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Don't try this at home update 1

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Hi Everyone

For those who were following the "Don't try this at home" thread.

I received my sample from ABM today. With no further a do I set to putting it under demanding and otherwise none normal conditions.

PLEASE NOTE: All tests were carried out on the ABM sample Self Adhesive Flock Material and had not been vacumed (not recommended) or lint rollered to remove any dust or excess fiber from manufacture. The tests were intended to find a more UK cost effctive alternetive to importing Protostar flocking paper. As I have had no experience with using Protostar flocking I cannot comment on there product other than from imformation found on their website Protostar Telescope Making & Upgrading.

Protostar web site recommends after installation of their product that the material be cleaned with a lint roller to remove any excess fibers due to manufacture. I assume this would be the same case with ABM flocking paper but for the perpose of my test I wanted to establish the absolute worst any shedding could be.

1) A high concern was the durability of the adhesive to stay stuck to the inside of the telescope wall. The test was for the self ahesive grabbing power of the backing.Although any kind of ahesive require some effort to be detached from a large surface area, the weak points are often the edges. In attempt to test the adhesiveness of the edges I stuck the sample to my hand and peeled several times to allow the skins natural oils and grease to contaminate and weaken the adhesive takiness. I then applying light pressure over the material attached it to a A5 diary 391g. VERDICT: The kind of lateral foces placed on the sample should not be encountered at any point under normal use but the adhesive was able to comfortably hold the diary even though some tackiness had been lost 9/10

2) Although I'm sure this would never happen once installed in a telescope I did the most obvious shed test... scratching across the fabric to establish loss of fibers. VERDICT: The sample had a small amount of loss the harder I tried. The amount of effort required to loosen the fiber suggests under normal circumstances no shedding would occur. 9/10

3) (Sorry for poor picture, hard to focus on two things a once) This test was to try and simulate stupidly rough handling of the OTA. I would assume heavy handling of the OTA would be more concern to the optics than any shedding of flock but never the less it could happen to fall out the back of a car and roll down a hill or something. The sample remained attached to the diary and I beat the life out of the back cover with a pen to see if fibers would shed onto a piece of white paper. VERDICT: Although a hard test for any material this was not to be a good one for the flock. A reasonable amount of flock shed onto the paper. Although fiber was lost the particles were so small that in comparison normal dust that has collected on my primary looks much worse. 7/10

4) The material was removed from the diary for the moisture test. The moisture test could be considered a little drastic but it was to serve two perposes. ABM inform me the material is synthetic. From what I am lead to believe this means there should be no concerns of mould. The test was to see if there were any waterproof properties to the material. With tap water ran over the surface droplets soon formed after initail soaking of the fibers. The water then collected and easily ran from the surface. The water did penetrate the fibers but not through to the adhesive side. The dampness was absorbed with kitchen roll and soon dried by itself. The adhesive side remained sticky. VERDICT: Dew may well occure on those cold winter observation sessions but I don't think it's going to have a puddle of water sat on the inside of the OTA. Even if you were caught short and it started to rain the water would only run down the flocking sheet. 7/10

5) The water test was performed once more and the dried vigeriously with the kitchen roll. Again this proved too much for the material and again a good amount of shedding occured, more so onto the the now damp kitchen roll I had just rubbed the surface with than the white paper but still a significant amount more than previous tests. Once dry a second time I tried the scratch test to see if the fibers had been loosened by the water. The resalt was the same as the previous scratch test although maybe not as much heavy pressure was required. VERDICT: If you were to drop your telescope in a lake and you wanted to dry the flocking off DONT!!!! Allow it to dry naturally or pat it with kitchen roll and clean with a lint roller to remove any newly loosened fibers. 3/10

6) The second reason for such a demanding moisture test was to see how the adhesive stood up to wet enviorments. The sample was again stuck to the diary with a little more pressure this time but the hold of the adhesive was again very assuring. Normal late night dew and damp should not cause any concerns regarding adhesion. VERDICT: As long as caution is taken that there is a suitable surface to ahere to when applying the flocked sheet and correct exspansion gaps are created then there should be no issues with adhearsion 10/10

