Saturday March 4th, 2006|
Started Cutting Canopy
Ok, I'm all geared up...let's cut some plexi!
Well, ok. First problem. My original angel die grinder was just not doing well enough. I don't know if it's just poorly designed or old (or both), but it would bog down way too easily so Jaime and I ran over to Home Depot and I picked up a 'cut-off' tool which worked much better in terms of torque...but it LOVES to suck air more than the die grinder and it would literally run out of steam after about 3 to 4 seconds using the crappy 12-gallon compressor I have. My compressor has worked great for ALL the building tasks so far..riveting, squeezing priming and even painting the interior...but it wasn't going to cut it (pun intended) for the canopy task. So....
I went over to see what my neighbor could do for me. He's got literally any tool you could possibly imagine including this beast of a compressor that I wheeled over. This thing worked much better.
The first cut I made was just across the front. There is a lot of 'extra' material on the front, presumably from the mold that the canopy is made in. Anyway, the plans have you practice cutting straight lines on that material as practice for the 'bit cut' that separates the front and back. Cutting across here also allowed the canopy to slide a little farther forward (it was interfering with the clecoes you see there).
Next I started trimming away the rest of the forward part of the canopy. The plans are gleefully vague in the area regarding trimming, so I'm pretty much following what others have done. The plans to seem to show the canopy without ANY of the horizontal area on the front so I trimmed almost all of it off. I'm 99.9% sure it all comes off, but I'm trying to be conservative here...a new canopy costs > $1000.00 plus $200+ shipping!
Oh yeah, the plans have you sand and smooth out all the cut areas of the canopy before moving it. I'm using some sandpaper wrapped around a 2x4.
Then I went over to a friend's apartment to help him with his Internet setup (aside: Linksys's products have gone to crap!). When I got back one side of the canopy was rather cold so I decided not to do any more cutting tonight but I did trace out the line where I'm going to trim to. I'm going to start by tring to trim off all the area on the front where the plexi tends to 'flatten' out. If you've built a canopied airplane before you know what the flat part is.