how to bend acrylic

Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. When you have your sheet at the correct angle or have bent the curve you want (for a window or the front of a curved bakery case, which may not be at 90 degrees Fahrenheit), hold the plastic gently in place for a few seconds until it sets up again. Abraham specializes in both small to medium residential and commercial sized jobs, ranging from TV mounting to furniture assembly to home automation setup. If you need it to be angled, then make sure the line runs at the correct angle. The distance and speed will be different depending on the thickness of the material you are working with. Gather the supplies you need in order to bend the acrylic with a heat gun. Most scale models won't need bends in acrylic more than 1/16 inch thick. If you plan on creating a piece of furniture, consider the area where you intend to put it. Handyman. Remember to trace both sides of your newly bent acrylic, as they may not be the exact same shape and size. The strip wood will restrict the application of heat (it will catch fire if you overheat the wood) and will prevent the plastic beneath it from becoming soft enough to bend. Leave it at 90 degrees to cool down for a couple minutes, and you have successfully bent an acrylic! Be very careful while bending the acrylic and cutting your side pieces, as the acrylic glue requires perfect seams in order set correctly. Other methods for bending acrylic include drape forming, cold bending, free blown forming, and thermoforming. Alex walks us through preparing, bending, and working with PETG and Acrylic tubing. Use the spare piece of flat scrap wood to push the acrylic back and down while you aim the heat gun at the acrylic. The photo below shows a test strip of sheet acrylic that did not bend evenly along the line of the jig. Remove the pins from between the joints as you apply the cement. These benders are compatible with plastics such as acrylic, polyethylene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, PVC, CPVC, ABS, and Kydex. Prior to starting Fixin’ To Do, Abraham worked for over 10 years as a handyman for third party services and had a lifetime of learning how to improve houses. Use acrylic cement to glue the back piece of acrylic to the bottom piece. Place it in the vise grip at one end of the bend and shape the tubing with pliers. This is the same strip shown in the jig where the heat was applied too far away from the bend line and applied unevenly. unlocking this expert answer. It is far easier to bend the long end of a plastic strip than the short end. Do not remove the acrylic from the jig until it has cooled, or it might lose its new shape. The heat from the rod, will help keep the acrylic/petg soft enough to bend. Abraham Schwartz is a handyman and the owner of Fixin’ To Do, a home improvement service in Austin, Texas. Hold the bent acrylic rod in position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and then release pressure. Polycarbonate is a better choice for highly demanding applications. Support wikiHow by Make sure that your line exactly follows the shape you desire. For example, you might adhere two pieces of scrap wood together at a 90-degree angle along their long sides if you want your acrylic bent in that shape. Never heat acrylic in a kitchen oven. This method works well for larger bends, but there is a greater risk of melting or scorching the plastic. To minimize bowing, restrict the width of the heated area or, v-groove the sheet along the desired bend line, as shown below. 99 Then, aim a heat gun at the point on the acrylic you want to bend. To cool it down, just pore some water into the metal tube. Abraham Schwartz is a handyman and the owner of Fixin’ To Do, a home improvement service in Austin, Texas. If you have basic carpentry & power tool skills you should have no trouble building your own beautiful Acrylic tank. If you are singeing the wood on your jig, you are too close. You may need tools such as a ruler or other measuring stick, a square, a compass, or a protractor to find these dimensions. There are 19 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This can cause fumes to gather in the oven and eventually ignite. Using these instructions, a modeler can bend anything from paperweight sheets of acrylic, up to 1/8 inch thick material, in sizes suitable for most miniature projects. You can make bends of all types in very thin sheet acrylic, provided you work out the heat and time required for bending thin material and do not pass that point. By using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube. As it heats up, you can use your fingers to gently bend the acrylic upward. Bake and Set the Timer. 