Acrylic bending tutorial

acrylic bender
Want to make one of those gaudy pc cases everyone has sporting lately? A good first step is probably building an acrylic bender. It will save you $200 which you’ll feel better about after you screw up your tenth bend in a row.

[thanks rui maldonado]

Comments

  1. Matt Gilbert says:

    that’s rad! i wish i saw this a few weeks ago when I was trying to bend acrylic over the burners on the stove. (I know, stupid.)

    Anyone know what these heating elements are used for, or where you might find one in some old appliance or something? It’d be nice to bring the price total down even further, if possible.

  2. ccrook says:

    You can use a car battery and a wire connecting both poles a so-called hot wire used to cut PVC, foam, and the like. I’m sure it would work jsut as well here. Google hotwire foam cutter.

  3. papaDoc says:

    You can find an heating element almost everywhere. Just look under your window in your house if you are using electricity as heating there will by a “caille” and in this there is an
    heating element.

  4. THE MAD MUHZARK says:

    shweet! I was just using a monster heat gun which worked alright but it was hard to heat wide surface evenly with a narrow jet.

  5. GSX says:

    if you purchase a cheap tubular heater, and take off the end of it – you will find that the heater itself is either, a piece of resistance wire wound round a small diameter dowel or more commonly a small diameter tubular element (think a straightened out kettle one…) which is ideal for such a project.

  6. chris says:

    kickass! ive been trying to bend acrylic for my case forever! and now I know how to!woot!

  7. Paul Kain says:

    erm :(

    now why didnt I come across this article 6 months ago?

    I have a few modderfriends who would LOVE to see this article

    thanks

    Paul

  8. Tim says:

    I work in an acrylics shop, and we have one professional table (like the “fancy one” in the article) but for the most part, we use piano wire stretched out across 2 nails with an extension cord the has been chopped up and pu alligator clips on the end. Pretty ghetto, but quite effective.

  9. TIMMAH! says:

    (to tim)
    Do you know what # piano wire you guys are using? I assume the thicker stuff won’t heat up as much and the thinner stuff runs the risk of burning out?

  10. Tim says:

    to be honest, i don’t (today was my last day, or i’d look for you) it is bretty thick gauge, but not wound (or whatever that’s called)

  11. JStrider says:

    if you have a propane torch you can lay the plexi over something that is at the angle you want to bend at and run the torch over the place you want the bend from right to left over and over and it will bend after a few minutes…

    make sure you go right to left or left to right and not back and forth… it wont heat evenly with the back and forth.

  12. The wire you need for bending is nichrome wire. It can be found at a science supply store. We bend many products with plexiglass. See our sign holders and other at

    http://www.pop2go.com

  13. You can order the correct wire which is nichrome wire from a science supply store. This is the same wire in your toaster. We bend lots of plexiglass displays. Check out our sight for more info on bending. We bend sign holders. See more tutorials on bending at http://www.pop2go.com

  14. Lord_Nikon says:

    this is a what we do at my shop for making molds for the body kits on the honda race cars everone is racing around in nowadays

  15. gifford1986 says:

    I am glad I found this forum. I was about to try bending some to make a snair drum with a blow dryer, and a set of vice grips and plyers. now the hard part is going to be getting the acrylic in a perfect circle…

  16. To make a round circle, you need to heat the acrylic up in a oven until it droops when you lift it. Then you will need to wrap it around a velvet or smooth surface that is bent round. A trick I learned from the fiberglass people is to use a piece of steel or aluminum from Home Depot and bend it around in a circle. This will give you a smooth surface, then wrap the hot acrylic around it. If you get scratches you will need to get some velvet. To see more of our bent materials see us at http:/www.pop2go.com

  17. To make a round circle, you need to heat the acrylic up in a oven until it droops when you lift it. Then you will need to wrap it around a velvet or smooth surface that is bent round. A trick I learned from the fiberglass people is to use a piece of steel or aluminum from Home Depot and bend it around in a circle. This will give you a smooth surface, then wrap the hot acrylic around it. If you get scratches you will need to get some velvet. To see more of our bent materials see us at http:/www.pop2go.com

