3D Manufacturing Facts

Before molding takes place, all Aramid yarn used in 3DL® laminates is placed in custom drying ovens for 72 hours to remove all traces of moisture. Removing moisture from Aramid yarn eliminates the release of steam from yarns during heat curing of the 3DL laminate. Since oven drying of Aramid yarns was introduced in 1996, moisture-related delamination of 3DL sails has been virtually eliminated.

After removal from the drying ovens, yarn spools are stored in hermetically controlled carts and are then placed in hermetically controlled chambers contained in the fiber head armature during the molding process.







Film scrims used in 3DL laminates are produced in the 3DL plant to ensure precise specifications and consistency.




The advanced adhesives used in a 3DL laminate are the only adhesives in the world developed specifically for sails. Developed by a team of 3DL engineers and four PhD chemists, the unique adhesive is designed to cure in two stages. The first forms a strong surface bond between yarn and the surrounding Mylar films. The second works internally, firmly setting yarn placement while allowing microscopic movement that reduces flex stress on fiber and increases sail longevity. The adhesive is also designed to cure at relatively low temperatures, allowing the film to be less brittle. The search for even better, lower temperature glues is an on going project at the 3DL lab in Minden, Nevada.


The 3DL fiber head used to apply yarns on the mold operates at a surface pressure of 5 lbs. per square inch. The original 3DL fiber head used in 1992-2000 exerted a surface pressure of 28 lbs. per square inch. The lighter surface pressure allows the fiber head to travel at a higher speed and reduces crimping (buckling) of yarns as they are applied.

All materials used in a 3DL sail are tested for consistency and performance. 3DL process documentation includes standards and methods consistent with STATISTICAL PROCESS CONTROL, the testing protocol followed by NASA and the Aerospace Industry.

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