When I first started building park jets, like about 99% of the rest of the community, I was using duct tape or strapping tape to make hinges for my control surfaces. At that point, my crash to flying ratio was still very high, so long term durability of hinges never really entered into my thinking at that point.
I actually experimented with hinges and reinforcement using the mesh drywall tape and Fabritac glue quite awhile ago after reading a post on the RC Powers forum by a member called mpmilesjr. That was long before the Foam Tac/drywall tape craze took hold.
When I started using Foam Tac, like many folks I started using it for hinges with drywall tape and then as I stopped using Foam Tac, I started using Foam Cure which has worked very well although does require a bit more attention to ensure the hinge is loose enough to work properly. You can read about our experiences with Foam Cure here. It is still my overall favourite glue for constructing my planes, but using it for hinges does use up quite a bit of glue.
The drywall tape/glue hinges do work exceptionally well and are strong and durable, but not completely indestructible, I doubt any hinge is. I have had experiences where if the drywall tape was old or brittle, that sometimes the fibres can break, causing hinges to loosen. Additionally, no matter what glue you use, there is a period you have to wait for the glue to cure (often overnight to have best bond) before handling them.
So fast forward to present day, my crash to flying ratio has reversed itself and I regularly push planes to 200-300 flights before recycling them, not to brag, but normally by choice and not necessity (ie I didn't crash them). With the recent round of building I have gone through building 4 prototypes of our latest plane the NAMC Mig-35B, I wanted to get the planes built without waiting around for glue to dry on the hinges. I built using this Scotch Tough brand transparent duct tape shown below, available here at Amazon. I normally just purchase mine at Home Depot or Walmart where I live in Canada.
So the purpose of this post is not to "reinvent the wheel" or share anything earth shattering as I'm sure most readers have all used or still use duct tape or strapping tape for hinges, but I wanted to start a discussion of the long term durability of using duct tape hinges for how I build and fly.
From a stand point of weight, I don't think there is really much difference between using all duct tape hinges and all drywall tape/glue hinges. Cost wise, I don't know if there is a big difference, although long term, the drywall tape/glue method does use up a lot of glue, so I suppose there is a long term cost saving in glue consumption over multiple builds.
It certainly is a much faster method of building as I don't have to wait around for glue to dry or worry about bits of "workbench debris" getting stuck to large areas of wet glue on the hinges. Of course it takes a few minutes to sand off the shine on all the tape, but that is a fraction of the time it takes to wait for the glue to properly cure. You will notice that I like to run the tape in one solid piece the full length of the hinge rather than cut pieces, much easier for me and gives me a more secure hinge and cleaner looking surface especially when painted. Maybe adds an extra gram or two, but saves a lot of hassle and looks cleaner, at least to my eye. Here is a picture of one of my aileron hinges.
So I will continue to build and fly with this transparent duct tape and as the flights continue to increase on this plane, I will report my findings on the long term durability of it as a hinge material.