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4 Pop Bottles Later...

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Tim Ballinger17/02/2020 17:50:46
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746 forum posts
277 photos

Every account of making bespoke canopies out of pop bottles that I have read seems to make it all appear very simple. Until now I have always managed to go with designs that only had windscreens or for which there was a professional canopy available. This time I fancied changing the designers open cockpit windscreen for a full canopy.
So having kept Tim Hooper’s article from last years RCM&E special and reasoning his home made tool offered the best chance of avoiding burnt fingers I gave it a go.

Here is the tooling...

088b2bf5-8597-444b-903f-b17a218882de.jpeg

Now as you can see from the plug, I chose a canopy with quite sharp contour changes. I was however surprised at the power of the shrinking plastic. For My first attempt I tried pins to hold the plastic to the edge of the plate while pushing the plug into the heated plastic. No way the shrinking plastic just ripped off. For the 2nd attempt I used hard wood rails to hold the plastic to the 6mm thick ply plate. No way ,this time it pulled the screws out of the edge of the ply , annoyingly just before I was finished. For the 3rd attempt I attached hard wood rails to the ply plate for the outer rails to screw into. This time I nearly made it. Rails held but the edge of the plastic shrank all the way on to the end of the plug - not enough overlap but canopy is useable. 4th attempt - eureka. There’s more too it than just heating and pulling !

Last pic shows a better shot of the 4 th attempt dropped in place on the fus.

satisfying in the end.

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Peter Miller17/02/2020 18:20:10
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10717 forum posts
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10 articles

I always thought that the idea of using the pop bottles (Lemonade are the best as they do not normally have ribs on the bottle)

You wedge the pattern in the bottle through the bottom an wedge it up against one side and then hit it with the heat gun.

That way you do not have to clamp it down,

I have even made a big canopy using a gallon water bottle.

I only ever clamped plastic down when using flat sheet and a hole through a sheet of ply.

JohnP2517/02/2020 18:23:08
89 forum posts
3 photos

Tim,

Cold drink bottles come made in all sorts of thickness / stiffness. Which one did you end up using?

J

Tim Ballinger17/02/2020 18:48:50
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746 forum posts
277 photos

John,

Schweppes slimline lemonade or for those that buy their pop by plastic thickness - 0.3mm (12 thou).

Peter,

End result is my Oodallay now has a full canopy !

Next bit of experimentation for the Oodallay will be carbon fibre u/c . Why ? because I fancy giving it a try!

Tim

Tim Hooper17/02/2020 21:25:54
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2868 forum posts
2363 photos

Nice work Tim!

It should be noted that I didn't use a pop bottle as the basis for my canopy, but started with a flat sheet of acetate instead.

Tim (the other one)

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Tim Ballinger18/02/2020 09:09:13
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746 forum posts
277 photos

Thanks for the original article Tim. I was intending to use a flat sheet like you but thought I would practice on the pop bottle. Not sure why it had so much pulling power but since it produced a reasonable result in the end I never got to buying any flat sheet.

Cheers

Tim

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