymers 101 smell test. Put a match to it and see what it smells like. Smelled just like polyethylene to me but that wasn't completely definitive since I'm not entirely sure what a fluoropolymer smells like. I mention fluoropolymer because that's what the general opinion seems to think it is. So, I did more extensive research (OK, all I did was read the box) and sure enough, it's PE. Probably some variation of HDPE or UHMW.

This is important because PE looses very little of it's strength when melted. The upshot being, when you melt the end of it, you get a very strong ball so instead of a fancy fisherman's knot I just used a couple of half hitches. I tied it loosely, melted the ball on the end, lubed it with some Dawn dish washing soap and pulled it tight.

I don't have a lot of results yet but those I have are impressive. The very first pull on the 20lb. went to 21.5. It did fail at the knot but by then there was signs of distress along it's entire length. I did several more tests on the 20lb. and all went the full 20 pounds.

As a side note, all the 20lb. tests were with the line hooked up to fishing size 10 snap swivels. I've often used these with 1/2A but never trusted them for anything bigger. They held up very well to the 20 pounds so could probably be used safely with a .015 size plane.

Next, I hooked up a piece of the 65lb. It made it to 27 pounds before the snap failed at the clasp. Pretty much what was expected. Then I attached the 65lb. line to a heavier #7 snap. This time it failed at around 35 pounds. The line pulled right through the wire. The line and knot were completely intact and the snap wire was sheared clean. Impressive.

Diameters. Until I can get use of a toolmakers scope, these values are tentative but here's what I have so far: The 20lb. is about .012 dia., the 65lb. around .018 and the 85lb. is .022. Under my 20 power microscope, the stuff looks very round and tight.

The stuff is available in as low as 6lb. The diameter must be incredibly small and that should suffice for a lot of smaller 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2A planes. I intend to use a Jr. Ringmaster as a test bed for the 20lb.

Regards,
Walt
Old 03-06-2010, 09:08 PM
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skaliwag
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Default RE: Fireline

If you consider a .15 size model will weigh in at 22 - 24oz (1.5lb) and test for a 7 - 10 G load, 12lb test would be in the ballpark and 20lb would certainly be safe. Stuff isn't cheep though.
Old 03-07-2010, 08:55 AM
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icerinkdad
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Default RE: Fireline

I have been using this stuff on 1/2a for years. Your report that it is stronger than some of the items we currently use for line connections is on the mark. I did notice that it is significantly stronger than the plastic in the old cox handles as sliding it thur a handle quickly it cut a groove in the plastic quickly. I like it and my experience is that if you use the 20# line it is more than strong enough under all conditions. As far as cost have you ever kinked a set of steel lines in the first use?
Bob
Old 03-07-2010, 12:02 PM
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01sporty
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Default RE: Fireline

Stuff isn't cheep though.
It can definitely be pricey. Buying three rolls for testing was a bit of a splurge. A lot of the expense is simply that you have to buy so much and you're not sure which to buy because the available info is so sketchy.

On the plus side, once you have a roll of 110 yds., you can make up quite a few sets of lines faster than you can do one set of stainless. And I really hate making up stainless lines.

I bought the roll of 80lb. thinking to use it for leadouts. I now have enough leadout for 50 planes. I really am going to have to work faster.
If anyone wants to send me a SASE I'll be happy to send you a 10' length and you can join the experiment.

test for a 7 - 10 G load, 12lb test would be in the ballpark and 20lb would certainly be safe
I was thinking 10G load and use 70-80% of stated value just to keep it conservative.

it is significantly stronger than the plastic in the old cox handles as sliding it thur a handle quickly it cut a groove in the plastic quickly
I just rigged up a bell crank with the stuff. I didn't want to tie it directly because I wasn't sure how it would take the flexing over time. It never occurred to me that it might simple cut through. I attached a picture of what I ended up doing. I'll do something similar at the wing tip.

I have been using this stuff on 1/2a for years.
I've seen that statement a number of times. Everyone that uses it seems to like it which is why I'm hoping to move it up to the larger planes. Caution is the word of the day though. The bigger you get, the more costly any engineering oversights become.

Cheers,
Walt
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Old 04-04-2010, 03:36 PM
  #5  
zotoz
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Default RE: Fireline

Have been using fireline over here for three yers on my Cox 049 powered models as I couldn't get the Cox Dacron.
I use 8lb at 35 to 40ft and have never had a prob and that's with moded Black Widows and TDs.
It is way thinner than Dacron and has way less line sag so I can run longer lines, a big plus for stunts. Plus it has zero stretch for more precise control.
Have a mate who is using a heavier grade on .15 size stuff.

Warning - only tie a knot use no glue on it and don't do melting as it creates a weak point leading to premature failure.

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