Do You Vacu-form Your Own Canopies?

Discussion in 'Questions on Kits, Decals, Tools and Pilots' started by dirkpitt289, May 6, 2010.

  1. dirkpitt289

    dirkpitt289 Active Member

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    Does anyone here vacu-form your own canopies? I hear a lot about it and even seen some people build their own. Well yesterday I bought one of these off evilBay.

    [​IMG]

    I have a magazine about detaining aircraft and the author talked about this very machine to make canopies. It was a toy from the 60's and made by Mattel. The price was fair I guess and judging by the activity on others If I choose to scrap the idea I can resell it on FeeBay myself. The thing is I've never done it and doubt it will have the instructions.

    The questions I have right now is what kind of plastic would you use to make the canopies?
     
  2. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I haven't made vac-form canopies, as vac-forming machines, although relatively simple, are fairly expensive in the UK - for domestic use anyway. But I have often made canopies by heat forming, which is a similar process, only without the vacuum frame. I just use clear plastic sheet, available from model shops, alongside the normal white styrene sheet, and is in various gauges. I also save suitable sizes of clear sheet from packaging materials, given that it's not too thin. The thicknesses used vary, depending on the size, and scale, of the canopy, but are generally around the 0.5mm to 0.75mm gauge.
    Remember though, that where the canopy or part forms, it will get thinner, especially at the extremes, for example, on the very top, and at the curving edges, of a Typhoon canopy. therefore, it's a good idea to use a thickness which will cope with the forming without pulling too thin and going 'floppy'!
     
  3. hawkeye2an

    hawkeye2an Active Member

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    I have used a Matel vacuform for many years with great results. Kit canopies are way too thick to represent an open look. I have also built my own vac machine for scratchbuild projects. It is fairly easy and not too expensive. I'll post a few pics soon. Check out E-Bay for sheet plastic clear and colored, pre-cut and drilled, fairly reasonably priced too ! Also, there is a website that sells sheets and refurbishing supplies for the Matel unit:

    VAC-U-FORM.com
     
  4. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    Nice one Hawkeye! I'd be interested in building a vac-form machine, so look forward to the info.
     
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