Monday, October 31, 2011

Windshield Polishing

 It's been a very busy summer.  The only time I've had to work on the planes was a few minutes while the grandkids were visiting for July 4th.  They helped me install the cabin heat valve on the firewall.  The summer rush of work is over and I'm finally back making progress on the planes.  I needed to finish polishing the windshield and skylight glass so it can all be re-installed.  Aircraft Spruce and others have a large variety of polishes and restoration kits available.  I'm sure they work fine but I was looking for a local solution.  I also had a few small scratches to clean up.  These were deeper than would polish out so they were wet-sanded out with 360 grit followed by 600 grit and finished with 1000 grit paper.  This left a finish which easilly polished up.
At Advance Auto I found 2 fine polishing compounds. Blue Coral Scratch Remover and Meguirar's PlastX.  At Lowe's I found some Gator 4 1/2" polishing discs and a Black & Decker 6 in. polishing bonnet.  The polishing  discs are basically a piece of 1/4" felt.  My little orbital sander uses hook & loop (Velcro) sanding discs so the felt just sticks to the hooks on the face of the sander.  Over time the fibers in the felt pad pull lose and have to be trimmed, but it all lasted long enough to do all the pieces.  The polishing disc and Scratch Remover were used for the first polishing/cleaning.  A coarser polish would probably have worked fine.  I use pieces of old, well washed, flannel for wiping off the compound.  The flannel doesn't scratch the plastic.

For the final polishing I used the polishing bonnet and the PlastX. I worried that orbital sander would leave swirl marks, but it came out great.  Again the cleanup was done with the flannel.  The windshield and skylights are ready to install.