7) I would say at the present exchange rate ABM self adhesive flocking sheet is a good substitute for Protostar flocking sheet.Any salesman will make their product sound like it's the best there is, this is how companies make ther money. That Big Mak looks like a feast fit for a king on the bill board quing to the fast food restraunt but that certainly isn't what the waitress hands you. VERDICT: With vigorous handling some fibers will shed but under normal intended use there should be no issues. In most cases fibers that did shed would be no worse than the dust collected on the mirror from normal use. 8/10

I am only a begginer like everyone was at some point and trial and error will be a inevitable part of my hobbie. I do not have the long term experience of such modifications but I feel ABM flocking sheet is up to the job but you don't take my word for it, get a free sample and try it for yourself. Self Adhesive Flock Material

Although the average score from my testing will be low. Under normal use I would score the flocking sheet from ABM 8/10 for the intended purpose. I feel shedding would be reduced by 95% if prior cleaning with a lint roller had been carried out as shedding was minimal during tests anyway and would most probably be normal to any brand of flocking paper given the circumstances. Adhesion was very good and as long as correctly installed would only imrove as the sticky back bonded over time. As the material is not organic I would not see an issue with mould but this would not be a test that could be performed unless over a long period of time. The only reason I would not give ABM flocking sheet 10/10 is that there is no grid reference on the peel off backing to help aid in trimming a square cut. My other concern is that ABM Flocking sheet it is not marketed for telescope application and so there is always the doubt in the back of the mind that one day it may fail and I can't complain to the seller. (Not that it would make much difference either way)





I will be placing my order for ABM Flocking sheet and update you of my progress.

Hope anyone who is in my position finds this thread useful and thank you to every one for your advice up to this point.


Edited by spaceboy
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this is an excellent post and of what seems like a great material and as you say a good alternative to the protostar.

one thing you don't mention is how 'reflective it is (per your own visual inspection) when held at an acute angle to a light/lamp? did you try this and did it appear to 'trap' the light or allow it to progress along the surface?

this to me is one of the main reasons for flocking a scope. it would be interesting to see this compared directly in this way with a small piece of protostar.

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This is a good question shane but one I could not comment on as I would want to compair it to a sample of Protostar to get a more conservative verdict. I did try bouncing torch light across the ABM sample and needless to say it was less reflective than the matt spray on the OTA but It would be debatable how well it captures light compaired to other flocking sheet.

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Its a worthy and useful bit of testing.

I used Protostar when I did mine after trying a few samples of various stuff (not ABM by the way). In the end I decided that if I had to flock which was going to be a biggish sized job because the whole scope needs to be stripped then I may as well use the best.

The embuggerment with any kind of work like flocking is if you get it wrong or the flocking paper turns out to be duff then you will have a devil of a job getting it removed and cleaning the tube up for a 2nd go with something else.

For me, my time was just too precious to try and save a few pounds and potentially waste hours of my time.

Having had to remove some sticky backed materials in the past from items that were a lot more amenable to the wholesale use of chemicals, heat guns and power sanders I was bit disinclined to risk someting not designed for purpose with all that that would entail in having to redo the work again.

Protostar by the way does stick VERY hard to the tube but less so to itself and or anyone flocking I would reccommend you NOT overlap the flocking or if you do seal it with a bit of superglue.

Its a worthy bit of testing you have done there though.

Edited by Astro_Baby
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Hi Astro thank you for the support.

Unfortunetally it looks like it's not the flocking thats going to let me down but ABM themselves. Over a week later and no flock, no delivery estimate, no customer notifications, I'm afraid NO SALE.

