Cockpit questions

Discussion in 'Aircraft & Aviation' started by Wily, May 27, 2007.

  1. Wily

    Wily Member

    I'm fortunate to be building an upcoming release from Emil Zarkov.

    So far the kit is coming together with expected precision.

    However, the cockpit is a large tear-drop type cockpit. Two versions are provided:

    Cockpit version 1: A "solid" piece of paper with slim curve-cuts that facilitate bending/curving.

    Cockpit version 2: A frame where the builder can add their own version of plexiglas.

    I'm interested in forming a bubble canopy using clear plastic to accomodate the frame in version 2.


    A. Can I reheat the plastic on common "blister pack" packaging and mold it to my use?

    B. What is the best material to make a cockpit mold?

    C. Any other ideas?

    Thank you! :)
  2. wunwinglow

    wunwinglow Active Member

    Wily, yes, probably any blister pack that has been vac-formed can be re-used. If you can pin or bulldog-clip the plactic sheet to a wooden frame, put it under a cooker grill for a few seconds (watch it like a hawk! Don't answer the phone, the doorbell, the dog barking ANYTHING, otherwise you will get a visit from the fire department....) and as it softens it will likely flatten out and return to its original form, more or less.

    To form a canopy, you need a former the right shape. This can be carved in wood, epoxy putty, (Milliput is very good) metal even, provided you end up with the shape you want with a pretty good polished finish. It will also need to withstand some heat, so make sure any paints or polishes you use are OK. Wax polishes will blister up, for example.

    Then cut a sheet of plywood as big as your sheet of plastic, and in the middle cut a hole that is JUST bigger than your canopy mould. Pin the plastic to the plywood, put it back under the grill until the plastic softens, then quickly pull out the plywood and rest one edge on something sturdy, and gently but firmly push the mould through the hole in the plywood, taking the plastic sheet with it. Hold for a few seconds to cool, then pop out the mould, trim off the surplus plastic.

    You might need a few practise goes until you get the timing for heating the plastic right. But this is quick and cheap.

    Alternatively, look in yellow pages for a vacforming company near you and ask if they will do a few pulls over your mould.

    I can do some illustrations of this process if you need them.

  3. cmdrted

    cmdrted Active Member

    Best Material for a canopy mold is sculpey clay. Easily formable, bakes quickly, sands easily and withstands the vigors of vacuforming. There are threadfs on vacuforming, heat forming, heat and smash all on this site, good luck!
  4. Wily

    Wily Member

    Thank You!!
  5. This is what I did last time:
    Print an extra cockpit, build the cockpit inside-out
    Fill it with 2-component car-filler, it dries in minutes, sand it till all the flaws are gone
    Then I used the stuff RC-guys use to pack bateries with,(bought it online) it shrinks when heated with a hair-dryer, Worked pretty good, and you don't need to vacume form it..
    Cheers, Billy
    BTW, nice Blog!
  6. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    Do you have the link where I could get this stuff? Name? Anything?
  7. Alcides

    Alcides Member

    I second on that.
  8. If you type "shrink sleeve" in "search" it's on 4th or the 5th page, it's tube shaped and very inexpensive...
    There must be an American equivilant for this.. RadioShack ?

    Cheers, Billy
  9. shoki2000

    shoki2000 Active Member

    Looks like the larger diameters are available only in Europe....
    No matter, they can ship it to me :grin:

    Thanks Billy for the info.
  10. sr5nm

    sr5nm Member

    It's just called heat-shrink tubing in the US. It is available at most any hobby shop that deals in R/C cars or at places like FRY's Electronics that have batteries. It is available in many colors and is typically rubbery. The clear is plasticy and shrinks up to 1/2 its original diameter.

    I'm pretty sure that the hobby shops carry it in 2 1/2 inch and 3 inch sizes and sell it by the foot.

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