View Full Version : Looking for a silicone tail for my Lunocet

Merman Storm
10-10-2017, 03:55 PM
It's time to get a really good tail for my really good mono fin, my Lunocet (https://www.ultimateswimfin.com/).
Typically, tail makers use mono fins they are use to. In this case, I want to use the one I have. It's a really nice mono fin. It fits my feet, and its very fast and efficient. I have made cloth tails for it, but now its time to take the next step.

Why would I not be happy with a silicone tail with a standard mono fin? Because after I got the tail, I'd still have the Lunocet, sitting there, waiting to be used, awaiting it's own silicone tail. I might as well just go for the final result right away.

Tail makers: Are there any of you who would like to take on this challenge? I am willing to spend the time, effort, and money to make this happen (well, within reason).

P.S. I have asked MerNation, and Michael declined.

10-10-2017, 11:59 PM
I think the monofin materials inhibit curing so that's why no one has used it yet

10-11-2017, 05:26 PM
You might be able to make a hybrid tail with it? You'd probably have to cover the monofin with a thin cloth the silicone bonded to before trying to attach it but it might work.

Merman Storm
10-11-2017, 09:03 PM
One issue is that the Lunocet needs to be removable so it can be disassembled and cleaned after use. Its full of moving parts, and you want to get the sand and salt out. I'm thinking that the silicone tail needs to be a skin, like a cloth tail, into which you place the monofin. This completely bypasses the material compatibility issue. The silicone would be cast in a mold, assembled into a tail, and not come into contact with the Lunocet until after its cured.

Also: MerNation has decided to see if they can make my tail.

Merman Storm
10-12-2017, 03:48 PM
MerNation again reconsidered, and said no.

So, I am back to square one, looking for a tail-maker. Is there anyone out there who would like to build a tail for me, incorporating my Lunocet?

10-12-2017, 04:20 PM
I can see how the uncertainty involved in such a unique project could discourage many tail makers from trying to make this. You successfully made fabric it neoprene covers for it, right? How did you deal with the fact that the space between the foot plate and the fin has a lot of empty volume? Did you have to add something to give some shape to the tail in that area? Also, does the fact that the lunocet flukes hinge rather than flexing stretch the skin in weird ways?

You're pretty industrious. Is there any way you could contract out the parts you don't know how to do or don't want to do, like creating the silicone sheet and painting it, and then bond the silicone sheets yourself? Or is there a local tailmaker you could work closely with on this project?

Sent from my Moto G (4) using MerNetwork mobile app (http://r.tapatalk.com/byo?rid=95032)

Merman Storm
10-12-2017, 07:05 PM
To deal with the gap between the feet and the fluke, I stretched a piece of neoprene over it, anchoring it with velcro.
I have no idea if the fabric does something odd, I cannot see it as a swim. It seems OK when I sit at the edge of the pool and flip the tail.
Contracting out parts or working with a tail maker: I would be overjoyed to work with a local tail maker. But I do not know any professional tail makers at all, much less one in my area. That is what this thread is all about: Finding someone who is willing to work with me for $4000.

Merman Storm
11-01-2017, 06:14 PM
So far Ive tried contacting 4 tail-makers. 3 have turned me down for various reasons, and the fourth has not replied to my request.
Anyone have any ideas on how I can get this tail?

11-01-2017, 06:44 PM
That sucks, sorry to hear it. Could you persuade a tailmaker to make a tail that fits a fin that's much larger than a lunocet and them replace the fin yourself after it arrives?

I don't know if that would work. Just trying to brainstorm ideas.

What reasons did they give for not making a tail for a lunocet?

Sent from my Moto G (4) using MerNetwork mobile app (http://r.tapatalk.com/byo?rid=95032)

Khaleesi Daenerys
11-01-2017, 06:59 PM
So this may be a lame idea but what about a hidden zipper or something so you can pull your whole monofin out of the bottom of the fluke. (To take it apart, clean it ect.) Instead of curing the silicone to the monofin itself, can they do some sort of fabric backing and attach something, like Velcro or snap buttons, onto both the fabric and the monofin?
This may be a horrible idea, but I'm not a tail maker so I don't know how it works.

