Jun 13, 2001, 01:08 AM
Registered User

How to make cowling ?

Hi all, trying to get some advice how to make cowling for my plane. I made the mold out of plaster. That part looks good. I tried few tips such as heat up a sheet cut out of coke bottle and pull it over it. That didn't work. I bought plastic sheet that is little thinner then coke bottle and no luck there.
I know I have the option make it out of fiberglass but weight is concern. Any tips or ideas on how to make it work with the plastic and heath ? So far I ruined about 2 pounds of plastic which ended up in nice heath deformed chunks of plastic with few
holes in it I would actually like to buy it but Wattage said it is not available and won't be until end of July. I also know that I can fly without it (suggestion of hobby store that sells the plane) but I would rather have it on the plane to keep dirt out of the motor and gear box.
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Jun 13, 2001, 01:27 AM
Registered User
davidfee's Avatar
What kind of plastic are you using, and how are you heating it?

...And fiberglass doesn't have to be heavy, but a plastic cowl undoubtedly will take more abuse for the same weight in materials.

Jun 13, 2001, 01:37 AM
Registered User
Well I tried the coke bottle like
someone told me to try. Then I tried clear sheet plastic that hobby store sells to make canopy. I tried to heat the sheet holding it above kitchen stowe (ouch it's hot )and then I tried to use heat gun and work from the tip back. Is there better plastic for this purpose ? Or different way to heat it up ?

Originally posted by davidfee:
What kind of plastic are you using, and how are you heating it?

...And fiberglass doesn't have to be heavy, but a plastic cowl undoubtedly will take more abuse for the same weight in materials.


[This message has been edited by vicman (edited 06-13-2001).]
Jun 13, 2001, 01:45 AM
Registered User
davidfee's Avatar
Plain old acetate should work... but whatever they sold for making canopies is probably fine... coke bottle (2L) should work fine too. How are you heating it? I've used a heat gun, but it's hard to heat it enough that way without getting hot spots (and burns/holes). I think the best way is to put the plastic sheet in some sort of quick'n dirty wood frame, heat the plastic in the oven and then use the frame to pull the sheet over your mold. Unfortunately, I don't know what temperature you'll need 'cause that will depend on the type of plastic.

Good luck,
Jun 13, 2001, 01:50 AM
Registered User
thanks David
i thougt about the frame but since I wasted so much time trying to make it I wanted some advice first. The problem was when heating the sheet just above the stowe it would curl up on me and it was over. The frame would hold it straigt. And yes, with the heat gun
I burned holes all over.
Jun 13, 2001, 02:22 AM
Sloping off....
leccyflyer's Avatar
Dave's comment about the frame is correct- it keeps the plastic together and gives you something to pullor push on - if you dont want to make a frame you could use an old photo or picture frame and tack the plastic sheet to it.

I've had reasonable success with a simple canopy shape by just putting the plaster mould inside the coke bottle, supported on a block of wood so that the bottom edge is raised. Then clamp the open end of the coke bottle with a G clamp and set to with the heat gun.

True you will need to cut the poor little mould out of the shrivelled mess but coke bottles are readily available and with a bit of experimentation this can work well for simple shapes.



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