In the photo below, you can see a poor bend in a sheet of 1/16-inch thick plexiglass. If you need to make further bends, let the first bend cool before continuing so you don't lose it. This is where you can use the circular or table saw, if you are cutting a jig. 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. 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. If you don’t have a toaster oven, you can (carefully!) 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. There will come a point when the material will move upward easily as it reaches a molten state. This article has been viewed 71,906 times. It opens new possibilities and ways you can work with acrylic.Provided Amazon links are affiliatesTools You'll Need: Router (op… % of people told us that this article helped them. Place the acrylic sheet over the strip heater, or apply your heat gun to the acrylic – both directly on the line you are wanting to bend. Run your heat tool gently back and forth along a cut plastic edge to soften it just enough that it turns clear. Make your pressure on the acrylic as even as possible while you push. This will be somewhat determined by the thickness of your plastic, as thicker plastic will need a wider radius curve for most bends. 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. Acrylic isn’t very strong and experiences brittle failure, meaning it cracks immediately without much bending. Once you have calculated your dimensions, mark them up on the acrylic so that you know where to cut. 8. Step 3 - Cut Out and Bend New Windshield. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Make sure that your line exactly follows the shape you desire. Wear gloves as you do this to avoid burning your hands. Move the hair dryer slowly and gently along the fold line and make sure that it’s evenly heated. 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. When building your own creations, it’s sometimes necessary to bend the acrylic … Abraham Schwartz is a handyman and the owner of Fixin’ To Do, a home improvement service in Austin, Texas. Abraham specializes in both small to medium residential and commercial sized jobs, ranging from TV mounting to furniture assembly to home automation setup. 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. For tips on how to bend acrylic with a strip heater and how to determine dimensions when bending acrylic, read on! The distance and speed will be different depending on the thickness of the material you are working with. If the acrylic is thin enough, you may be able to use a blow dryer if you don't have a heat gun. 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. If you are singeing the wood on your jig, you are too close. Then, scale your design and take the proper measurements. If you don't apply heat evenly to the bend line of a sheet of plexiglass or acrylic you can create bubbles or scorch marks that cannot be removed. 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. Before you bend acrylic, set it between 2 pieces of scrap wood and clamp them together with a vice. 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. For thinner sheets, you need to apply heat evenly to a very narrow line of the material. 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. 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. Use acrylic cement to glue the back piece of acrylic to the bottom piece. 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. Use a syringe filled with acrylic cement to insert the cement into the joint. 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. 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. 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. It is important to trace each side of the bent acrylic. Do not assume that both sides are the exact same shape. This article was co-authored by Abraham Schwartz. As could be inferred from its name, cold curving is the process of bending the whole … While you are applying even heat along the bend line, press gently upon the sheet of material you are bending. Leave a long end of your plastic strip where you can easily push up on it with a hand protected by a welding glove or oven glove. 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. Heating up a metal strip/wire with an iron can simulate a strip heater as shown in Method 2 of the article. 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 . It is far easier to bend the long end of a plastic strip than the short end. use a heat gun to heat the acrylic. The best way to bend plexiglass yourself is using a professional heat gun such as the one we use which is made by Dewalt – Dewalt Heat Gun.When using a heat gun remember to keep it moving constantly and work both sides of the plexiglass simultaneously. These types of plastic will not bend when heat is applied. Then, aim a heat gun at the point on the acrylic you want to bend. The material on one side of the strip was not quite ready to bend fully when the bend was made. Allow the tubing to heat until it becomes pliable. Remember to wait until the initial bend in the acrylic has completely cooled before attempting another bend in the same sheet of acrylic. Get DIY project ideas and easy-to-follow crafts to help you spruce up your space. 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. This method works well for larger bends, but there is a greater risk of melting or scorching the plastic. 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. Set the jig aside until you need it. What are the Properties of Acrylic? Moving it while it is still warm and flexible will cause it to lose the bend. From time to time, pull lightly on the edge of the acrylic sheet to check flexibility. Be sure to leave it close by and easily accessible. This article was co-authored by Abraham Schwartz. Leave it at 90 degrees to cool down for a couple minutes, and you have successfully bent an acrylic! Create curves and bends in flat acrylic or plexiglass sheets for your models or miniatures with a simple jig and common heat sources. If you do not have a heat source that will work for thin materials, try the method shown for heat welding plastic, using a metal kitchen spatula or blade heated against an iron, then pressed against the material. Abraham Schwartz is a handyman and the owner of Fixin’ To Do, a home improvement service in Austin, Texas. 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! Note that the acrylic will likely bend slowly at first. You could also use clamps, if you have your jig set up on a table surface with room to apply the clamps. Small butane torch, embossing heat tool, or heat gun, Scrap wood (at least 1/8-inch thick and wide enough for the clamps), Plexiglass or acrylic sheet (up to 1/8-inch thickness). Acrylic sheets are relatively inexpensive, pretty, and can be heat-shaped very effectively. In the sense of the principle, it can bend the acrylic into shapes by heating and softening the plates. You can see a dollhouse project that used this method to make a miniature "glass"-topped case for a shop counter. Try to keep the heat source at a right angle to your sheet of plastic/plexiglass. Use the circular or table saw for this process. You may need tools such as a ruler or other measuring stick, a square, a compass, or a protractor to find these dimensions. Do not remove the acrylic from the jig until it has cooled, or it might lose its new shape. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. This is the same strip shown in the jig where the heat was applied too far away from the bend line and applied unevenly. By using our site, you agree to our. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. The bend was made before the material was evenly softened, and this resulted in an angled rather than a straight line bend. If you want a straight line, make sure it is perfectly straight. The reason this works is because acrylic plastic actually melts at 405 F. He holds both his TSBPE Plumbing Examiners and Electrical Apprentice (TX) Licenses. Expert Interview. Use a ruler to check that your sheet of plexiglass or plastic is held squarely clamped beneath your strip wood jig. 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. A China graph pencil or permanent marker works well, but the marker will not be able to be removed. The line will still appear on the acrylic after it is heated, when you need to bend it. By signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to our privacy policy. What are the Disadvantages of Acrylic? 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. Have a piece of scrap wood nearby, as well, for helping to form the shape of the bent acrylic in the jig. He holds both his TSBPE Plumbing Examiners and Electrical Apprentice (TX) Licenses. 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. Allow it to cool still clamped in the jig as shown. 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. This article has been viewed 71,906 times. In 2018 and 2019, Fixin’ To do was rated as a Top Pro by Thumbtack. Remove the pins from between the joints as you apply the cement. {"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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