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Cutting down a windshield

RELATED TOPICS: WINDSHIELD
Q: What's the best way to cut down a clear plastic curved windshield after you've chopped a top? I tried once, but destroyed the "glass" by scratching and finally cracking it. The windowless model is now back in the box, and I'm too gunshy to try it again.

- Stuart Price
via E-mail

Ken: Just about every windshield is different, Stuart, but let's assume for now that you did your homework when you were chopping the top, and the rest of the windshield fits snugly around the corners - it's just too long at the bottom to fit the opening.

If that's the case, hold the windshield against the opening from inside the body, and carefully mark the bottom edge of the "glass" (also from the inside) with a grease pencil. That will tell you how much has to come off.

To avoid scratching the surface, cover the glass with clear adhesive tape. Cover both sides, and because the tape is clear, you'll still be able to see the pencil marks.

Starting from the bottom edge, carefully trim away small bits of the windshield with sandpaper, a knife, or a rotary tool, until you reach the pencil line.

Don't try to scribe the line and cut the windshield, as you would if you were cutting a piece of flat styrene stock.

Unless you have the steady hand of a surgeon (and even then, it's tricky) you're likely to slip and run the blade across the glass. If you do have a steady hand, you might want to try cutting off most of the excess close to the line with a razor saw or a cutoff wheel in a motor tool, then finish with sandpaper.


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