Molding plastic canopies - RC Groups
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Sep 25, 2010, 03:07 PM
Crash it first, Then fly it
Griffindor's Avatar

Molding plastic canopies

I am planning on making a secret jet that I will post about later on, but I want to make a plastic canopy. How??
I would use those plastic clear trasnperancies that teachers use.
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Sep 26, 2010, 11:07 AM
Registered User
I had the same question some time ago and this was the link someone sent me to.

For some reason i had it in my head that building a vaccuform system would be hard but it was childs play almost.

Unless you are planning on really small canopies I doubt the overhead transparency sheets will work, too thin.

This is the canopy I made for my Super Corsair. Took 2 tries to get it decent. You need to practice quite a bit to get them really good.
Sep 26, 2010, 01:00 PM
Registered User
klausi0's Avatar
Another method to make canopies is to use PET bottles.
I made a plaster mold, put it into a 2L Cola bottle and tighten it with battens.
Then use a dryer to shrink the bottle.

You can also use balsa for the molds.
Last edited by klausi0; Sep 26, 2010 at 01:09 PM.
Sep 26, 2010, 01:14 PM
RC Adddict
Wilfor's Avatar
Looks like im going to have to start drinking pop
Sep 26, 2010, 01:26 PM
Crash it first, Then fly it
Griffindor's Avatar
yup. my dad is not drinking it nowadays because of his ''addiction''
Sep 28, 2010, 03:16 PM
springer's Avatar

two for one!

Griff: another idea for the pop bottle shrink canopies: You can make two at a time by making two molds, and stuffing them into the bottle, then shrinking it over them. relative to the general shrink method, You will probably have to go though a couple to get the idea, but it works very well once you get the hang of it!

In the pix, I was doing a P40 and a p51 canopy. The Warhawk one was made from pink foam (2" Owens Corning Foamular board) carved and sanded. The "frames" were just masking tape I was trying to see if I could get them to look like raised framing. That didn't work too well, as they are on the outside of curve and get washed out. The Mustang canopy was carved and sanded from a 2x4. Just goes to show that you can use almost any fairly stiff material for the forms. 'Course I only get one good canopy from the foam forms, as the heat starts shrinking the foam too. The wood ones work the best for me. Making a clay mold and casting a form sounds like a good idea too for a more permanent form.
Sep 29, 2010, 07:50 AM
It must have a machinegun
Scaledown's Avatar
I made a vacuum forming box and I've got a lot of use out of it, making cowlings as well as canopies.

I often use the clear plastic covers that are used for spiral bound reports. I had a bunch of A3 reports at work that I was throwing out, so I ripped the covers off them. The plastic is only about 0.25mm thick, so its only good for small canopies, say 4" max. I searched all the plastic suppliers in my city and eventually found some 0.5mm sheet which I use for bigger planes.

I only use balsa for plugs. Foam ones always melted. You need to get a super smooth finish on the plug because the slightest grain shows in the plastic. High-build automotive primer works well.
Sep 29, 2010, 08:12 AM
Registered User
just do it! that is good idea![img]/sig/31/smile.gif[/img]
Sep 29, 2010, 12:31 PM
derk's Avatar
you can get very large smooth 3 liter bottles at the dollar store
here is my old how-2 thread for making small canopies:

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