Merman Storm
11-01-2017, 09:14 PM
Malinghi: One had no open slots. Earliest delivery would be 2019. That may not sound like too big a deal, but its a bit more so when you are 62. I'm not sure how many more years I'll be able to enjoy this hobby. The other two say it would take $10,000 to $20,000 to do it. That is alot more than I am willing to spend. In my opinion, they are over-thinking the problem, and it can be done for far less.

Khaleesi: You have to deal with the issue that silicone sticks to virtually nothing. But your idea has merit. What I was thinking is to get double sided Velcro and embed one side in the silicone.

11-01-2017, 11:13 PM
I would be afraid the silicone would tear away from the Velcro after repeated uses. True, you can cast the scale sheets and the fluke and fins but that middle section would need something for the silicone sheet to float on or it will just collapse into the moving parts. Plus, did you want the bottom of the fluke to remain open while you swim? Without the silicone glued shut at the bottom of the fin it would have to or your back to the imbedded Velcro thing again.

Merman Storm
11-01-2017, 11:46 PM
The velcro tearing the silicone is an issue. It is actually why that option is actually my second pick on how to do this tail: Make it just like a cloth tail with an open end, insert the monofin, then close it with velcro. The velcro would close the silicone top to the silicone bottom. No attempt would be made to attach the silicone to the monofin at all, it would just have to be fitted right so its own elasticity would keep it in place.

As for the scale sheet collapsing into the moving parts, look at the picture I included in an earlier post in this thread. I made a neoprene gap cover to keep that from happening. I know it works for cloth skins. BTW, my cloth skins are closed ended. I get the monofin in there by putting it in piece by piece, and assembling it inside the skin. I'm fairly sure that method will not work with a silicone skin, it's too bulky.

My preferred idea is to make the tail in three parts: The main tail that goes from the mono fin to my waist, and two “socks” that cover each fluke. The socks would be stretched over each fluke, and held in place by their own elasticity. Most likely, they would never have to be removed. The main tail would be closed at the rear, but have holes on the left and right to allow the flukes to be inserted and mounted to the spine. Aquatails makes cloth tails that work this way. For my case, the monofin spine would get in from above.
The minimum tail I could use would be one that is just the skin as described above, like the Aquatails Nixie tail, but made from Silicone. The flukes would be left uncovered. So, I just need a tail maker who will make me a tail skin, closed at the rear, with two slots for the flukes.

Khaleesi Daenerys
11-02-2017, 12:52 AM
What about a hidden zipper around the base of the fluke? Mazu does a multilayered fluke that I think could fit a zipper in between the two layers so it's always hidden. Then you could probably reach in and take the monofin apart (the way you need to for cleaning) then you could get it out easier. Her tails are also silicone over neoprene I believe and they are beautiful so you get the silicone look but the convienence of neoprene which you could probably use snaps or whatever on.

Merman Storm
11-02-2017, 09:44 AM
I had not been considering a hybrid tail. That may be the way to go. Its hard to attach a zipper to silicone, and you would have the same tearing issue as with velcro, but with a neoprene base, it becomes easy.
A hybrid tail is made the same way Ive been considering: a skin that covers a monofin.
I looked at Mazu's work, and it does look good. I'll contact her and see if she is willing. Thanks for the lead!

11-02-2017, 02:30 PM
This is a super neat idea and I figured I'd give my two cents. None of this has been tested, obviously, so it might not even work. Also pardon the rough image, I drew it fast.

