After finishing most of the skinning I figured fitting the canopy was a good next step. I'd purchased the standard canopy from Sequoia but I changed my mind.. that and a really bad mover that stuffed my frame meant that I was faced with either a) buy a new one or b) make the damned frame myself. I tried to find someone to bend it for me.. in short (and its a really long story !) they stuffed it up. I was flying with a chap one day who convinced me I could do it. I worried like hell but one day I got brave and gave it a go. The result.. a VERY satisfying job. Its all in the preparation and just takes a little patience. Other than that I would say it is well worth considering doing it yourself.
Here's my bending jig. I glued several pieces of plywood together then cut the shape and routed a grove with the same diameter of the tube to be bent.The jig with a piece of tube in it. I packed the tube with silica sand. Just gently pull it around the curve while checking alignment with a line in the floor. I used a rocking motion and found its quite easy to feel it 'give' slightly so you can move the tube a little and keep going.
Checking the tube against a pattern. Don't forget to mark the middle or you get lost !! This needs a few tweaks here and there but looks quite good so far I think.
Here is the frame after I welded it together.
The rear roller support and latch support still need to be attached but its looking like it should.
I confess to dreading this.. all the things I've heard about the acrylic cracking has me worried to say the least. So far so good though. Firstly I trimmed the front with a small cut-off disk in a drill snake extension.. worked OK.. then drilled the holes (1x3/16 plastic drill then 1x1.5mm then 1x2.5mm in the steel) followed by screwing in #4 self tapping screws with 1.5mm plywood strips between the bubble and frame to simulate the "P" strip.
The canopy skirt 1/2 done. Made from glass and carbon.
Needs a bit more shaping and reinforcing along the back.
The windshield also 1/2 done. All the aluminium trim needs doing plus I need to complete in front of the glaresheild to finally fit the windshield. The size of the thing seems to have doubled !!
I changed my mind about the skirt shape and made a new one. It was made by making a plywood base and hotgluing it to the frame.
Then I covered the bubble with packaging tape so nothing would stick to it then covered the plywood with fiberglass. I like this shape a lot more.
I guess I shouldn't have tried to change it!!
28 Dec 2002