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Date:  6-9-2009
Number of Hours:  1.90
Manual Reference:  
Brief Description:  Started cutting the canopy

Tonight I started the dreaded job of cutting the canopy to fit the canopy frame. This, along with the fuel tanks, seem to get the most gripes from builders. I can see why. You cut the canopy with a whiz wheel (die grinder with a thin abrasive wheel cutter). It kicks up tiny particles of heated plexiglass dust, about the size of sand particles. The plexi-dust gets everywhere. When it lands on your leg, it burns a little since it is so hot. On top of all that, you are extremely worried that the canopy will crack at any time. Stories of cracked canopies are legend. Oh, and by the way, if you crack one, it cost a cool thousand dollars. In order to reduce the chance of the plexi cracking, you have to keep your shop over 70 degrees (80 is even better). Also, you should not try to pick up the canopy by yourself. That could impart a twist to the canopy and crack it. Better to have a helper when lifting the canopy. I only made the first cut, to take the flat flange off of the canopy. That alone took over 1.5 hours. Since I am going to have to fit the canopy to the forward fuselage, I clecoed that skin on and then had to trim a little of the aft portion of the skin so that the canopy frame would close without scraping the skin.
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Cutting the canopy with the whiz wheel

Cutting the canopy with the whiz wheel

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Canopy sans the flange it came from the factory with

Canopy sans the flange it came from the factory with

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