Originally Posted by David T
Very nice! How much installed weight is the baggage area kit?
We put a lot of effort into keeping the weight of these panels as low as we possibly could for what they are. Over the years, we've continued to come up with new ways to shave off weight. For example, with the addition of proper stiffeners, we now use sheet metal as thin as .016" for some of our parts.
In contrast, we made some parts in the past with Kydex plastic. Although it is almost exactly half the density of aluminum, it's nowhere near as stiff (particularly when the aluminum is 2024 T3). That means a flat piece of .020" 2024 is slightly stiffer than 1/16" Kydex, and weighs a lot less. Now add a small edge flange, or a stiffener on the back side, and even thinner material can be used.
That being said, I don't have a hard weight number yet for these side panels. We are still moving from prototype parts to production. I probably won't until we have iterated through to the final production parts. I will say that I think it will be very difficult to make panels of a similar look and function that are any lighter.
To greatly simplify and speed up the prototyping process, some of the sheet metal parts were cut out on our small hobby water jet (many times I might add). Some of those parts had to be "pieced" because of their size. This throws off the weight because the parts have to be joined together with patch pieces. We still bend them on our CNC press brake just like production parts, and mechanically they work exactly the same way though. Production parts will be cut by a local company on their large laser.
There are some other minor changes we have identified that will also reduce weight. Sorry to rample on. This is a subject I sometimes feel needs some extra explanation because many customers may not realize how much time we spend on it.