Vacuum Forming

Started vacuum forming the canopies over the July 4th weekend Holiday.  Here are some pictures.

7.7.2006  The vacuum forming table is nothing more
than a wooden box with a peg-board table top.  Inside
the box, a few scraps of wood were glued in place to
keep the peg-board from bending when the vacuum
was applied.  Here's the table setup in the garage
right outside the kitchen.

7.7.2006.  Here the table is in the kitchen, closer to the oven.  The faster you can get the hot plastic over the mold, the better the "pull".  A smaller frame is being used for this one part.  I simply taped over the holes in the peg-board not being used to maintain maximum vacuum pulling power.

7.7.2006  Here is a larger frame, sitting on top of the vacuum table, after a pull, showing two molds or parts.

7.7.2006  here is a view of the frame after removing it from
the vacuum table.

7.7.2006  One move view of the table. 

8.10.2006 A view of my system.  Here I am forming the
engine cowlings.

8.10.2006 Close up shots of plug and form.  The
plug has block spacers underneath it, .25 inches.
This allows the bottom of the plug to be level with
the plastic clamped in the frame, and allows
the air to be drawn away from underneath, which
really improved the pull.

8.10.2006 another shot.  Notice the holes taped over

8.10.2006  Here is a shot of the pull just after contacting the base.

The Nose and Cockpit Canopies - First Generation

The pictures below are of the first cockpit and nose canopies, and show you how you can add the realism of
frames to your aircraft.

8.22.2006:  I am working on the windshield frames. 
I vacuum formed .0625" ABS styrene over the same
plug used for the clear glass.  I added a piece of balsa
for the front lip.

8.22.06:  Next, I trimmed the styrene pull and placed it
on the bird.  Then, I taped the location of the frames. 
Next is to cut out the white styrene .

8.22.2006:  Here is the finished frame.  It took a good three hours, which I split up over two days, to cut out the plastic.  When cutting any plastic, take your time. 
Your first cut is critical because it guides the rest of the cuts.  Go slow, and lightly on the first few cuts. 
Also, change your direction on your cuts at the corners.

8.25.2006:  A few more shots of the nose canopy.

8.25.2006:  Here are a few pictures of the nose,
 before and after cutting out the frames.
I still have all ten fingers!


The Nose and Cockpit Canopies - Second Generation

5.18.2010:  The pictures below are of the latest cockpit canopy, which is now available with the panel frames formed in the plastic.  We are showing two ways to mask and paint the frames.  The cockpit glass here has been taped to expose the area to be painted.


These next pictures are of the latest nose canopy, which is now available with the panel frames formed in the plastic.  Here, the nose glass was first  taped to hide the area to be painted.  Then, several coats of Liquid mask was applied.  Afterwards, the edges of the tape was scored with a razor, and the tape was carefully removed.

Watch for pictures of the finished canopies this May, 2010