Canopy Bonding

After making the Big Cut, it’s time to join the Canopy bubble to the frame. Typically for Van’s Aircraft models, the plexiglass is attached to the steel with screws and nuts. However I’m going to use SikaFlex to bond them together.

First step is to check if everything fits just fine. I cut a garden hose for making spacers between the frame and the bubble. This will prevent direct contact between the plexiglass and the steel.

The latch hole in the front is a nice way to align the two pieces, in the back we have to make sure we hit the center.

Now we apply a layer of fine tape, which will determine where we stick the glue and we use painters tape to prevent glue to spill over the plexiglass.

The frame gets the same treatment. After the painters tape we apply a second layer of fine tape. This will be removed after priming, because you don’t want the tape sticking to the glue.

After applying the SikaFlex Activator, we can start priming with the SikaFlex primer.This stuff is ‘eating’ into the plexiglass, so you shouldn’t touch parts other than those you want to glue. Also it dries while you are applying it. Checkout how much the plexiglass can bend.

Also the frame is primed. The Sikaflex glue only sticks to the primer.

The primer should dry for about 30 minutes, before you start glue it together.

I use the following products:
* Sika aktivator-205
* Sikaflex 209N (you can also use 209D, but 209N is newer)
* Sikaflex 295UV

SikaFlex comes in two colors, black or white. I choose to keep my Canopy white on the inside, so I use white SikaFlex 295UV.

Now we can place the frame into the bubble and clamp everything together. Again don’t forget the spacers.

You need a lot of (small) clamps to keep the plexiglass close to the steel, but everywhere evenly distanced.

The sides are also clamped to make it fit with the Canopy side skirts later.

Done, we used an entire canister of SikaFlex. We probably could have used less, but there is no reason to spare, because we cannot use the rest immediately.

While drying I tested the Canopy and I must say it looks great.

Meanwhile, I’m also working on installing the fuel system. Here’s a look at the fuel pump and filters in the forward fuselage.

Another task is deciding the paint colors and the interior (leather) color. I decided purchase the upholstery from Robert Lemke in Germany.

Time: 6 Hours, Rivets:  0/0  (2020-07-26)
Time: 4 Hours, Rivets:  0/0  (2020-07-31)
Time: 6 Hours, Rivets:  0/0  (2020-08-01)
Time: 4 Hours, Rivets:  0/0  (2020-08-02)
Time: 8 Hours, Rivets:  0/0  (2020-08-03)


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