Once the plexiglass bubble had cured to the canopy frame, Dad and I got busy filling in the gaps and preparing to add a fiberglass layup around the seam. When finished, the canopy should look like one organic unit, rather than two dissimilar parts joined together.
We broke out the West System epoxy, and mixed up several batches of flox filler until we got the consistency we wanted for spreading.
I went around the seam with the flox, filling in the gap between the plexi and the canopy frame.
Once the flox fillet had cured, we sanded over the area in preparation for the fiberglass layup.
Dad cut several 2.5-inch-wide strips of glass while I prepared the epoxy station to wet out the strips.
For the layups, we used the “Homemade Prepreg” method outlined by Mark Forss in his Hints for Homebuilders video segment. This process results in nice, neat strips of wetted glass that peel off the plastic backing like a sticker, ready to lay onto the workpiece. It also helps cut down on frayed edges that have to be trimmed or sanded away later.
We then applied two layers of the fiberglass strips around the edges of the bubble, being careful not to overlap our masking tape line and have edges we’d need to trim away.
The final result was a nice layer of fiberglass seam tape that effectively hides the joint between the plexi bubble and the canopy frame.
What followed next was, of course, days of filling and sanding, filling and sanding.
After the filling and sanding came – you guessed it – more filling and sanding. I have no idea how the Lancair guys do it, but the results sure can be pretty.
On to the priming!