30 Sept 04 - Cutting the plexiglas covers for the Landing Lights

Well, dad and mom are on vacation in Europe, so I've been having to conduct searches for a riveting buddy. At this point on the wings, I wind up having to turn the wing that I'm working on over quite a few times in the course of an evening. For lack of a good way to do this (i.e., not a nifty jig that it sits in) it's lots easier to have two people.

In any case, the riveting buddy for tonight was Nate Lewis, and I owe him a big thanks and maybe lunch, or something.

After trimming with the band saw.
After the corners have been ground off.
This was an weird thing I did which I'm about to ramble about. Keep reading below.

So how do cut plexiglass? As much as I've read about how the canopy of an RV (and other plexiglas parts) are pretty scary, I wasn't prepared for how easy this is. We cut it to shape using a bandsaw (a metal-cutting blade, for what that's worth. I think that is better because the teeth are smaller and there are more of them per inch), and smoothed out the corners using a grinder. (This idea - which seems crazy at first, but works well - comes from Dan Checkoway. Thanks Dan!) The whole thing can be smoothed out from that point using a file, or sandpaper, or whatever you want. It was not as scary as I have heard.

The grinder in the far right picture has a rag taped to the little shelf where you rest the piece of whatever that you're grinding. This is because if you don't do this, you can scratch the plexi while you're holding it to that part while grinding the corners. I figured this out after scratching one corner, but because the corners of these things are actually inside the wings, it will probably be okay.

Be sure to come back for the next episode, when we'll try to figure out how to drill holes in plexiglas!

This has nothing to do with plexiglas, but it's neat - a magnetic socket holder from Sears ($12). This is much better than chasing the sockets around drawers or fighting with the crummy little plastic holder they come in.

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