Re: Windscreen Replacement

Brent Cameron

While $200 is definitely worth it and cutting and drilling acrylic sheet, perspex or plexiglas is a bit nerve wracking, it is quite easy to do yourself without special tools.  The secret is to go slow and use fine toothed blades with tape on the acrylic where you will run your saw so that you don’t scratch it.  

I had a $1200 4’x6’ plexiglass bubble canopy made for my homebuilt airplane and it was shipped to me as a WAY oversized bubble that I had to cut at least 6” off of each edge and drill about 100 holes in it so that I could rivet it to the frame.  I was completely panicked about cutting it myself as I had visions of it cracking or me screwing up and slipping and me cutting it on a wrong angle.  It took me about 2 weeks to work up the courage to cut it.  In the end, I just put down some wide masking tape (painter’s tape) to rest the jigsaw on (and drew my cutting line on it), set up a guide fence (a small wooden baton that I clamped at each end the right distance away from my line), and let her rip with my hand electric jigsaw with a fine toothed metal blade on it.  I went nice and slow and kept the jigsaw up tight against my ‘fence”.  The lines that came out looked like they were cut with a laser and a touch of 600 grit sandpaper rounded over the edges to make nice clean edges for the exposed edges.  

I also had a few parts with radical compound curves that I had to cut with a grinder disk and those were easy as well although getting a perfectly straight line was a bit more challenging as I had to use the grinder free hand so I went a bit wide of the line and then “sanded” back to the line with wet/dry sandpaper (started with 220 grit and went to 600 as I got to the line).  

Same for drilling…. Don’t run your drill at max speed, start with a small bit dead centre of where you want it and then go to your proper size next.  Don’t try to force the bit through… just let the bit drag the drill through slowly.  I put a backing block behind the plexiglass that I drilled into but later I found this wasn’t necessary as long as I went slowly.   I went really slowly at first but by about the 20th hole and my second cut, I had the confidence to work much faster and I had the whole canopy trimmed and fitted in about 3 hours. It came out perfectly and looked like it was moulded exactly the size and with the holes perfectly placed (much easier to do that with the holes in the frame already drilled.      

I wouldn’t think twice now about getting sheets of acrylic and cutting, drilling and countersinking them myself.  You can practice on a few scraps until you perfect your technique but if you can cut a sheet of plywood, you can cut this stuff.  


On Mar 27, 2021, 12:10 PM -0400, william reynolds <sail23692@...>, wrote:
I tried to replace my forward and side acrylic windows and was quoted $1400.00 US for the material and $600.00 to install them
I checked St Thomas and the 10mm acrylic price was $280.00 US  and $200.00 US to cut and drill them. I removed the old windows with my Fein Tool scraper blade.
They would have installed them for $240.00 US more.
Bill Reynolds
Cloudstreet SM2K 331

Brent Cameron

Future Amel Owner & Amel Owner Registry Moderator

Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada

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