Creating a curved boat window from acrylic involves a few steps. Here’s a general guide to help you get started:
- Measurements and Design: Take accurate measurements of the area where you want to install the curved window. Consider the curvature, dimensions, and shape of the window. It’s helpful to create a template on paper or cardboard to visualise the design and ensure it fits properly.
- Acrylic Selection: Choose the right type of acrylic for your boat window. Opt for marine-grade or UV-resistant acrylic that can withstand exposure to the elements and provide good visibility. Consider the thickness of the acrylic based on the window size and the structural requirements.
- Acrylic Sheet Preparation: Purchase an acrylic sheet that is larger than your required size to allow for trimming and shaping. Ensure the sheet is clean and free from any scratches or defects.
- Heating and Bending: Bending acrylic requires the use of heat. Begin by heating the acrylic sheet evenly to make it more pliable. You can use a heat gun or a heating strip designed specifically for bending acrylic. Be cautious not to overheat or scorch the material.Gradually apply heat along the section of the sheet that needs to be curved, moving the heat source back and forth to distribute the heat evenly. Pay attention to the recommended temperature range for bending acrylic provided by the manufacturer.
- Shaping the Acrylic: Once the acrylic is heated to the appropriate temperature, carefully and evenly bend it to match the desired curvature. This can be done by placing the heated acrylic sheet over a pre-made form or mold with the desired curvature and gently pressing it down. Use clamps or weights to hold the acrylic in place until it cools and retains its shape.
- Trimming and Finishing: After the curved acrylic has cooled and solidified in the desired shape, you can trim it to the final dimensions using a fine-toothed saw or a router with an acrylic-cutting bit. Take your time to achieve clean and precise cuts.
- Polishing and Installing: Smooth any rough edges or surfaces with fine-grit sandpaper, progressing to a higher grit for a polished finish. Clean the acrylic thoroughly to remove any debris or dust. Finally, install the curved acrylic window using appropriate marine-grade adhesive or fastening methods recommended for your boat’s window frames.
Remember, working with acrylic requires precision and patience. It’s advisable to practice on scrap pieces before attempting the final curved window to ensure you are comfortable with the process. Additionally, if you’re not confident in your ability to complete this task, consider Hampshire Plastics for assistance.
Check out this fantastic video from the guys at ‘Florida Sportsman’ called ‘How to Remove, Build and Install a New Curved Boat Windshield’
Looking for someone to help you make a curved window?
Hampshire Plastics have over 50 years in the industry and create hundreds of complex curved boat window designs each season. We’d love to work with you on getting your boat back on the water and ship shape again.