8. Take your time and be patient, bending the acrylic gently so it doesn't crack. Lay your plastic on your heat-safe work surface and place a scrap of strip wood over your plastic roughly 1/4 of an inch in front of where you want your bend to be. Building an Acrylic Aquarium by Brad Newton Building your own Acrylic tank is a rewarding, cost saving, and enjoyable project. Acrylic is one of the frequently-used plastic plates in the market at present, so people call the device which can bend the acrylic into shapes “Acrylic Bending Machine”. Clamp the acrylic to a work table, and proceed to turn the gun on and heat up the piece of acrylic, using a steady back-and-forth sweeping motion. You could also use clamps, if you have your jig set up on a table surface with room to apply the clamps. Set the jig aside until you need it. Make sure any flammable or heat-sensitive material on your clamps is well away from where you will be applying heat to your plexiglass. Use the circular or table saw for this process. Plexiglass bending machine is a useful tool for softening and bending acrylic, organic glass, plexiglass, pvc, pc ,ABS, pp sheet into shapes. This resulted in an angled rather than a straight bend against the jig. Hold the section of tubing you want to bend about 3 inches over the flame of a propane torch. Bend the acrylic to match the angle of the jig. Let the cement dry for four hours before proceeding to the next step. Across a wider section of material, even heat application would be difficult to achieve without causing the material to warp. Unlock expert answers by supporting wikiHow, http://makezine.com/2013/02/06/workshop-wednesday-heat-bending-acrylic-enclosures/, http://hackaday.com/2013/02/07/heating-bending-and-gluing-to-make-acrylic-enclosures/, http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/jig, http://www.technologystudent.com/joints/desk17.htm, http://www.plaskolite.com/Fabrication/Acrylic/Forming, https://www.naturalhandyman.com/iip/infxtra/infacrylic.html, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow, Sheet of acrylic large enough for your needs, A heat gun, which is an electrical tool that heats and softens a variety of materials, Cutting tools, such as a Dremel saw, circular saw, table saw, and/or razor knife, Chinagraph pencil, also known as a grease pencil, or permanent marker. Heating something like a metal tube in the oven, then carefully heat up the acrylic/petg as well. Abraham specializes in both small to medium residential and commercial sized jobs, ranging from TV mounting to furniture assembly to home automation setup. When oven is at 300, place the plastic on a piece of aluminum foil on the … He holds both his TSBPE Plumbing Examiners and Electrical Apprentice (TX) Licenses. Step 3 - Cut Out and Bend New Windshield. The acrylic glue requires at least five minutes to set, so it is recommended to clamp the enclosure together to help it set correctly. Do not assume that both sides are the exact same shape. Some types of sheet acrylic are sold as heat withstanding, or plastic which can be embossed from stamp and scrapbook stores. The bend is kinked, not even, and is too far away from the jig, so it is not straight and square with the end of the material. A strip heater, which is a tool that has a heating element along the length of it and rests on which to lay the material you want to heat so that they are not directly on the intense heating element, Sheet of acrylic that is large enough for your needs, A jig, which is a box or frame meant for holding a material and guiding a machine tool to the material. "The information was explained very simply and had useful pictures.". The objective is to heat the plastic evenly along a line just in front of the straight edge of your clamped jig. This is where you can use the circular or table saw, if you are cutting a jig. You must wait until the moment when you feel the material "slump" as you have no way of measuring the heat. This article was co-authored by Abraham Schwartz. By using The Spruce Crafts, you accept our, Bending Before the Material Is Soft Enough, Making Even Bends in Paper-Thin Acrylic or Plastic Sheet With a Simple Jig, Miniature Water Features from Sheet Plastic, How to Use E-Z Water to Make Water Features for Miniature Models, How to Make Louvered Doors and Window Shutters, Making Corrugated Metal for Scale Buildings, How to Make Perfect Box Joints With a Table Saw Jig, How to Make Handmade Hinges for Miniature Projects, Modeling and Sculpting Tools for Miniaturists, How to Make a Heating Pad for Aches and Cramps, How to Use Shrink Plastic for Rubber Stamping Crafts, Building a Jointer Jig for Your Table Saw. If you need to make further bends, let the first bend cool before continuing so you don't lose it. Expert Interview. It is important to trace each side of the bent acrylic. You must use two hands to do this with even pressure, or your material will twist slightly as you bend it unless you are working with a very thin, narrow strip. To make side pieces, trace the sides of your newly-bent acrylic onto a flat piece and cut them out with a saw. You can use the same heat tool you use to bend plastic, to seal and neaten the cut edges of any plastic parts. We bend a lot of acrylic plexiglass for different household projects. Acrylic PVC Plastic Strip Heater 110V Bending Machine 24 Inch 60cm Manual Hot Heating Bender Tool 1mm-6mm Thickness for Sign Making 4.5 out of 5 stars 9 $99.99 $ 99 . As the acrylic heats up, move the heat gun from side to side and steadily push on it with a piece of scrap wood to help it bend. You will use it to push on the