Repairing Conductive Rubber Pistes

Discussion in 'Armory - Q&A' started by Robert Smith, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. Robert Smith

    Robert Smith Made the Cut

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2002
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    20
    Fenced yesterday on a rubber piste that had seen plenty of battles and taken a LOT of collateral damage. It was patched with the old stand-by, sticky-backed metal tape, but that stuff has never worked particularly well. So I got to thinking about conductive fabrics, and took a look on lessemf.com to see what they had to offer.

    I found two options, one of which I've used before:
    ShieldIt - an iron-on fabric and it has worked well for adding electric bibs to older masks - works out at about $2.50 per mask, and so far seems to be standing up very well. Had to get a little fancy with tabs for mask cords, as it's only conductive on one side;
    StickEShield - I haven't tried it yet, but it claims to have conductive adhesive, which should make it good for patching piste holes. It would need backing to prevent sticking through to whatever's under the piste, but anything would do for that.

    The only other suggestion I've had is to cannibalize one old piste to repair the others, but that's not likely to end well - thick piste, thick patch, it's going to catch toes and peel off again, unless someone could come up with a super-strong conductive adhesive.

    Does anyone have a better suggestion? These things have been around over a decade now, and I can't find any suggestions online for methods of repair. If you have these pistes, what does your club do?
     
  2. SJCFU#2

    SJCFU#2 Podium

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2003
    Messages:
    3,529
    Likes Received:
    141
    The thing that would concern me about an iron-on patch would be how the heat might impact the strip since the base layer underneath the conductive is a synthetic rubber and you can't fit something else between the base and the conductive layers (keeping the two layers from coming apart has been one of their biggest problems because AFAIK there isn't much you can do for them once they start to delaminate).
     
  3. nasnem

    nasnem Made the Cut

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    21
  4. Robert Smith

    Robert Smith Made the Cut

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2002
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    20
    The iron-on fabric requires a temperature of 130C and not a lot of time, so it might work. I'd be inclined to test on a corner at the back end of the run-off, just to see how it takes the heat. Doesn't have to be a hole there, just a surface to stick to. Wouldn't use our iron either, but pick something up at a charity shop or the like. Trouble is, the iron-on fabric is only conductive on the upper surface, so there would need to be something done to add continuity without leaving an edge to catch and tear.

    The second fabric is glue backed, and claims to have a conductive glue, so no heat required. We've had self-stick bibs for foil masks, and I'm not in the least impressed with the adhesives, so I'd be concerned over durability. Best thing, I guess, is buy some and try some.

    As to copper tape, I'd be concerned that it would go the same way as other metallic tapes. For lame repairs, I still prefer conductive thread (need any? I have plenty...); for bibs, the iron on fabric has worked very well so far, but it's not taking the same kind of wear a piste takes. I think I'll try the fabrics, see how that pans out. Thanks for the responses; and if I have success, I'll let you know.
     
  5. neevel

    neevel Armorer

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2000
    Messages:
    3,337
    Likes Received:
    301
    So far as I know, there really hasn't been a good solution found for repairing them when the inevitably get holes or runs, which is one of the biggest limitations to them. So if you experiment and find something that works as a durable fix, it would be a big help. US Fencing could save an enormous amount of shipping if they were more durable and repairable (you could fit an entire NAC's worth of them in just one of the crates that currently holds 2 strips), but the need to replace them frequently would probably cancel out any savings on freight (also, much more carpeting and gaff tape would be needed for each NAC to provide proper padding beneath them and to fully secure them, which would add cost- the carpeting in particular is far more expensive than many would think).
     

Share This Page