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Building Integrity
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Date:  1-31-2018
Number of Hours:  2.00
Manual Reference:  ch 24
Brief Description:  A new lens for the landing light

For a long time, I've been flying with a landing light lens that was cracking due to using the wrong drill bits when drilling the screw holes. I knew it would be difficult to make a new one, contoured to the nose without the fuselage being upside down. Gravity is a friend here for this job.
First off, I needed a perfectly shaped nose to get the plexi to match. I used the current lense with Z-Grip on top, contoured to shape, as a mold. the last time I made a lens I pre-heated the entire sheet of plexi in the oven, and then draped it over the nose. The problem was that the oven temp was very innacurate, and it began to bubble up the plexi. To avoid this, I opted for a heat gun this time around. This method took more time and diligence to avoid creating a hot spot, but it went surprisingly well. Before heating up the plexi sheet, I stretched some plastic over the nose for a smooth surface to keep the plexiglass from getting deformed by any odd surface imperfections on the nose. I then placed the sheet of plexi over the nose and began heating it up with the heat gun as evenly as I could. After about 15 minutes the plexi was beginning to take on the shape of the nose. As soon as all 4 corners were laying down flush, I pulled the heat off and let her cool in that shape. Then with a sharpie, drew the cut line to match the recessed area. A dremel was used to roughy cut the lens, then sanding the edges with 80 and 180 grit for a perfect fit. Then came the nervous task of drilling the screw holes. This time I used a small pilot drill bit, then a step drill bit to open her up. This worked perfectly. Finally, I slowly ran a countersink to allow for the finishing washers. I must say, I assumed this would take 2 tries, but she finished very nicely.
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plastic over old lens shaped

plastic over old lens shaped

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shaping the plexi with heat

shaping the plexi with heat

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New lens cut to fit

New lens cut to fit

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