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Old Jun 04, 2012, 09:58 AM
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xrx1113's Avatar
United States, FL, Lehigh Acres
Joined Aug 2011
864 Posts
Help!
how to build out the plastic sailplane canopy

i know this must be in here somewhere but im not seeing it.

i am building an astrojeff sailplane and need to build out the canopy ie: frame it out and install the latches

can someone point me in the right direction .

thanks mark in fl
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Old Jun 04, 2012, 02:38 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
South Wales U.K.
Joined Mar 2003
13,779 Posts
I found an article on possibly the model you mean, it shows some pictures of a cockpit, but it's from a fairly old magazine -

http://airplanesandrockets.com/airpl...g-1974-aam.htm
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Old Jun 04, 2012, 02:47 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
South Wales U.K.
Joined Mar 2003
13,779 Posts
Actually, if you go to the Search, type Astro Jeff, and set it to Show Threads, it comes back with a list of 26 threads with Astro Jeff in their titles. So there should be someone around with all the info.
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Old Jun 04, 2012, 02:49 PM
B for Bruce
BMatthews's Avatar
The 'Wack, BC, Canada
Joined Oct 2002
11,622 Posts
The basic floor, front and rear frames are done by simply putting something over the model to use as a template. For the floor and end frames I'd suggest making them from 3/32 plywood and then cut away much of the internal plywood to form lightening holes. Using plywood will keep things stiff and avoid the typical handling dings. Note that these floor and frames will be cut undersize by just a little to allow for the thickness of the canopy material.

To assemble the framing lay some plastic food wrap or waxed paper in the fuselage opening and place the framing in with the edges bevel sanded as needed to fit. Masking tape will hold them tight to the edge of the fuselage but leave the glue lines exposed. If using epoxy use the sort which gives you the working time you need to secure the parts in place with tape or other means.

With the canopy itself still off it's time to add the forward locating pin and whatever latch system you desire. These days a lot of folks will suggest small supermagnets. That method is certainly a clean way to do it but it can often take a lot of hand pressure to get the power to break the bond. Myself I'm more a fan of using a small spring loaded latch for such things. Whatever you come up with, be it a commercial latch or home made, now is the time to install and test it before you cover up much of it with other detailing and the final canopy.

From there you can "floor" the plywood framing with something like thin balsa and build up as much scale like detailing and a pilot as you wish. Do plan on leaving a couple of holes for air to breath through. It gets hot under the canopy due to the greenhouse effect and an airtight area could see the glue joint to the shell split open from the pressure or the canopy collapsing inward due to the air inside cooling down.

If your fuselage is made from balsa and ply instead of the fiberglass one shown in the link above then you can avoid dings along the canopy frame area by facing the edges in 1/32 ply.
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Last edited by BMatthews; Jun 04, 2012 at 02:55 PM.
Old Jun 04, 2012, 03:48 PM
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United States, FL, Lehigh Acres
Joined Aug 2011
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thank you guys , Bruce that was really what i was looking for i have never built a canopy area before and don't want to screw it up.
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