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Old 07-09-2004, 06:25 PM   #29
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Bend the stainless steel?

Would it be possible to just bend the stainless steel to the correct shape with the thought that it would force the lexan to the same shape? Is the lexan too springy for the stainless steel to conteract?

Malcolm
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Old 07-09-2004, 07:47 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malconium
Would it be possible to just bend the stainless steel to the correct shape with the thought that it would force the lexan to the same shape? Is the lexan too springy for the stainless steel to conteract?
I wouldn't say it is impossible, but the Lexan is definitely very strong stuff and really wants to retain it's (flat) shape. The 3-sided continuous stainless edge I have on my 17" kitchen window does bend it somewhat but not enough for proper closing. I don't know if these are the same as the ones sold by Inland RV since mine came with the trailer.
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Old 07-09-2004, 08:19 PM   #31
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Intrigued!

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Originally Posted by rluhr

That's why the third experiment -- to be conducted this weekend -- will involve a Thermador oven!

-- Rich
I am all over this thread waiting for those results. Is a Thermador a glass fusing oven type thing? Or is it a regular oven? Just curious.

I'm really looking forward to reading the results.

pf
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Old 07-09-2004, 08:24 PM   #32
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A thermador is a VERY nice oven. Actually it is very close to a commercial oven.

www.thermador.com
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Old 07-09-2004, 08:36 PM   #33
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Jeez, I've never made it past the Sears Outlet. Figures I wouldn't know that!
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Old 07-10-2004, 08:00 AM   #34
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Lexan, UMW, Plexiglass are all plastics that are used EVERYWHERE, each with their own use. Woodworkers are very familiar with them, how to glue them and how to cut and shape them. Many woodworking magazines, especially "Workshop" magazine, routinely have articles on how to use these, typically for shop jigs. From my experience with these I bet the oven trick works.

So, here's my question: Are you "slumping" it, by heating and letting gravity pull it down into a mold, or are you clamping it to shape and then heating? I too am very interested in your result!

John
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Old 07-10-2004, 09:12 AM   #35
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We're "slumping" it. We call it a "drape mold", where the mold is cut to the exact curvature of an actual window, a piece of Lexan is laid on top, and with heat and gravity the Lexan should adapt to the shape.

I'll post pictures of the mold soon. Gotta go out to the store and get a piece of sacrificial Lexan for the test later today.
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Old 07-10-2004, 12:42 PM   #36
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no idea if this will be of any help. found this on the web.
http://www.thermoforming.com/LexanTroubleShoot.htm


Here's another, seemingly unrelated, but possibly helpful site. This guy is making parts for his aquarium out of Lexan and is using a blowtorch to shape the pieces.

http://badmanstropicalfish.com/palud...ludarium3.html
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Old 07-11-2004, 01:51 PM   #37
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Experiment #3 -- Success!

OK, folks, first the good news: the oven experiment worked. See picture of the test piece next to a quickie mold I put together this morning.

The test was not perfect. Gravity alone was not enough to make the Lexan lay flat against the mold. It tended to "cup" on the underside along the perpendicular axis. Look closely at the picture of the finished piece and you'll see it is not evenly bent.

This problem will be rectified by putting a soft weight atop the Lexan as it is heated. I am thinking about a piece of paper topped by a 2-lb bean bag. In this experiment, I simply opened the oven and pressed down on the Lexan (with oven mits on!) for a few seconds to help it along.

Now the bad news: Doing this to make an actual window requires two things you may not have: (1) a real glass window to use as a template for the mold; (2) an oven big enough to fit it. My fairly large Thermador can only accomodate a 16x24" piece, which is not enough for even the smallest window in the late 60's era: 17x20.5"

Next step is to finish the "production mold" and start searching for a commercial oven I can use to make pieces in all three sizes needed: 17x20.5, 29x20.5, and 39x20.5.
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Old 07-11-2004, 02:05 PM   #38
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Exclamation Recipe for bent Lexan windows

Mise en place: You'll need three pieces of unfinished 3/4" thick wood, cut to 20.5" in length; one piece of 1/8 hardboard or smooth sanded plywood cut to 20.5" by either 17", 29" or 39" as needed for the window you intend to make. Also screws or nails, a marker, and a drill with countersink bit.

Prepare a wooden mold by scribing the three 3/4" pieces against an existing glass window. (See photo.) Cut the pieces with a jigsaw or bandsaw, and fasten together with cross members to form a frame.

Cover with the piece of 1/8" hardboard or plywood, bent to the curvature and fastened securely with flush screws or nails. Be certain the surface is smooth and not covered with anything that will burn below 400 degrees F.

Place a pre-cut piece of Lexan XL10 or equivalent polycarbonate sheeting with protective cover removed atop the mold and place in an oven. Cover with paper and a flexible weight (like a small sandbag). Bake at 350 degrees F for about five minutes. When the Lexan is nearly molded, you can open the oven briefly to press down on any remaining areas, with hands in oven mitts, without danger of leaving marks on the surface.

Let cool before serving.

CAUTIONS: Don't use any material in your mold, weights, or other items to go in the oven that might burn, outgas, or react to heat in a dangerous way. Do this at your own risk. I assume no responsibility for pain, suffering, damage, etc. you might incur as a result of this procedure.
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Old 07-11-2004, 02:31 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rluhr

Next step is to finish the "production mold" and start searching for a commercial oven I can use to make pieces in all three sizes needed: 17x20.5, 29x20.5, and 39x20.5.
Congratulations, very impressive!

When you get to your commercial oven, will you make curved windows and sell them?
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Old 07-11-2004, 05:13 PM   #40
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When you get to your commercial oven, will you make curved windows and sell them?
Sorry, no. I've already got a business to run. It would be a fair amount of work making them, taking orders and payments, packing them for shipment, etc.

Anyway, I don't want to compete with the reputable Airstream parts vendors who already serve this community. Perhaps one of them would be interested in selling curved plastic windows? Obviously there's a need!

The reason for posting this is simply for the benefit of the community. The problem of replacement windows for the late 60s models has plagued us for too long.

I hope a few people will be inspired to pick up where I left off. For example, we need to install one of these windows and make sure it closes right. That's going to take some work, since removing and reinstalling a window is not a quick job.

I will, however, make a few 17 and 29" windows just to perfect the technique, and for my own Caravel. If I find the right oven to do it -- and I've already got a pretty solid lead on one -- I'll make a few extras which might be available at rallies ...
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Old 07-11-2004, 09:34 PM   #41
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Well done! For weight I would use sand in a cotton pillow case, I think cotton can take the heat. Might need to buff out fabric grain impressions though. Hmmm, big enough oven....How about fire brick just stacked up with halogen lights doing the heating? Don't have to "buy" a commercial oven, just stacked up bricks. Jes' thinkin. Keep us informed of your work!

John
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:01 PM   #42
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make that

Quote:
Originally Posted by rluhr
Sorry, no. I've already got a business to run. It would be a fair amount of work making them, taking orders and payments, packing them for shipment, etc.

The reason for posting this is simply for the benefit of the community. The problem of replacement windows for the late 60s models has plagued us for too long.

I will, however, make a few 17 and 29" windows just to perfect the technique, and for my own Caravel. If I find the right oven to do it -- and I've already got a pretty solid lead on one -- I'll make a few extras which might be available at rallies ...
A rally in California!!

I understand. I still printed out your post and I'll bet I can get to a commercial oven around here too. Still, i'm very impressed! And it looks like it can be done with a blowtorch, which is my husband's preference of heat (besides charcoal briquettes)

i
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