The flock stood up well and as for the material I couldn't fault it but my faith in ABM didn't fair so well. Granted I havn't been charged but if there was a lack in stock then inform the customer don't tell me 3-5 days. So determined to find an alternative to protostar (for us less wealthy peeps) in the UK I am sourcing another supplier.

Will keep you informed of my progress.

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There are alternatives to flocking you know - you can mix woodchips down with some blackboaard paint to provide a very speckled light disrupting finish. You could also use a cheaper flocking and stop it shedding by spraying it with some kind of clear matt varnish. You'd have to test out what works well because flocking is often nylon and theres plenty of paints and varnished which like to eat nylon and/or melt it.

I'm sure someone on the board did this ages ago with a cheap felt sprayed with some kind of clear flat finish.

Ps if you want a small bit of protostar to compare with P)M me your email address - I think I have a few small spare bits laying around somewhere - they would be quite small though.

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Right the story so far.......After cancelling the ABM flocking due to the poor customer service and waiting over a week they decided to sent it without confirmation :D So here we have it!

Even with what I had considered to be tough testing on the ABM sample I forgot 1 test that would inevitably be required CLEANING :o upon peeling back the masking tape seal on the roll :headbang: a patch appeared resembling my head :)


The flocking don't like being cleaned. Lint rollers are recommended by protostar so I went with that. Of all the tests I thought the material would fail on cleaning was in depths that is the back of my mind. The adhesive side for the OTA is 10/10 but the adhesive side to the flock is s**te.

Although most stays put while the lint roller runs over it, bits do come loose :icon_cool: so long term maintenance is 0/10

Unless anyone has come across this problem with protostar, my loss is going to be your gain!

As I cannot afford to make this mistake again this concludes my efforts to find a cheaper UK alternative so I will be giving my money to help another countries economy instead :D

Edited by spaceboy
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I think you have done well to try and cover all bases there, I agree with you on the fact that if a company messes around and doesnt keep an eye on where the order is or isn't then they dont deserve my money so when comes the time to do this myself I think everything points towards protostar, unless I find an alternative in the mean time.

But thanks for putting this together Spaceboy.


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Thanks Asur84 I ordered protostar last night as although my attempts were to help the less wealthy among us it actually ended costing me time which I consider more important. 2 Weeks and the telescope is sat butt naked waiting for some flock.

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Sample of Protostar might be with you today from me - if there is one horror with Protostar its that it sticks like pooh to a blanket and if you ever need to remove it be prepared for a tough time. The felt side will come awy from the backing paper if you really pull hard enough - you'll tear bits off in the process but the backing paper will stick to the tube so hard you wont believe.

Its a real headache to remove it so when your working with it take your time and make sure you have it all sussed.

tip for skywatcher owners out there - at the secondary end of the tube you can run the flocking right up to the tube edge and still get the front tube trim ring on. At the primary end of the tube you need to leave the tube bare to the depth of the primary mirror fitting flange - the bit that mates to the tube - or else you wont get the primary assembly back in.

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To add to Astro_baby, on the Skywatcher OTA's, take everything off them and just paper over the holes, then cut round the metal edges with a sharp craft knife.

Also, I cut the flock sheets square before starting and then cut them into 3" wide strips and did them one at a time starting from the seam in the OTA.

When I'd gone all the way round I did overlap the seam onto the first strip of flocking but then ran a bead of Super Glue down the edge.

Edited by Glider
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Thanks Asur84 I ordered protostar last night as although my attempts were to help the less wealthy among us it actually ended costing me time which I consider more important. 2 Weeks and the telescope is sat butt naked waiting for some flock.

Hi there,

I am one of the less wealthy out there :o so I was recomended this product: Fred Aldous

Done most of the same tests as you, and i am very happy with the results, also had grid backing for easy cutting (which is great for first time flockers like me:)


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I was going to stick my flocking to 1.5mm 'fun foam' sheets and then PVA (or similar) to the tube. this way it will come off more readily if required and allow some movement/adjustment before it is permanently stuck - also insulates the tube and should stop / reduce currents too.

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