VT-16 Orlik: Canopy frame

One of the things I like least is building the canopy frame and fitting the canopy. It’s a lot of work and so much can go wrong. The canopy frame is now done and ready to fit the canopy. The frame was built on the fuselage, as follows: 1) prepare the front pin, so that it can be epoxied straight into the frame (3mm steel, bent at the end); 2) carefully wax the fuselage on the area where the frame is built up – I use three coats of wax, slightly polished in-between; 3) apply thickened epoxy resin on the area where the frame is built up, let this cure a few hours; 4) prepare 10 carbon rovings (24K, 1600tex) for the full length of the canopy frame (around the entire frame) and soak with epox; 5) build the frame with the carbon rovings on the thickened epoxy (I apply two rovings at the same time) and let the epoxy cure again for a few hours (so that the rovings don’t “swim away” during the next step); 6) build up the rest of the frame using epoxy thickened with lots of micro balloons (and also a bit of colorant if you wish); 7) let the whole thing cure for 12 hours at least.

Important: after curing, but before releasing the frame from the fuselage, I drill the hole for the canopy lock. The canopy lock I made with a 1.5mm pin, soldered with a brass tube to a 1.5mm steel wire.

After this, it’s lots of sanding the frame to shape, then painting it, before glueing on the canopy. More on that later.