THE DROP STITCH MATERIAL
Drop Stitch technology has long been used in the aeronautical industry to make inflatable airCRAFT wings. In fact, USING DROP STITCH, Goodyear created an inflatable plane for the military in the 1950’s. HOWEVER, the US military abandoned the inflatable plane project (nobody wanted to fly an aircraft that could be brought down with a bow and arrow).
By using tens of thousands of tough polyester threads, drop stitch technology lets us build inflatables with flat surfaces that marry the durability and performance of hard-shell craft with the mobility and easy storage of inflatables.
The process starts by joining two pieces of polyester woven support fabric with thousands of fine polyester thread lengths. Polyester thread is used throughout because it is strong, durable and has very little stretch. Up to 400 needle heads may be used in the setup. Each needle sews a continuous, evenly-spaced thread, back and forth between the two pieces of woven fabric, locking them together into an incredibly strong unit. These drop stitch sewing machines are marvels of complexity. When a change is made in the spacing distance between the two pieces of woven fabric, it can take more than 20 days to remove and replace the required needles. This creates an incredibly strong construction.