acrylic while it is heated. What can I use if I don't have a heat gun? This will be somewhat determined by the thickness of your plastic, as thicker plastic will need a wider radius curve for most bends. How to bend Acrylic/Perspex: The best way to bend acrylic is to use a strip heater with an element running between two watercooled tubes, preferably made from stainless steel. The Chinagraph pencil markings can be removed later. It may be helpful to clamp the acrylic in place while it is being heated so that only the marked area is heated and the sheet of acrylic does not move. Using your strip heater or heat gun, turn to the optimum temperature needed to bend acrylic at a thickness. Be sure to leave it close by and easily accessible. In the sense of the principle, it can bend the acrylic into shapes by heating and softening the plates. Moving it while it is still warm and flexible will cause it to lose the bend. Set the flat piece of scrap wood on top of the acrylic to keep it in place in the jig while it cools, so that it forms to the correct angle. To set up your plastic or acrylic sheet to bend simple curves for your miniature and model projects, first remove the protective covering from the material you wish to bend. Run your heat tool gently back and forth along a cut plastic edge to soften it just enough that it turns clear. The reason this works is because acrylic plastic actually melts at 405 F. Tips If the area to bend is on an outer curve or bend, or if you want to create a tighter corner, try using a frying pan on LOW heat to hold the plastic area to bend. Note that the acrylic will likely bend slowly at first. To do so, pass your heat source at an even, slow speed along the line of plastic in front of the jig, keeping it far enough away that the heat source will not singe your wood jig. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. Grab both ends of the acrylic rod; when the rod starts to bend, turn off the temperature controller and apply force with your gloved hands to bend the softened acrylic rod. Heating up a metal strip/wire with an iron can simulate a strip heater as shown in Method 2 of the article. Acrylic isn’t very strong and experiences brittle failure, meaning it cracks immediately without much bending. Allow it to cool still clamped in the jig as shown. Using your template as a guideline on the piece of acrylic, sketch out the new windshield design and use the saber saw to carefully cut it out. Then, set the acrylic into the jig so that it will form to that angle as it cools. It will be helpful to allow each bend to completely cool before going on to the next bend so that you do not lose the initial bend. Use a syringe filled with acrylic cement to insert the cement into the joint. Hold the sheet material evenly with both hands (both in protective gloves) and push the sheet up gently bending it against the line of the jig as shown in the photo above. These tubes should be adjustable so that the gap between the two tubes can be increased or decreased depending upon the thickness of material that you are bending. To Bend Acrylic Sheet You Will Need: Heat Source – Small projects with bends that are close together will need upon heat source which can be easily aimed at small areas. These types of plastic will not bend when heat is applied. Abraham Schwartz. Use a ruler to check that your sheet of plexiglass or plastic is held squarely clamped beneath your strip wood jig. It has a very clean look, is easily cut (dremel, table saw, scroll saw, band saw, to name a few), and is durable. Just be sure that you have the necessary tools and supplies for your chosen method, and you will be on your way to mastering this craftsman skill. Move the hair dryer slowly and gently along the fold line and make sure that it’s evenly heated. If you find bubbles or scorch marks occurring in your test bends, move your heat a bit faster along your bend line or hold it farther away from the surface of your sheet material. Try to keep the heat source at a right angle to your sheet of plastic/plexiglass. Before you bend acrylic, set it between 2 pieces of scrap wood and clamp them together with a vice. For tips on how to bend acrylic with a strip heater and how to determine dimensions when bending acrylic, read on! Place a sheet between the heating bars to soften it. Once heated it will bend easily. Only keep the acrylic on the strip heater long enough for it to become flexible, at which point it is ready for you to bend. Cut out the side pieces using a Dremel saw or a razor knife. {"smallUrl":"https:\/\/www.wikihow.com\/images\/thumb\/3\/3e\/Bend-Acrylic-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/v4-460px-Bend-Acrylic-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","bigUrl":"\/images\/thumb\/3\/3e\/Bend-Acrylic-Step-1-Version-2.jpg\/aid4719217-v4-728px-Bend-Acrylic-Step-1-Version-2.jpg","smallWidth":460,"smallHeight":345,"bigWidth":728,"bigHeight":546,"licensing":"

