Thursday, September 9, 2010


After Jessie had the window frames picked as clean as possible we brushed on some strong paint stripper to remove the really stubborn deposits. A medium scotch-pad  was used with a little water to scour off the last of the sealant after the stripper had gone to work on the frame.
Jerry from Perception Plastics stopped by to have a look and gave me some tips on making templates for the windows. "don't use corrugated cardboard as it makes a frilly edge that cant be followed precisely when cutting out the material,  use poster board or something like it". I had some thin sheets of stiff foam that is used for building radio controlled model aircraft that was a good material for the job so Jared and I set about making templates.
Once the templates were done and on their way to the fabrication shop we continued getting the frames ready.
They were sanded to bright metal, wiped with awlprep and primed. Two coats of Pettit semigloss Easy-poxy was sprayed on as a finish.
 A few days later Jerry delivered the finished, 3/8" thick, acrylic panes for the windows. They were cut out precisely and were a perfect fit. I wanted a light tint to help keep out some of the UV rays and keep the cabin cooler. The acrylic only came in clear or bronze and the bronze was too dark for maintaining good visibility at night so we decided to tint them ourselves. We bought a light tint from the local Napa store, cleared the lunchroom table and got to it. The literature on the box stated that the tint wold block out 50% of the UV rays. That seemed like a happy compromise, a nice light tint that would block half the UV rays but still enable us to have good visibility out the window at night.
I rough cut the tint to be a little bigger than the window panes while Jared mixed up a batch of soapy water in a spray bottle. We misted the pane with the soapy solution then applied the tint and used a plastic squeegee to chase out air bubbles and smooth it down. The edges were trimmed with a razor blade and the panes set aside to dry. 
Once dry the windows and frames were assembled without sealant to ensure everything was ok. The panes and the adjacent cabin sides were masked off to make cleaning up the caulking a little easier.  3M UV4000 sealant was used for the final assembly as it will not damage the plastic. After assembly we waited about fifteen or twenty minutes for the sealant to start to gel and then used a West Systems plastic mixing stick to remove the excess sealant. The Mixing stick has a fairly sharp edge that removes the sealant easily but wont scratch the acrylic or painted cabin side and the gelled sealant lifts right off without smearing.

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