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Thread: Forming Plexiglas LE Landing Light Lens

  1. #11

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    I've successfully shaped acrylic as ahramin did, heat gun and heavy gloves. Didn't make a male mold just wrapped the floppy warm plastic around the underlying structure for shape. For a slow airplane one could just cold bend thin lexan (as sold in squares at Home Depot or Lowes etc) and screw it down over the hole. For a more elegant look on a faster plane, thicker acrylic. Mark's approach works well. Make a doubler to install inside, nut plates in the doubler, screw the heat shaped lens into the hole with spacers as needed to make it fit flush.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Meredith View Post
    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...
    You don't have to attach the lens to the leading edge, as you sussed out, you make a frame for it with nut plates.

    Here's how they did it for Cubs and other Pipers - make a false nose rib, and attach it to the spar the length of the light fixture away from a true rib. Rivet a half inch wide strip along both (.020 works great), and then tag another across top and bottom. You can cheat some strength in there by placing K1000 nut plates in the corners where each ear is on a different part, too. Also, cut two pieces of aluminum sheet that match the the airfoil of the nose rib and, after painting black, rivet to the sides of the ribs to keep the light out of the wings and going forward.

    The real stunt is making the measurements to cut out the light fixture hole in the leading edge material. One wants to be shy to the fixture, as it's always easier to cut more off of a hole.

    (I had to do this at work last month)
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  3. #13
    Mark Meredith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Annapolis, MD (Lee Airport, ANP)
    Mike, Frank,
    Thanks much! I may quarantine myself in my hangar and get this done.

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