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Thread: Plexiglass, where to buy?

  1. #1
    supercub's Avatar
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    Plexiglass, where to buy?

    Getting ready to install windows. Need a sheet of plexiglass, I'll do the cutting. Trouble is, buying a sheet from one of the aircraft supply stores costs a fortune to ship. Any suggestions on where to buy? Thanks

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    RatCub Redux FrankO's Avatar
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    I believe a glass store or home improvement store might have a variety of plexiglass at reasonable prices


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    CAC in Wasilla
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    Extruded acrylic is about a quarter the price, and otherwise the same material. If you use it, be sure to get the stuff that resists UV. I used .080 on the J3.
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    WWhunter's Avatar
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    I got several sheets on clearance for cheap at Home Depot. They had little piece of the corner broken off. You could do several SC's and have plenty left over.

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    DW's Avatar
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    Plexiglass will shatter and can cause serious injury also I've seen it flex and brake out causing a cut in the fabric and dent in the wing strut. Personally I would use lexan

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    Find a local plastics dealer. Depending where you are a glass shop may also have it.

    Lexan is polycarbonate. Very susceptible to scratching. Very impact resistant. Doesn't do well with fuel contact.

    Plex is acrylic. Less resistant to impact damage but better resistance to surface scratching.

    I used acrylic.
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    If you are anywhere near Boston I can give you the name of a good source in Dorchester.
    N1PA

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    DW's Avatar
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    stewartb is right lexan does scratch but I've not had a problem with it. The problem with acrylic is when it breaks it has sharp edges everywhere so I wouldn't go thinner then 1/8" and you shouldn't have a problem. Everything is a tradeoff.

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    supercub's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. Found a local source about 30 miles away.

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    I’ve had pretty good luck with Great Lakes Aero.
    their web site is pretty straight forward, windows cut to size, lots of options with tints, thickness, price etc.
    Also shipped with supporting paperwork for cert AC if needed.

    Maybe inquire about shipping cost and compare before you go the DIY route.

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    algonquin's Avatar
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    Lexan is not approved in airplane windows to the best of my knowledge, very well could be wrong, I don’t have a ref. The reason being you can’t break out a Lexan window in the event of a crash and trying to get out. That’s all I know so take it or leave it.

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    Try to buy from a glass shop or plastic supplier. The trademark acrylic is not as brittle as the cheaper acrylic sold in big box and hardwear stores. And once you get it cut to the size you want lightly sanding a chamfer on the edge before installing will make it twice as hard to break

    Glenn
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver2 View Post
    Try to buy from a glass shop or plastic supplier. The trademark acrylic is not as brittle as the cheaper acrylic sold in big box and hardwear stores. And once you get it cut to the size you want lightly sanding a chamfer on the edge before installing will make it twice as hard to break

    Glenn
    Sand enough so that there are no scratches. A small scratch where there is a bending load can cause it to crack and break. Just like a small nick in an aluminum propeller can cause a blade to break off due to stress concentrations at the notch.. A fine file in one direction along the edge works. Dragging a razor blade along the edge also works. Use a unibit for drilling holes. Make the holes slightly oversize to eliminate stress concentrations. A drill can catch causing nicks, sharp edges or can even break the acrylic during the drilling.
    N1PA
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    wireweinie's Avatar
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    Amen for what Skywagon calls out. The cleaner the edges and holes, the less prone to cracking. Use paste wax or Boe lube type products when drilling and cutting as it reduces heat which gives you a better/smoother cut surface. I like to work the edges all the way down to 'optically clear'. If you have access to a buffing wheel, buff the edges as clean as you can get them. Oversize the holes and make sure to use nylon washers under the screw heads anywhere they directly contact the plex. Everyone has a pet way of drilling holes. Mine is to spot drill the hole with a #40 drill, pack the hole with paste wax, then drill to size with a stepdrill (unibit).

    And always remember to slow down your drill speeds and blade speeds.

    Web
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    Drill? Pass. Use a small soft copper tube and sharpen the edges. Heat with a torch and melt the holes. You can do several before the heat gets to where you hold the tube. No cracks. Ever.
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    DW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Drill? Pass. Use a small soft copper tube and sharpen the edges. Heat with a torch and melt the holes. You can do several before the heat gets to where you hold the tube. No cracks. Ever.
    Interesting I will need to give that a try.

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    Mike taught me that. He also has a tube with castle cuts in the end that he heats and spins with a drill. I prefer the copper tube myself.

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    www.SkupTech.com mike mcs repair's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stewartb View Post
    Drill? Pass. Use a small soft copper tube and sharpen the edges. Heat with a torch and melt the holes. You can do several before the heat gets to where you hold the tube. No cracks. Ever.
    Old way. I found a better method from a member here... wood burner with a tube tip. Slick. Works great for fabric too. Not at shop. Will post picture. Actually pictures in the cool tools thread


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  20. #20
    RaisedByWolves's Avatar
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    You can save your old broken drill bits and heat them and melt the holes too. Works good if you’re going through a nut plate from the back side. Then unibit the hole one size bigger


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