FAQ's and Fabrication Tips
Q. How should I store Polycarbonate.
A. The polycarbonate should be removed from the carton immediately and stored flat.
Q. When Should I remove the Masking from the Polycarbonate?
Cut away only enough masking for your seam work. Do not cut the paper with the blade perpendicular to the window. Place the blade parallel to the window and be careful not to scratch. Do not sew through the paper masking. Remove the remainder after it is installed on the boat. Do not leave the masking exposed to the sun for long periods of time as it will make it more difficult to remove.
Q. How do I cut Polycarbonate?
A. Polycarbonate can be cut using tin snips, heavy duty shears or utility shears. Try Wiss Multi Purpose Snip model A10BS which has an offset for table work and Fiskars 8” Titanium Nitrate Shop Snip for radius’ and tight areas. Long straight cuts can be made using a heavy duty utility knife and fresh razor blade. Score along your mark and snap. Similar to working with drywall or Formica. Watch your finger tips!
Q. Will any industrial sewing machine work with Polycarbonate?
We have found that most industrial machines will work however each machine has it’s own personality. Try different set ups in your shop to find the best match.
Q. What is the best type of thread to use with Polycarbonate?
We recommend Solarfix PTFE Thread. It is guaranteed for the life of the fabric and sews best. Seam repairs on polycarbonate are very challenging and often result in panel replacement. Other PTFE Thread will also work, but Solarfix is less expensive and sews better than the others.
Q.What size and type of needle works best with Polycarbonate?
A.Testing has shown that Diamond Pointed Needles work best and last the longest. Use size 20, 21, 22, Size 20 and 21 seem to work the best with 2000 denier, Solarfix PTFE thread.
Q.How should I adjust my machine for Solarfix thread?
a. Make sure no burrs exist on the needle, needle plate, feed dog, or foot.
b. Clean thread guides and tension disc’s to remove gumminess created by Tenara™, before attempting to run Solarfix.c. Check for burrs on sewing hook side and pick-up point.
d. Make sure needle bar is set at correct height (half of the needle eye showing at the top of the hook guard when needle bars is at it’s lowest point.)
e. Set the check spring at 9:00 o’clock and slightly heavier tension than set for other PTFE threads.
f. Adjust the bobbin tension to present a slight tension when pulling the tail. (Too tight will result in skipped stitches)
g. If possible, adjust the timing in a manner that the hook point is set to pick up the needle thread loop as the needle rises and approximately 1/32” over the needle eye. h. Set the lower needl tension slightly lower than required for Tenara™.
i. Make sure the thread stand top pull off guides are positioned directly over the center of the thread tube/cone.
Q. Do I need to use silicone to lubricate the thread?
A. Lubricating the thread prior it passing through the guides with Silicone liquid really works well. Any of the basic thread lubricators available should work.
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