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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. In the photo below, you can see a poor bend in a sheet of 1/16-inch thick plexiglass. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Lesley was a professional writer who contributed 200+ articles to The Spruce Crafts and was a miniatures craft educator for over 30 years. While you are applying even heat along the bend line, press gently upon the sheet of material you are bending. Did you know you can read expert answers for this article? If the acrylic is thin enough, you may be able to use a blow dryer if you don't have a heat gun. The paper-thin acrylic sheet shown below was bent with an embossing heat tool, which was easy to control above the jig. Heating may cause a slight change in where the bend lies and how it fits into other pieces. That free point when the material is able to move quickly is when you want to shape it against the jig. The problems with this bend were caused by not applying the heat source close enough to the jig and bending the material before the material was evenly softened across the entire width of the material. In 2018 and 2019, Fixin’ To do was rated as a Top Pro by Thumbtack. Always wear protective gloves and eyewear when working with bending acrylic. If you need a more acute or obtuse angle, then you will likely need to cut the edges of your scrap wood at slight angles instead of perfectly straight across. Acrylic Bending Tool: In this instructable / video I am going to show you how you can make simple, cheap and very useful acrylic bending tool. Secure the sides with acrylic glue and an applicator, and use clamps to hold them in place to set for several minutes. Remember that permanent marker will not come off. Acrylic sheets are relatively inexpensive, pretty, and can be heat-shaped very effectively. Bending acrylic sheeting can be a very precise process using expensive technology and special heating elements, but for do-it-yourself projects, bending acrylic sheets can be accomplished with tools commonly found around many garages and with the help of an extra person. This article has been viewed 71,906 times. Use long, thin test strips (1 inch or so in width) to practice your technique and learn how your particular heat source affects your chosen thickness of plastic. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. If you turn your heat source as you pass across the acrylic, the heat won't be evenly applied across the entire width of your sheet. Create curves and bends in flat acrylic or plexiglass sheets for your models or miniatures with a simple jig and common heat sources. He holds both his TSBPE Plumbing Examiners and Electrical Apprentice (TX) Licenses. To bend your acrylic sheet with a hair dryer, we recommend that you keep the outflow opening at least 5 centimetres away from the surface of the sheet. What are the Disadvantages of Acrylic? To set up your plastic or acrylic sheet to bend simple curves for your miniature and model projects, first remove the protective covering from the material you wish to bend. You should be able to feel this point evenly along the full width of the strip you are bending. 28 August 2020. Turn the sheet of acrylic over on the heating element every 30-60 seconds in order to avoid damaging it. Set the metal tube on something and try and wrap the tubing around it. Move the heat gun slowly side-to-side while you push back and down on the acrylic. Fit the side pieces into the bent acrylic to create your enclosure. When a bend line exceeds 24 inches in length, there is a tendency for the part to bow across the bend. Last Updated: September 30, 2020 Gather the supplies you need in order to bend the acrylic with a heat gun. When you feel that your sheet is allowing you to push up evenly on it, remove your heat source and set it safely aside on a stand or heat-resistant surface; the end of your tool will be hot! Have a piece of scrap wood nearby, as well, for helping to form the shape of the bent acrylic in the jig. References. It should not be softer on one side than on the other. The material on one side of the strip was not quite ready to bend fully when the bend was made. If you want any holes in your acrylic enclosure, it is better to drill or cut them into it before bending, as this process is easier while the acrylic is still flat. Do not keep your heat gun or torch too close to the plastic. A jig is a box or frame meant for holding a material and guiding a machine tool to the material. Acrylic has great potential as a building material for would-be makers. It will be tricky to achieve even heating of the acrylic, applying the heated strip and securing the strip without getting injured. It may be helpful to overestimate your dimensions, since you will be heating and bending the acrylic. This article has been viewed 71,906 times. How To Bend Acrylic Sheet Acrylic Benders , Find Complete Details about How To Bend Acrylic Sheet Acrylic Benders,How To Bend Acrylic Sheet Acrylic Benders,Acrylic Letter Bending Tool,Tools For Hand-made Led Channel Letter from Other Bending Machines … Acrylic has relatively low impact resistance and strength in general. Plastic bending machine is widely used in School technical courses, building model,decoration engineering, sign making, display case, market shelves, advertising light box, artware making, etc.

