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Thread: Forming Plexiglas LE Landing Light Lens

  1. #1
    Mark Meredith's Avatar
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    Forming Plexiglas LE Landing Light Lens

    Hi All,
    I want to add a landing light to my aluminum wing leading edge. What's the best way to do it? I've thought about making a female mold (using fiberglass) over the LE to get the shape before cutting the opening.

    Would I then need to make a male mold from the female? It would obviously need to be reduced in size by the thickness of the plexiglas.

    Then I need to heat the plexi. Is it necessary to make a vacuum box, or can it just be heated and laid over the mold? What thickness plexi works best? How hot does it need to be for forming?

    Lots of questions, but I'm thinking lots of people have done this before. I searched for a past discussion or YouTube video but struck out.

    Tentatively planning to use the Flyleds 4 light landing/taxi kit.
    Thanks!

    Mark
    Super Chipmunk N7DW

  2. #2

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    Here's a thread from Vans Airforce:

    https://www.ajc.com/news/puppies-roa...6Dt2qeIootd4L/

    Sounds like you need a male mold and an oven.

  3. #3

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    I made a male mold from wood and coated it with bondo and sanded it for smoothness, then heated an oversized thick plexiglass peice with a heat gun and pulled it into place wearing work gloves. Once it cooled I then cut it down to size. If I remember correctly it worked perfectly on the first try and was quite easy. Probably would have been easier and better with a thinner peice.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Boatright View Post
    Here's a thread from Vans Airforce:

    https://www.ajc.com/news/puppies-roa...6Dt2qeIootd4L/

    Sounds like you need a male mold and an oven.
    Puppies?

  5. #5
    Mark Meredith's Avatar
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    Thanks Kyle! It looks like you posted the wrong link though. ��
    I'll check VAF.

  6. #6

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    Let me try the link again. No puppies this time, though I did enjoy the puppy video...

    http://www.vansairforce.com/communit...p?t-74560.html

  7. #7

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    You might try Lexan (polycarbonate). The thin stuff, .030" , is very flexible and easier to cut and drill than plex. No molds, no oven needed. You can buy it locally or order it from companies like eplastics.com

  8. #8
    Mark Meredith's Avatar
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    Kyle, I found the VAF thread, thanks. One poster said there's a section in Tony Bengelis' book about it. I may have it somewhere so will hunt.

  9. #9
    Mark Meredith's Avatar
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    Tralika,
    So you just hand bend and screw it down? I may try that too.

  10. #10
    Mark Meredith's Avatar
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    Some of the discussion on VAF was about cutting a flange so the lens can fit flush, apparently inserted from behind. How is then lens then attached to the LE?

    I had figured I would just make an aluminum frame, with a spacer so the 1/8 lens will fit flush with the .032 skin. Flush rivet it around the circumference of the LE cutout. Nutplates behind the frame. Then screw down the lens to the frame. Not an especially clean result though...

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