Chapter 18: Building the Canopy Frame

Step 11: Glassing the Outside Canopy Frame

It really helps to first make a paper template as pictured below.  It allows you to wet out the layups onto plastic and make a razor sharp cut to the exact shape of the canopy glass and fuselage.  There is no scissor-trimming required and it dramatically reduces the amount of stray fiberglass threads.  You DON'T have to use your dremel tool to do any grinding or trimming, thus reducing the risk of dinging the canopy glass.

To make the template, I laid out several sheets of paper around the canopy glass.  I added smaller and smaller pieces of paper until the I had replicated the curve at the canopy tape line.  I also trimmed the template to match F28 and the longerons.  I marked several spots along the canopy tape line and onto the template to know where to position the layups.  I traced the template onto a tabletop.  (I used my strake table.)  I laid down plastic, wet out the glass, then cut out the glass according to the pattern.  (You can see the trace lines once the glass is wetted out and becomes translucent.)  I chose to lay up each BID layer separately, overlapping at the center line.  Leave the first BID layer a little wider than the template because you must have enough cloth to stuff into the recessed groove and have it lay against the canopy glass.  When applying the flox into the groove, I left the groove slightly low.  Better to be a little low and contour later than to be too high and have to use lots of micro to contour the bumps.  I laid up the 2 UND layups (each side) and applied them in one step.  I peel-plied everything and waited for hard cure.