Window replacement

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Okcpicker, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. Okcpicker
    Joined: Feb 2014
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    Okcpicker New Member

    I'm replacing the Lexan windows on my Santana 2023. The boat is no longer made and the builder doesn't supply that many replacement parts. Does anyone know of a plastics company that can take a templates and fabricate new lexan or acrylic windows, preferably for marine use?
    Thanks
     
  2. Westfield 11
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Westfield 11 Senior Member

    If you have access to a shop or tools you can cut your own from sheet lexan using the old window as a template. That is exactly what a plastic company would do for you. Just use a bandsaw or jig saw to cut, sand or file the edges and you're done.
     
  3. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    It's usually done by glass shops.
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The side lights on a Santana 2023 are lightly curved, but essentially flat pieces of smoked Lexan. These are very easy to make and can be "cold bent" to shape, once a paper template is made of their exact shape. Simply the remove light glass from the boat, lay paper over it (a roll of craft paper works good) and trace this shape to the paper. Lay the replacement Lexan over the paper tracing and transfer the marks. Cut to the line with a jig saw, file the edge to clean and smooth it up and reinstall.
     
  5. Okcpicker
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    Okcpicker New Member

    Thanks,
    jigsaw with a proper blade. I can do that. Thanks
     
  6. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    You may find a router will work better than a jigsaw. Certainly on acrylic (Plexiglas/Perspex) I even use a router in plunge mode to put holes in it. Way better than drills, less risk of cracking and splitting.
    Best clean up files, if you do jigsaw, are the aluminium files that auto body shops and others use. Bahco make a good one. Despite their rough looking appearance you get very nice faces, which require minimal clean up with wet and dry.
     
  7. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    I rarely find the existing windows good enough to use as templates so I will use them as a guide only to make a perfect routing template out of 1/4" Masonite, I use this to mark the cast acrylic or polycarbonate, i then cut it out close to the line on the bandsaw, but a good jigsaw with a plastics blade works fine too, I then flush rout it to the template with a spiral downcut bit, sand out any chatter marks with 180grit dry and then a final polish with 00 steel wool.I don't go the extra step of flame polishing because I don't want the super clear look and also according to the local acrylic company who make all sorts of products out of acrylic or polycarbonate it is one of the causes, along with solvents and window cleaners etc that speed up the inevitable internal crazing in acrylic.

    Steve.
     
  8. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Polishing scuff marks from clear 'plastic'

    Yeah - thats true. I have a Ute canopy with a crazed window after using an aggressive cleaner.

    Last time I wash my car - ever !!

    On the other hand, I have a whole lot of cheap clear plastic from secondhand windows. I dont know what it is made from, but I was hoping to be able to polish out some scuffing.

    Is there any recommended cleaner/polisher for the job that anyone knows of ?
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Use the stuff intended for restoring headlight lenses. 3M sells a good kit, with various papers to remove heavy scratches and also has a polishing pad and buffing pad, with some polish and a drill mounted velcro arbor.
     
  10. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    What Par said, You can remove scratches if they are not too deep by wet sanding starting with 180 or 220grit through to as fine as you like, you can get 3000 grit these days, then use the headlight lens stuff. One way to tell the difference between acrylic and polycarbonate is to drill a hole in a piece with a standard drill bit, if it drills through cleanly its poly, if it blows out the back as it exits and if your not holding it down hard and it climbs up the drill bit spiral its acrylic. You can buy special drill bits for acrylic, we have a business in town who make all kinds of products out of acrylic and they modify regular bits so I have them grind mine.

    Steve.
     
  11. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I've found once you get to 1,000 grit, you should switch to buffing and polishing pads. Again, 3M pads will make the job much easier and faster, of course done wet.
     
  12. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Mostly the Farecla range of cutting compounds will do for acrylic or polycarbonate. If you need to polish real glass, then Cerium Oxide is what you want, available from jewellry suppliers. It will work from 1200 and 1500 wet and dry to give a true gloss even if slowly.

    Manky plastic surfaces are relatively easy, it is the UV yellowing and deep crazing (again sometimes UV or solvent exposure) that are the problem, requiring replacement.
     
  13. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Thanks guys. It must be Poly, as I can drill it very easily. I wouldn't have thought about headlight kits - a great idea.

    I will try out some 500 grit today on a test bit, and see how it behaves.

    I will need to see if I can get 3m pads or equivalent locally.
     
  14. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    500 grit should be used on deep scratches. On lightly scuffed plastic you can jump from 400 to 800 to 1,000 grit and remove most everything. Then the polishing begins. On lightly molested plastic, you can usually start with 800.
     

  15. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    I agree, 1000 grit is fine enough. The headlights on my Passat are terrible, I buff them out at least once a year but it doesn't last, they are too far gone, I wish I could buy glass replacements but no luck so far.

    Steve.
     
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