5.3.5 Install Windows in Doors

The first step for installing the windows is to cut the opening for those windows. Unlike the rear fuselage windows and the front windshield, the markings the factory makes on the doors is only a “suggestion”. The manual recommends that the builder extend the lines from the rear windows through the door and to the front. That’s easier said than done with a curved fuselage, so I decided just to use some string lines and a lot of measuring. You can see how I did that below. (The original factory markings are below the masking tape. If I had used those markings I would have cut into the strengthening beams the factory installs in the doors.) And just to make sure that what I had marked here works, I placed my 1000 watt work lights on the outside and then looked at my markings from the inside to see if everything lined up ok. In some cases I had to adjust the masking tape slightly to get everything to work.

Fuselage - Door Window Pre-Cut Markings

The door windows are supposed to line up with the rear fuselage windows. Here I'm using string lines to try to get that as close as possible.

The windows that get installed in the fuselage are fairly easy to fit. See Section 5.1.0. I can’t use the “popsicle stick” method for holding the windows in place while the epoxy cures, so I came up with the clamping method as shown below. Basically, I bought a bag of L-brackets at Home Depot, bolted them together back to back, then added some rubber bumper thingies like are used on cabinet doors to provide pressure. I screwed those to the stiffeners around the doors (the holes later got covered over with finishing epoxy). Other builders use other methods but this seemed to work for me.

Fuselage - Door Window Fitting

Using some homemade clamps to hold the window in place during the trimming process to get it to fit.

In order to get the window to lay flush with the outside, I needed to do a lot of grinding around the perimeter of the plexiglass. That means, of course, that the window needs to be trimmed oversize - small enough to fit into the area of the door for the window but large enough to fit into the actual window hole in the door! In the photo above you can see a black Sharpie marking around the perimeter. That’s the part of the window that gets epoxied and matches to the opposite side of the window that actually is visible.

Fuselage - Pilot Door Window

Using clamps and a weight to hold the window in place while the epoxy cures.

The window needs to be firmly locked into place while the epoxy cures. I’m using both the L-bracket clamps and one of my “weights” to hold it down. While I tried to get the original layer of Velocipoxy with Micro Balloons as smooth as possible, it didn’t really happen. Since I needed to fill the holes where the clamps were, I used that excuse to work on sanding out and filling with more epoxy to get this looking as nice as possible. None of this area gets covered so what you end up doing here is for all of the world to see.

I’m almost finished with one of the doors. Those photos will eventually show up below, along with the cover that hides the door latch mechanics.  Stay tuned!

ui© John Trautschold 2018