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  #11  
Old 03-19-2011
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Those wndows are quite large!

Any frame you have to have made custom will be very expensive.

Lexan will not last nearly as long as plexiglass.
It will craze after a few years.

The best inxpensive solution is plexiglass bolted on the outside with a good overlap, 1 1/2" all around maybe. Plexiglass can be as strong as lexan, it just has to be thicker.

Smoked plexi in 3/8" to 1/2" thickness should be very durable. long lasting, and as strong as the cabin side is.

The best adhesive is Dow 795 05 Dow 739.
Holes should be larger than the bolt size to allow for expansion from heat.
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2011
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It is really good that you are doing something about those windows. A Downeaster 38 sunk about 15 years ago when a wave took out those windows.

My dad circumnavigated on A Downeaster 38, and had a wave take out a window as well.

He did something to reinforce them and he was satisfied with the results. I will ask him.

Please stand by.
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Old 03-19-2011
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Our pilothouse windows are recessed into the wall and then held in with a SS ring which is screwed to the wall and into a heavy teak trim ring on the inside. They are made from 1/2" polycarbonate (Lexan). The boat has made two trips from the PNW to the So. Pac. and through a lot of heavy weather with no problems. It looks like you have enough solid fg wall thickness to router out a recess and do something similar. Here are a couple of pics. PM me if you need more details/photos. DC 795 is the stuff to use (thanks Faster).





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Last edited by Faster; 03-19-2011 at 10:56 AM. Reason: changed '3M' to "Dow Corning"
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Old 03-19-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Lexan will not last nearly as long as plexiglass.
It will craze after a few years.

The best inxpensive solution is plexiglass bolted on the outside with a good overlap, 1 1/2" all around maybe. Plexiglass can be as strong as lexan, it just has to be thicker.
I was using "Lexan" (a brand name) as shorthand for clear polycarbonate. I believe that there are UV resistant brands of polycarbonate that are about as resistant to the crazing you mention as clear acrylic (Plexiglass; another brand name). However, polycarbonate tends to be a bit more flexible than acrylic, which is one reason it resists impacts so well. That flexibility may make it difficult to keep it properly sealed. So, now that I think about it a bit more, acrylic (Plexiglass) may be a better alternative than polycarbonate (Lexan), you would just have to make it a bit thicker than polycarbonate to get the same strength.
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Old 03-19-2011
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Polycarbonate and acrylic both come in quite a range of materials. There are UV resistant grades of both, and scratch-resistant grades of both. And what you find at the local hardware store or glazier is likely to simply be "the cheap stuff".

Both are also damaged by exposure to petrochemicals, so common detergents, solvents, and "waxes" with a solvent base will cause them to yellow and craze. Improper mounting will make them craze. When chosen and used properly...

Lexan is used for architectural glazing like courtyard roof panels that manage not to degrade for decades. The devil is in the details!

Acrylic may be strong enough, but you'll need it to be roughly 10x thicker to match the strength of polycarbonate. That may be reasonable--but it may also be damned heavy.

Horses for courses and all that good stuff. Just don't try using a zebra for bullfighting. :-)
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Old 03-19-2011
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There isn't that much difference in strength between acrylic and polycarbonate.

Acrylic (Plexiglass) is 10 to 24 x stronger than float glass.

Polycarbonate (Lexan) is 30 x stronger than float glass. In other words best case 300% stronger than acrylic and worst case 125% stronger than acrylic.

Here is a comparison. Polycarbonate / Lexan compared to Acrylic / Plexiglas

In a reasonable thickness either will probably be as strong as what they are attached to - the cabin side. It makes no great sense for them to be stronger that the surface they are attached to.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 03-19-2011 at 09:18 PM. Reason: add
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Old 03-20-2011
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more window questions

Thought I'd ask a few more questions here as this thread has already been quite helpful

Replacing the side fixed ports on our Bene first 345. The windows we're replacing are a sandwich that goes Aluminimum outisde frame - plexi - some tape that was sticky on one side but easy to remove - boat fiber glass inner seal and inner aluminum frame - All compressed together with aluminum post bindings.

My questions are: Should we drill the plexi holes a bit ovesize to avoid stress as the plexi expands and can we then simply use a bit of silicone around the aluminum posts? And how can I tell if the tape was the Butyl tape that I've seen discussed.
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  #18  
Old 03-20-2011
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Yes, the holes should be oversize. Maybe 1 1/2 times bolt diameter.

The tape is not the butyl we have been talking about. Probably just there to stop the sealant from running out the edges, Butyl is a plasticene type of sealant.
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Old 03-21-2011
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I very much appreciate everyones response and thoughts on the issue.

The big trade-off seems to be between having the large windows and natural light, vs. going smaller and gaining ventilation.

For those who have cruised in the tropics, which would you appreciate more: the ventilation of a few more small opening ports or the view/light afforded by the large windows?

If I were to keep the big ones, I like the idea of thru-bolting some lexan or plexiglass. If you notice the pictures, I have removed all of the old vinyl/foam backed healiner on the inside and have bare fiberglass exposed for now. I eventually plan on covering the walls with hard panels, possibly plywood glued to the side walls where the windows are and panels screwed onto firring strips for the overhead areas.

I guess if I bolt on some glass, I'd need to create some sort of trim ring for the inside, and possibly one for the outside as well. I have a good hook up for stainless or aluminium, so I could maybe do something like what jrd22 posted without much trouble. I honestly think the fact that I would need to make trim/frames for the windows is what scares me the most, though I don't know why.
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Last edited by Beersmith; 03-21-2011 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 03-21-2011
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Large windows

Take a look at the messages on the Freeport Owners group(FOGgers) on yahoo. We also have large salon windows. There are many posts discussing the windows. There's a common rebuild method in which a rebate, recessed seat, is created to strengthen the structure. Many of us who sail offshore have "storm shutters" which we install over the exterior when offshore.
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