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Molded canopy experiment - Worked!

Old 11-09-2004, 08:34 PM
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Default Molded canopy experiment - Worked!

Hi everybody,

I've made the usual left/right molds for fiberglass canopies for many years. I was in search of a cleaner way to do it for my new sport jet project, and have tried two different methods. ( http://www.nextcraft.com/j47_sportjet01.html )

First, I made a top/bottom mold. (Ignore the cosmetics on this one, because it was also a paint test, done purposely in low temperature/high humidity, and intentionally pulled from the mold early, to see how far we could push the chemicals.)

The seam turned out fine, and I'm now surprised that more people don't make canopies this way. If you're priming or painting in the mold, it's better to have the seam hidden in the flange than right down the visible centerline of the canopy.
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Old 11-09-2004, 08:38 PM
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Default RE: Molded canopy experiment - Worked!

Having recently seen some of Bob Violett's work up close at a meet, I then decided to try another method...

i used the top canopy mold, but instead of the bottom half of the mold, I epoxied in a lite ply frame instead. Wow! The results are an even better fit, and NO seam, since the frame fits inside the canopy. It's a LOT more rigid, too. This is how I intend to do my canopies from now on.

(This was all standard stuff... West Systems epoxy, lite ply, and epoxy/Cabosil for the frame joints and canopy attachment.)
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Old 11-10-2004, 04:50 AM
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Default RE: Molded canopy experiment - Worked!

Mike,
A third way would be to lay up your canopy as you did in your second version, leave it to semi-cure, (go "green"), trim off the excess material overhanging the edges, and then put your flange on. You can now make a fibreglass flange, using some epoxy/microballoons to make fillets in the sharp inside corners, and then simply use some glass tape for the flange. This should adhere well enough to the semi-cured canopy without the need for any sanding.
Regards,
Magne

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