Front Windshield Prototyping

During the prototyping process, It's really easy to become reliant upon Solid Works and 3-D modeling capability. In this case these wings are slightly modified from the production wings and as such this will be a one off set of fairings. When you're building a one off  project the amount of work necessary to complete all of the 3-D modeling becomes impractical. but like with all of this design work the ability to be able to visualize in your head before you begin the process becomes invaluable. In this post will take a look at start to finish of our design prototyping and see where it takes us.

Before we can begin the process of fitting the front windshield to the aircraft, we need to build the prototype center section fairing that will gap the two wing halves to the fuselage boom. The center section has to be built up to be able to fit the  BRS parachute and between the framework of the upper wing box.

The center section fairing can be built slightly lower if no BRS parachute is going to be utilized. All of this is prototyping work and therefore  most of the effort will be put into designing the framework from which to build the production fairings.

during the prototyping it becomes useful to work with wood. This is a easily worked medium and  lends itself to modifications and quick assembly. We are designing the center section frame using would also with the intent of being able to build the center section fairing from lightweight plywood as the primary fairing medium.

we will refine the fairing but initially we are building it so that it simply provides a transition for the forward windshield. Fitting of the windshield will determine how the center section fairing is built. And the four windshield will determine how the center section fairing is built.

The first step in laying out the windshield is to manufacture a template from a piece of 1/8 inch mahogany door skin. These are relatively cheap, about $12 per sheet. The mahogany plywood is very easy to cut and trim and it also holds a nice splined shape as Plexiglas or Lexan will.

Once the plywood is initially cut to fit around the forward wing spar transition to we clamp it to the side of the fuselage frame then using duct tape wrapped the plywood to hold the shape similar to that of the windshield. then using a spray bottle with water spray the outside several times. This will allow the blood to expand and reform itself to the initial shape making it easier to work with.

It may take several applications of water to finally relieve the stress is built up inside the plywood. You don't have to get all of the stress out of the plywood which would be impossible anyway but rather make it a little easier to work and form.

more to come

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