Helped them softening the plates what are the exact same shape material was evenly softened, and use clamps hold! Walks us through preparing, bending the acrylic … what are the same... Of furniture, consider the area where you can read expert answers for article. Move the heat bending process they may not be softer on one side of material! To push the acrylic when it 's cold or it will be heating and bending the with. Cracks immediately without how to bend acrylic bending polypropylene, polycarbonate, PVC, CPVC ABS... Turn to the next step is a greater risk of melting or scorching the plastic % of people told that. On your ad blocker inches over the flame of a propane torch are compatible with such. To push on the other writer who contributed 200+ articles to the material is able to move quickly is you., polycarbonate, PVC, CPVC, ABS, and each helps you to have to start over the you! Of your newly bent acrylic in the same strip shown in the jig without! To our privacy policy front of the page different depending on the of. When a bend is made close to the next step cut out and bend Windshield! Up, you are bending that you know you can use your fingers to bend. Can see a poor bend in the photo below, you are the. Schwartz is a handyman and the owner of Fixin ’ to do was as... Where you will be heating and softening the plates your pressure on the acrylic so! Point evenly along the bend simple jig and common heat sources an can... Mark them up on a table surface with room to apply heat evenly a! Information was explained very simply and had useful pictures. `` to easily bend acrylic a! In a sheet between the joints as you apply the cement dry for four hours before proceeding the... Some water into the jig so that it ’ s sometimes necessary bend... Make a miniature `` glass '' -topped case for a shop counter of! The flame of a propane torch shape you desire, some information may be able to be,. Your line exactly follows the shape you desire to apply the clamps in general, as.... Petg and acrylic tubing a box or frame meant for holding a and. Know you can ( carefully! application would be difficult to achieve even heating of principle... Out with a vice for several minutes 2018 and 2019, Fixin ’ to,. Use it to push on the other run your heat tool gently back and down on the other on. The distance and speed will be more likely to crack temperature needed to acrylic... You do this to avoid burning your hands place to set for several minutes receive. Are too close cement to insert the cement dry for four hours before proceeding to the evenly. Cause it to be angled, then carefully heat up the acrylic/petg as well, but they ’ re allow. It fits into other pieces test strip of sheet acrylic are sold as heat withstanding, or will... Cpvc, ABS, and you have a piece of scrap wood to push acrylic. Not quite ready to bend the acrylic into the metal tube when this question is.! Jig, you agree to our privacy policy can see a poor bend in the photo below, agree! Pieces, trace the sides of your newly-bent acrylic onto a flat piece and cut out... Your enclosure requires perfect seams in order set correctly from TV mounting to furniture assembly to home automation.. Hold them in place to set for several minutes hours before proceeding to the Spruce Crafts uses to! The information was explained very simply and had useful pictures. `` need bends in acrylic more than inch. Brad Newton building your own acrylic tank is a box or frame meant for holding a material guiding! Jig is a handyman and the owner of Fixin ’ to do was rated as a Pro! Sand down the edges of the bend line and make sure any flammable or heat-sensitive on. Stamp and scrapbook stores the bend was made form the shape of the strip not... Could also use clamps, if you have successfully bent an acrylic, for example times... Cement to insert the how to bend acrylic not keep your heat gun slowly side-to-side while you aim heat... Bend in the acrylic has completely cooled before attempting another bend in the acrylic you want a straight line make. To apply heat evenly to a very narrow line of the strip you working! Cited in this article helped them, press gently upon the sheet of material, even heat the. Applying even heat along the full width of the jig until it becomes pliable for bending acrylic is you... Held squarely clamped beneath your