Make Your Own Windshield

  Making a windshield for your bike is not hard to do. Here is how I did mine.
Tall Lexan windshield on a Kawasaki Concours.

  First I ordered some 1/8 inch thick, translucent bronze Lexan from McMaster-Carr (Catalog Page 3539). I ordered a 24" x 48" piece as I wanted to make more than one. When that arrived I went to a local craft store and bought some template Mylar, I had to buy two pieces and tape them together.

Making a template.

Template taped to the old windshield.

  Next I removed the old windshield and laid it on the kitchen table. I put a folded towel under it to give it some support, and taped the Mylar to it. As you can see in the pic, the Mylar doesn't just lay completely on the old windshield, as the old windshield (made by Targa) has a compound curve. So another folded towel is between the windshield and the Mylar to support the Mylar.

  For the bottom edge of the windshield, where it meets the fairing, I used a razor blade and cut close to the windshield, replacing the tape as needed. If you cut a little too much, just slide the Mylar down a bit and cut some more. I made a couple of passes like this, then took it out to the bike and taped it to the fairing to do the final trim. Patience and persistence here will pay off later. After I got the bottom edge to where I was happy with it, I laid the Mylar on the table and drew the sides and top edge, measuring off a center line. I grabbed something round and traced it to make the corners.

Using the template.

Template taped to the Lexan.

  When you are finished with the template it is time to cut your Lexan. Your Lexan will come with protective plastic or paper on both sides. Inspect it carefully for damage, but don't pull off the protective sheet unless you have to. Quite often there will be some damage to the paper, but none on the Lexan. If there is any damage to the paper you can usually pull it open just enough to inspect with out removing it, then tape up the opening with masking tape. If there is some minor damage to the Lexan, try to position your template so the damage is on the waste. Once you decide where to cut, tape the template to the Lexan. Trace around the template with a sharpie and remove the template.

You can get a cheap saw like the one pictured here, for around twenty bucks, if you don't have one already.

  I used an electric jig saw to cut out the windshield. Make sure the protective film on the Lexan is intact! If not, use some masking tape to cover any gaps. I also put a couple of layers of masking tape on the base of my jigsaw to make sure it did not scratch the Lexan. You will also want to put some cardboard on your workbench. Use a medium or fine toothed blade. Take your time, don't rush this! As you cut, you will make a lot of small particles of Lexan. If these get embedded in the tape or the protective film on the Lexan, trapped between your work and the bench or stuck to the foot of your saw, they could scratch your material. If you have access to compressed air use it frequently to keep your work clear of this material. If not, you will want to stop now and then to clear up the debris, and clean up however you can.

  Like when making the template, I cut the bottom edge, then just whacked of the top edge roughly so I could try it on the bike and see if I needed to make some more adjustments for a good fit. As it so happens, I had cut a bit too much in one area, so I just put my template back on, and slid it up about a quarter inch or so and re-marked and re-cut the bottom edge. This left me a bit short on the top edge, but easy enough to just redraw the top edge once you get the bottom just right. Test fit and adjust the windshield until you get a nice fit, you can make notes right on the protective film, on where to remove a little more material if needed. Note, do all this before you drill the holes for the screws! I used spring clamps to hold the shield on the bike while assessing the fit. Next drill the holes, I recommend using a uni-bit, but a regular twist drill will work fine. I peeled back the protective film just enough so that with the shield clamped to the bike, I could see the hole locations through the Lexan. I started in the middle, drilled a couple of holes and put those screws in. Then drilled two more, one on either side, and put those in, and proceeded in that manner with the rest of the screws. Then I removed the shield and taped up the protective film I had removed, and went to work on the sides and top edge. I did not use the template for the top, I just measured and drew out what I wanted on the protective film.

Here is an electric D/A, you can get a cheap one for around twenty five bucks.

  Once the windshield is cut out and fitted, you will want to finish the edge. I used a course file on a few of the roughest areas, then a random orbit sander ( often referred to as a dual action sander, or a 'D/A' for short ), starting with 80 grit. I rocked the sander back and forth slightly to round the edge a little, and removed all traces of the jig saw marks. Then I switched to progressively finer grits and repeated, ending at 320. I also used a piece of sand paper and rounded the edges of the screw hole a bit.

  One final thing to do before installing your shield, is to paint the bottom edge. I put mine on and rode without doing this and it looked like crap, as dirt and pine needles and all sorts of foreign material got stuck there. There is no easy way to clean it without taking the shield off. So, when I took it off I painted the edge, just like you will see on any manufactured shield. I taped two inches or so, on the inside, then measured in from the edge an inch from the sides and an inch and a half from the bottom, and used a razor blade to cut through the tape, but not cut into the shield. Remove the tape from edge and cover the rest of the shield before spraying a light coat of paint.

That's it!

  Review: The tall shield did not reduce the helmet buffeting much. The buffeting was similar to the Targa that was on the bike when I got it. Just a little less aggressive. I am guessing this is due to the windshield being a noticeable distance further from my face. As you can see clearly in the pics of the two bikes, the home made windshield is single curved, it does not have a compound curve like most manufactured shields do. Note in this pic, this is the second shield I made which is quite a bit shorter. For this one, I cut and shaped the bottom edge as described above, for the top edge I marked an equal point on each side, just above the highest point of the fairing, and used a flexible straight edge to mark a radius between those two points. The short shield eliminated buffeting completely. Although there is much more air hitting the helmet, it is a smooth currant of air, and much more pleasant. I don't think I will put the tall one back on.
  These pics show the difference in angle between the homemade shield, and a factory made shield with a compound curvature.
Concours with a tall homemade windshield.

Compare the tall home made windshield, on WillyP's C10 on the left, with the Cee Baily on DocDan's bike to the right.

Final step, go on a long ride, and enjoy a cold beverage with a fellow rider.

Reposted with permission from: Concours Tech - Make Your Own Windshield.
First four images.

Photo credits:
finished.jpg, wMylar1.jpg, wMylar2.jpg: WillyP
jig_saw.jpg: unknown, no credit or license found.
Second four pics...

Photo credits:
portercableda.jpg: Porter Cable
finished2.jpg, long_trail.jpg and mt_greylock.jpg: WillyP
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