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A while back I posted pictures of a clear cover I made for the Volant CAI. Several people expressed intrest in making one for themselves and asked for instructions. In this post I will list the steps I went through to make my cover.

First, get the material for the cover. Use 1/4 inch acrylic (Plexiglas) or polycarbonate (Lexan). The polycarbonate is best, it is much tougher than the acrylic. It also cost more. You can find either at a home improvement store such as Lowes or Home Depot. A 12" X 12" piece is large enough. The plastic has a protective film on it; leave this on.

First, lay the original cover on the plastic you purchased and draw around it, also marking the holes. (See photo)

Next cut out the new cover. Use a variable speed jigsaw with a coarse tooth blade. (See photo)

Drill the holes in the new cover. You have to be very carefull here. Start with a small drill bit, 1/8" is fine. Use a variable speed drill or drill press and drill the four holes. Step up the drill size a little at a time, 1/4" then 5/16" and then 3/8" (3/8" is the size of the holes in the original cover). It is very important to drill the holes this way. The drill bit will grab the plastic easily, and you could chip the edge of the hole or break the plastic. Also, when you drill the holes have a scrap of wood to back up the plastic, otherwise you could chip the hole as the bit goes through. When you drill the 3/8" hole go very slowly. Drill a small amount on one side of the cover then turn it over to finish the drilling. This will lessen the chance of chipping the cover. After you finish drilling the four holes use a countersink to break the edges of the holes. If you want to put the Volant emblem on the new cover drill two 1/16" holes for the screws. Use the original cover for a guide.

You are now ready to sand the edges of the cover. Follow the instructions on the picture.

After sanding, remove the protective covering before flame polishing. Flame polishing will give the edges a gloss, just like the surface of the new cover. Use a propane torch. Adjust the flame to a low setting, and carefully apply heat to the edge of the cover. Don't get the flame too close. Watch the edge and you can see when it turns glossy. If you overheat you will bubble the edge. If you have never done this, pratice on some scraps first.

Last, make a new gasket. I found some 1/8" black foam at a hobby store. I used the cover as a pattern to cut the outside of the gasket, then glued the foam to the Volant box. After the glue set I cut out the inside of the foam even with the opening in the box.

So, if you want to make your own clear cover, round up the materials and get busy. I made mine in about two hours.
 

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