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I am trying to make some things for the wing out of plastic, say 1/8 inch thick and I need to bend it sharply and have it stay. I have seen things made this way but I have no idea how to bend it without breaking it or maring it. Any ideas?
 

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Young Buck
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Warm it with a heat gun, and form it into the shape that you want. As the plastic cools, it will retain the new shape.
 

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mrgl02 said:
Warm it with a heat gun, and form it into the shape that you want. As the plastic cools, it will retain the new shape.
Be very carefull with a heat gun - too much heat and it will bubble. I used to watch plastic being hand formed and they used an oven. Wish now I had paid attention to the heat setting
 

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Young Buck
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Jim n Judy said:
mrgl02 said:
Warm it with a heat gun, and form it into the shape that you want. As the plastic cools, it will retain the new shape.
Be very carefull with a heat gun - too much heat and it will bubble. I used to watch plastic being hand formed and they used an oven. Wish now I had paid attention to the heat setting
My use of the word "warm" was intentional and was exactly what I meant. I first used the phrase "Heat it up", but changed that to "Warm it".

But thanks for reinforcing what I should have said. It may take a few tries to be successful.
 

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If you are using a lexan type of plastic, you can bend it in a metal brake without any trouble. It will hold its shape and look very nice when you are done. I made a catch box for my reloader that had to have some pretty tight 90 deg. bends and Lexan was what I used. It worked great.

It can sometimes be purchased at a glass shop. I think you can get it at a Home Depot or maybe a Lowes. I got mine at a glass repair shop.

It comes in various thicknesses. I have only seen it in clear.
 

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I have read instructions for bending plastic that uses a heater strip, like the type used in a toaster. The part to be bent is suspended above the heater element and heated until soft and then bent. The only part that gets hot is the crease area.
 

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SL_1800,

I recommend that you make the parts from Lexan (polycarbonate plastic) for ease of making them. Just like Ross said, you work with it as though it was sheet metal. At room temperature, you can fold it back onto itself and leave a crease in it without cracking. The moisture content of the plastic is such that it can take this kind of use or abuse without any damage. No kidding, Again like Ross said, you can form it in a sheet metal bending break with the greatest of ease and have a great bend to boot.

Complex curves (not straight line bends), thats a different story. Low oven heat and a male or female form or mold are required to get things right. Again, because of that moisture content in the polycarb plastic, an excessive heat will start leaving traces of bubbling in the formed area. If complex forming is the order of the day, then you would be better off using an acrylic type plastic.

One of the big advantages of Lexan (polycarb.) is it's near bullet proof. Window panes made of the stuff can take a swack from a baseball bat and just barely flinch. Unfortunately one trade off is the surface is less scratch resistant than acrylic and quite hard to restore a damaged surface. Acrylics are harder surfaced and more brittle to impact and forming, but a damaged surface can be sanded and polished out to optic perfection.

Long answer that hope gives you info and guidance to your creativity. Good luck!
 
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