Acrylic Heating Element - Questions for an electrician and acrylic expert

I'm trying to build a heating element suspended 1" from an aluminum surface, and 2" below what will be a piece of acrylic (hopefully up to 1/2" thick) suspended by aluminum covered 2x4's. I want to have a rheostat (I think that's what they're called) for variable control of the heating element. The width of the element is undetermined, although 1/2" is probably close and this may be of little relevance. The aluminum case itself is 21"x6" and 3" deep So far, I've harvested a coil of Nickel Chromium from a cheap space heater but in trying to create a suspended piece, I've done little but destroy my NiChrom. It was cool, sparks and all, but I'd like to get it right this time. I do not wish to use a torch or heat gun as the pieces are to be wide and the heat must be even over the width to create an aesthetic bend. I will post some photos of the pieces tomorrow. Feel free to throw your hat in on any questions you want to answer. Electric Questions: How much NiChrom. do I need to heat 1/2" acrylic to around 400 degrees (F) for malleabiity? What is the best way to mount or suspend the nichrom.? What is the appropriate method to attach NiChrome to the wiring? (My home made coil using 1/16" copper wiring as a cast was sound in theory, but practice yielded sagging of the strip when active, and eventually sparky explosions at the mounts, after which time this question came to mind.) What kind of Rheostat do I need? What kinds are there? What's the difference? Can I get away with using a 120v/600w Dimmer switch instead (please say 'yes')? Acrylic Questions: What is the ideal heat for bending thicker acrylics? Would a fan below the heating element help disperse the heat evenly over the acrylic, or mess up the dispersion? Can a heating element such as this create sufficient heat to 'weld' 2 pieces together? Is this even possible? Thanks. I'm sure I'll have more questions before you can answer those. Peace - Ian.Wms

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Toga_Dan2 years ago

as robo says, solvent welding is easy. a plastics store will have liquid for this. if you want to bend it, thats different. heat is good. dimensions of plastic?

I have just posted an instructable for making an acrylic strip bender.


Why is it that noone takes the time anymore to sort and format the text before posting?
It is neither easy, nor enjoyable to read and endless worm....

Um... You're complaining about a posting that is over seven years old...

You are right I should pay more attention to the potsing date instead of a reply date ;)

aaand now i havta wonder, how did i not notice dates? not like i wasnt rummaging several pages back!

The most common cause is a topic getting bumped by a spammer. When the spam getting flagged away, the topic stays bumped.

sorry, double negative.. i didnt think i was digging into old archives.

Robo47423 years ago
hello if your trying to "weld" acrylic it would be much easier achieved by using a mix of 5% acetic acid to every 100% methylene chloride used in a needle or squeeze bottle with needle attached and cementing joints together ...... the ideal temperature for forming acrylic the ideal temperature is 275 deg to 290 deg and it all depends on the size and thickness of the acrylic for the time it takes to form you want the acrylic to feel like jelly for best forming with no impressions and bubbles if you would like more information you can email me @ fraser224@hotmail.com