  18. Saint says:

    okay so you want to bend Acrilics….. here are some easy ideas that work….
    1. Go to Wallmart (stupidmart as we call it) buy a simple toaster….. open it up pull out the element and string it between two peices of steel and this will allow you to ben linear bends. if you want a concave bend replace the flat bars with a round bar that has a knotch in it as you roll the sheet past the element it will bend as much as the bar or as little as you want it.. the small the bar the tighter the curve… the bigger the bigger the ark.
    2. if you want a cone shape… the easy and simple way is go to your moms baking pans find the biggest flat pan he has that will fit in the oven… then take some metal Alum, Steel and bend a round circle and or square ect… place it on the pan… use a little foil tape to hold it in place… then get some sand get it wet and dump it inside… the deep the metal the larger the cone… then use a cutting knife, cake topper ect… to create your cone ect….. once you have our shape, spray a little water an sugar out of a spray bottle to hold the pattern together… then lay a sheet across the top and place in over (CAUTION) the hotter the over the faster it will bend and fall into place but it man create creases, lines ect… by making the over 80-90 deg cell the sheet will loosen up and start to fall slowly into the forn allowing it to concave without any creases. once it has fallen to the shape to can turn it up to about 130-150 cell to flatten it out nice and or to mold into nice patterns. you can also place cookie mold or anything thats mettalic on the sand to create impressions. once its done turn oven off and open the door a little to let the heat out…. DO NOT REMOVE YET… let it sit in there for another 30 min or so…. then pull out and place on top for another hour…. this will allow the plexi, acrylic etc to solidify slowly and not be prone to cracking and or tempering later on.
    i use a lot of acrilics and plastics to make a varity of prototypes for companies… if you have other questions about mods, led mods, ect… feel free to Email me at saintksis@shaw.ca cheers..
    Ps if you want LEDs i can tell you where to get them for the best price and how to hook them up as well as EL wire and El SHeets up to 48×250 ft
    cheers all

  19. gifford1986 says:

    here is what we did…
    1. we calculated the dimensions needed to make the acrylic the right size, and cut it with a table saw, and a jig saw.
    2. we got a heating gun, a rim for a tire (close to the right size, and a flat surface)
    3. after bolting the acrylic to the rim, we heated it up a little bit at a time while roling the rim (this causes the plexiglass to mold to the round shape)
    4. we then put it insied another snair drum I already had make of steel, and continued heating it to try to remove the bumps.

    to see a crapy illistration of this, go to http://i17.photobucket.com/albums/b77/gifford1986/howtomakedrums.jpg

    the problem is that we cant get rid of some of the bumps.

    another thing we now have to figure out how to do is how to glue two sheets together without making it look bad. (we were thinking of using some sort of chemical reaction to melt them together, but we don’t know what to use)

    I might try the oven thing now that you mention it. thanks tons.

  20. Paul says:

    Im planning to make a replacement windshield for an old boat. How do I bend the long curves on the ends. I see alot information that you guys have provided on how to bend corners and angles. I never knew you could do this. I just need to know if I took a hair dryer and heated it evenly over a large area if I could bend it slowly to fit into an already existing molding/base/trim. Im sure thinkness will play a major role as Im only going with 1/8″ thickness because this windshield is meant to act more as a splash guard and will only be about 8 inches high max. I really appreciate anyone’s advice.

    Thanks!

    Paul

  21. Chuck says:

    A trick I learned from the fiberglass people is to use a piece of steel or aluminum from Home Depot and bend it around in a circle. This will give you a smooth surface, then wrap the hot acrylic around it. If you get scratches you will need to get some velvet. To see more of our bent materials see us at http:/www.pop2go.com

  22. Big Al says:

    Weld-on #4 is what is needed to “weld” two pieces of acrylic together. You will not find it at any chain hardware stores so just google it and order it. “Tap Plastics” is where I purchase mine. They also have several helpful instructional videos.

  23. gavin says:

    Can anyone help.

    We have a metal bin 1500mm long and 500mm wide, with a rounded top. We want to mold clear plexiglas over the top to stop the paint work getting grafeted and scratched. Does anyone know how I can heat up this big sheet over the bin to form the shape?? I was thinkin of making a wooden box over the bin, covering it internally with tin foil and using 2 heat guns at each end??

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