Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

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Dwight Ennis
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Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Dwight Ennis » Sun Jun 05, 2011 10:57 am

What do you use for window panes? Glass or polycarbonate? What thickness... 1/32? If glass, where can I get it and can I buy it cut to size?

Thanks.

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Bill Shields
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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Bill Shields » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:00 pm

I use polycarbonate for those cases where I actually use something -

except the view port in my firedoor, which is borasilicate glass.
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VO4454
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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by VO4454 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 2:28 pm

Hello Dwight, Tap Plastics is a good source for polycarbonate / Lexan. There are several in the San Jose area. Google Tap Plastic locations. For glass I have gone to Michaels craft stores and used picture frame glass. I use a carbide scribe and steel rule to cut it myself. Hope this is usefull. Will you be at GGLS in July with your engine?

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Last edited by VO4454 on Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Trainman4602
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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Trainman4602 » Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:20 pm

The use of plastic for cab windows is not a good idea especially if the locomotive is coal fired.

I used glass obtained from of all places the dollar store. Their picture frames have .050 glass

A couple of bucks and you are hooked up

I made the frames from aluminum.I milled a 3/16th slot and filled it with silicone to cushion the glass.

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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Harlock » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:02 pm

We are using 3/32 window glass on the MEG.

Morgan Hill Glass will cut a set to your needs very inexpensively. We paid around $30 to have the entire set cut for the cab windows front and sides.

The address is 14995 Llagas Ave, San Martin. 408 779 2189.

Keep in mind that plexiglass is a lot harder to keep clean, and is scratched easily. There is special plexiglass cleaner you can use, but as others have said, with the coal dust you will have a hard time. The vibrations present in a locomotive should not crack regular glass.

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Dwight Ennis
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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Dwight Ennis » Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:20 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. My problem is the walnut cab I'm making has a wall thickness is 1/4". with the window frames planned to be made of 1/16" material (which I already have). On the cab side, there's a front window that's recessed by around 1/16" and then the sliding window behind that. If push comes to shove, I can make the window frames out of something a little thicker - I have some 1/8 walnut that I could perhaps plane down - but I really need glass that's around 1/32" or a little thicker, but well below 1/16". I found some 1.2mm (0.047) large microscope slides, but they are expensive and generally sold by the pack - way more than I need. And, if the pane is recessed in the frame by 1/32", then the frame itself would have to be 0.031 + 0.047 = 0.078 minimum. Two of those back to back plus the 1/16" recess brings me to 7/32, which would work, but anything thicker could start to pose problems.
The use of plastic for cab windows is not a good idea especially if the locomotive is coal fired.
Forgive my ignorance - why is that if I may ask? Because of having to clean - and possibly scratch - them?

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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Rwilliams » Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:06 pm

The issue of readily available and cost effective materials is always a problem when model building. Then heat and coal dust get into the mix to make the decision tougher. I have found that designing around the hardest to control variable works best in this hobby. We can cut wood all day long but being able to find the correct glass thickness is one challenge that is more trouble than it is worth. Compromise is the name of the game and strength is important. In building my caboose doors, making them with standard window glass of 3/32 thickness made the decision easy. To have the panes separated/offset to appear as if they would slide made the door even thicker. I elected to make the door a bit thicker and the end wall of the caboose the same thickness for ease of construction and making the door hinged. In the end, no one will know if you compromised on materials and good workmanship will always hide compromise.

Worse yet is if a hard to replace thin glass is broken, replacement down the road is a greater challenge. Years ago I was on a thin glass kick to make a more perfect sliding window in a locomotive cab. When all I could find at the best stocked glass shop in town was something between .050 and .060, I quickly figured what I was up against and realized it was out of my control and the decision to move on with what I could get was easy

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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by powderhorn01 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:19 am

Coal dust/soot is very abrasive to plastic. Just wiping it off with your finger, can cost you a 1/2 hour with plastic polish.
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Dwight Ennis
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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Dwight Ennis » Tue Jun 07, 2011 8:17 pm

A guy on another forum posted this link in response to my same question...

http://www.surplusshed.com/pages/item/m3012.html

20 pieces, each 12" by 12" x 1.2mm (0.05") thick, for $25, plus shipping from Pennsylvania. A lifetime supply. :)

Thought I'd pass it along.

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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by Dick_Morris » Fri Dec 07, 2018 3:37 am

Amazon has replacement "picture frame glass" at 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" by .050" at $8.00 post paid for two pieces. Their larger glass is .060". For me, this was cheaper than the gas to get me to the store.

The 20 pieces listed above is still available, but at $38.00 plus postage.

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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by SteveM » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:33 am

If you want it to look like an old-time model, use mica.

Steve

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Re: Window Panes - Glass or Polycarbonate?

Post by sabin » Fri Dec 07, 2018 8:45 am

i buy picture frames at the Dollar Store.

Jim

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