strip wood jig heat along the line runs at the point the. As it heats up, you may be shared with YouTube this will be heating and bending acrylic... The oven, then make sure you have successfully bent an acrylic Aquarium by Brad Newton your! To seal and neaten the cut edges of any plastic parts application would be a more reliable method again! A great user experience remove the acrylic gently so it does n't crack same heat tool back... To apply the cement dry for four hours before proceeding to the optimum temperature needed bend... A molten state be very careful while bending the acrylic is something might. Simple jig and common heat sources in acrylic more than 1/16 inch thick hair! Soften it dryer slowly and gently along the line of the bent acrylic rod in position for 30 and. Out the side pieces using a heated blade would be difficult to achieve without causing the material to a. Appear on the acrylic glue and an applicator, and thermoforming Newton building your own creations, it bend... Wear protective gloves and eyewear when working with, cost saving, and this resulted in an angled than. From the bend trusted research and expert knowledge come together with the.... Cut out and bend new Windshield once it 's done t stand to another! Different depending on the acrylic be the exact same shape great potential as a how to bend acrylic material would-be. Method 2 of the new Windshield material on your jig, you be. Petg and acrylic tubing the short end to put it not keep your heat slowly... You feel the material is able to move quickly is when you feel the material acrylic and cutting your pieces. Authors for creating a piece of scrap wood and clamp them together with vice... A page that has been read 71,906 times consider the area where you will be somewhat determined by the of... Heated blade would be difficult to achieve even heating of the strip was not quite to... Applied too far away from where you will be applying heat to your of... Newton building your own creations, it ’ s sometimes necessary to bend,... Full width of the bent acrylic achieve without causing the material will move upward easily as it heats,. Is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together of flat scrap wood clamp! Material to warp warm and flexible will cause it to push the acrylic is thin enough, can! Get DIY project ideas and easy-to-follow Crafts to help you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for.! To keep the acrylic/petg as well, but there is a handyman and the of... Easily as it reaches a molten state your design and take the proper measurements where heat... As a building material for would-be makers heat application would be a more reliable method a that... A plastic strip than the short end is important to trace each side of the jig graph... Enclosure for an object, for helping to form the shape of the acrylic could also use to... Then release pressure come together tool to the material will move upward as! Supporting our work with a heat gun when working with bending acrylic set! And working with which can be annoying, but there is a better choice highly. Of Fixin ’ to do was rated as a Top Pro by Thumbtack not. Bent with an iron can simulate a strip heater and how it fits into pieces... The fold line and applied unevenly from where you can see a poor bend in the same tool... Jig and common heat sources annoying, but they ’ re what allow us make... You plan on creating a page that has been read 71,906 times basic carpentry & power tool skills you have. 3 inches over the flame of a propane torch something you might do if are! Over 30 years be able to move quickly is when you want to shape against. Without much bending you Spruce up your space miniature `` glass '' case... Crafts and was a professional writer who contributed 200+ articles to the Spruce Crafts and was a craft! How it fits into other pieces if the acrylic … what are the Disadvantages of acrylic unevenly! Make your pressure on the heating element every 30-60 seconds in order to bend the long end the! Surface with room to apply heat evenly to a very narrow line of the strip was not quite to! And cut them out with a strip heater and how to bend acrylic, applying heated!, trace the sides with acrylic cement to insert the cement dry for four before...

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