Step 2: Bending The Plexiglass

I talked to a few glass stores in town, but I couldn't find anybody who would bend plexi. I did some research online and found that some people had successfully used a heat gun and very gentle pressure, so I decided to try it. After borrowing a heat gun from my roommate's girlfriend's mother, I set up a crude heating and bending mold with a piece of wood and a metal level. I applied the heat gun to the gap between the block and level, and very, very carefully, the plexiglass started to soften and melt. As the acrylic starts to melt, the pressure from the block will start bending it. I needed to tack down the level, because it had a tendancy to scoot to the right as the bend progressed. Eventually, you will need to apply pressure to the left edge towards the level. Once the plexi is bent at 90 degrees, turn off the heat gun and let it cool right here before moving it. I moved the first edge before letting it cool, and it flexed back to about an 80 degree angle.

You can see in the last image my progress after bending two of the sides.
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Hi out there from darkest Africa! I am a total novice at manipulating Plexiglass - I have this concept of 'rippling' Plexiglass like a flag in the wind frozen in time - is a Heatgun the only method or are there chemical solutions to achieve this effect?<br><br>SWERDNA
Chemicals would tend to badly &quot;frost&quot; and/or &quot;craze&quot; the surface while seriously damaging the molecular structure of the polymer - which CAN be used as &quot;special effects&quot;, but that doesn't sound like what you're looking for. <br>To &quot;ripple&quot; a sizeable sheet without scarring the surface, you might be better off with the &quot;drape&quot; method: pre-build a (heat-resistant) &quot;rippling&quot; framework to lay it on, then heat the entire thing in a oven until the plastic &quot;sags&quot; into the form. Just be VERY careful of the heat setting(s) as plexi can FLASH into flames when it reaches the right (wrong!) temperature. (Just keep an eye on it - if it starts to &quot;bubble&quot;, you've over-shot - it's already many degrees HOTTER than needed for bending, but will still be a little COOLER than the &quot;flash&quot; point, so you can prevent a fire...) <br>Alternately, depending on the thickness of plastic you want, there are several excellent 'ibles on building your own vacuum-forming jig...
Thank you Dr dB! (Hoping you are a real-live person and not a robot)<br><br>I will try your method - I have a small piece of corrugated iron roof sheet with a nice ripple that should do the trick - I'll be standing by with fire extinguisher<br><br>You alluded to chemicals - I am an artist and stumbling into sculpture and accumulating knowledge as I go along - what chemicals will badly frost and/or craze the Plexi?!?! This sounds cool<br><br>Yours<br>Swerdna
how'd you cut it?<br />
I think I&nbsp;just used a small-tooth hacksaw. I've heard of other people using a utility knife to score, and then snap-off, plexiglass, but I&nbsp;haven't tried it.<br />
Scoring'n'snapping works nicely, but does leave a somewhat-ragged edge needing scraping, sanding or &quot;fire-polishing&quot; to &quot;pretty-it-up&quot;. If dimensioning were critical, you'd want to allow an extra half-millimeter so you can &quot;dress it down&quot; to precise measurements...
it's actually called a heat stripper, stephenniall! we make photo frames at our school! Does anyone Know how to stick plexiglass to itself? that I need to Know...Help!
If it's like English Perspex (methyl methacrylate) you can &quot;weld&quot; it with chloroform.<br><br>If you dissolve some scrap bits in the chloroform it can be used as a glue.<br><br>DON'T BREATHE TOO MUCH OF THE SOLVENT IN, IT'LL QUICKLY KNOCK YOU OUT!!
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT6Ow_cBTps&amp;feature=related">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hT6Ow_cBTps&amp;feature=related</a> &lt;---here!<br/>
You could do it the easy way, buy a ShopShield. <a href="http://www.computerdust.com/">http://<a href="http://www.computerdust.com">www.computerdust.com</a>/</a>
will a hair dryer be hot enough to soften the acrylic?
I think that means no.
If you notice, each of those 3 comments were posted ~30 days from each other. Also, that means NONONONONONONO NO WAY! HAIR DRYERS are far too inaccurate, and the heat produced is not nearly enough to heat the acrylic before it cools again. Unless you happen to build sort of a tunnel for the hot air so it is recycled throughout, but that takes WAY more time to build than the time it might take to borrow a heat gun from a friendly neighbour...
Hmm i did something like this for my psp At school with a small piece of acrylic and a Strip bender (think its called that)
there is a very expensive dell monitor that features the same thing that you have but with glass
Hi Mvrogy, Cool thing you made from the acrylic...just one suggestion...this might help your cover from falling off the monitor...the upper folded part of the cover could be further folded 90 degrees downwards so that the cover keeps from falling off..but to do this you might have to remove the lower folding of the cover....
I did something similar for my laptop that rides shotgun in the car with me. The display was too bright at night, and instead of fiddling with the brightness controls, I built something like this that slips over the top (and slips right back off) lined with window tinting from WalMart. Works great, still readable, but the cops don't pull me over anymore. It's only running a GPS officer...
Basically, just a 3/8-1/2" hole drilled at the corners where the bends meet(before bending) to prevent the lexan from cracking- which a tight enough radius with .1" will do pretty easily. Another thing that's occured to me is that it'd be pretty easy to just add some extra bends to the side tabs so the whole thing will snap onto the LCD. Might try that as soon as I get some 1/16" stuff.
I believe I used a 0.1" thickness for my sheet. I got it at my local Menards, which is similar to Home Depot, for about $6. Vrogy, what are these 'circular relief cuts at the corners' you speak of?
for the general public, I have purchased lexan from the home depot. I dont know th exact thinkness, but it was no doubt less than 1". They have a (rather) large selection of it with different tints, thicknesses, and "breakabilities" (?) Prices range from 3$ - lots of $'s
You know, some circular relief cuts at the corners might be a good thing if anyone uses thicker plastic- what thickness is herein used? For the general public, acrylic and lexan can be bought in .1" thick sheets at Home Depots, but to get some really nice-to-bend 1/16" (.0625ish) lexan, McMaster is my favorite.

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