Basically you need a silicone tail with a way to remove the lunocet. I tried to find reference on how the lunocet disassembles but couldn't find any, so this is just me assuming that it detaches from the shoes like this. All you really need to be able to do is access your shoes at some point, right? What if there were a zipper in the foot area solely for accessing your feet. The rest of the tail would be virtually the same as any other silicone tail. The fluke opening could potentially be held together with a series of low profile, strong magnets embedded directly into the silicone. This might cause performance issues but maybe they would work if they were placed very close to the actual monofin. Not sure. Maybe Velcro would work too.
As for the padded area, you could probably get away with using a removable neoprene or silicone based "pad" that sat like a clamshell over the rod of the Lunocet, hiding the thin area. This pad would need to be removed before detaching the shoes from the monofin.

Its just AN idea. Might not be plausible but these are fun problems to try and solve :)42411

11-02-2017, 02:39 PM
Sorry, one more.
Come to think of it, silicone is super stretchy so you may not even need to connect the open flaps of silicone in the fluke area. As stated above, you could just treat it similar to a fabric fin and stretch the silicone over the monofin.

Mermaid Kane
11-02-2017, 02:41 PM
Thats a really great drawing for an example.

Merman Storm
11-02-2017, 06:07 PM
Well, first I need to find a tail maker who will make me a tail. I am making some progress with Mertailor. They have a partial silicone tail that is designed to go over a monofin, rather than have a monofin embedded into it.

The main thing you want to take off the Lunocet when taking it apart is removing the flukes from the spine. Once you do that, the shoes and the spine can be pulled up and out through the waist. The main reason to have an open rear is so I can reach in there with an allen wrench and undo the bolts that hold the flukes to the spine. As part of the cleaning process, I almost never take off the shoes. They bolt on too.
Here are all the parts:

On the left you see the shoes, and below them, two of the bolts that connect them to the spine. Above the shoe that has been removed you can see a tab upon which the shoes are bolted. Right of that is one fluke that has been removed, and below, the nuts and bolts that connect it to the spine.

On the cloth tails, I slide the spine and the flukes in from the waist end, and assemble it all in the skin.

Interesting point: As the flukes are removable, one could make entirely different flukes that bolt on, with whatever crazy shape you want. You may even be able to make a fluke out of silicone.

11-06-2017, 12:23 PM
Okay, I see what you're saying! That's pretty neat how that all assembles together, I had no idea it detached like that. I really hope Mertailor is able to make this happen! I love the look of the extended fins and this doesn't seem like an impossible task to accomplish :)

mermaid mazu
11-11-2017, 11:50 PM
Hi I will start by saying I have no previous knowledge at all on what you are working with lol but i saw my name got put in there (ty by the way) working with a hybrid you could theoretically leave the bottom unsealed with a zipper (or probably much easier) Velcro or snaps just like you would a fabric tail. I work with tin cured silicone not dragon skin so I don't use molds. If you would be interested in a tin cured hybrid I would be willing to discuss what I could do or since you sound pretty crafty, I'd be willing to help you if you wanted to attempt it yourself.

Merman Storm
11-12-2017, 06:39 PM
Thanks Mazu. I had not contacted you because Mertailor has given me a "maybe". They are busy, and will get back to me soon, after they have has a chance to discuss the job. I think it's a little unfair to use up a tail-maker's time having them figure out if they can do this job, then tell them "I went with someone else". If Mertailor falls through I will contact you.

Silicone on Neoprene with snaps closing the rear sounds like a good option. If I go that way, I would want you to do it, not help me do it. Reason: I'm not an artist, and I want a good looking tail.
Out of curiosity, how thick neoprene do you use? is there a buoyancy issue?

mermaid mazu
11-12-2017, 06:47 PM
Oh that's perfectly understandable and mertailor is a much better known tail maker with much more experience than me. I'm still fairly new. I use 3mm neoprene scuba knit fabric (no rubber so not true neoprene) my tails are neutrally buoyant in the water

Merman Storm
11-12-2017, 10:38 PM
The tail Mertailor is offering is a partial silicone tail. It does not cover the flukes. As yours would, there is that advantage. The flukes of the Lunocet need to be kept smooth, with their proper airfoil shape, but it would be nice if it they were something other than plain black rubber.
Stay tuned.