When you think about PVC, you're probably like me, and consider it as a tube. Well, it's pretty easy to get it into flat material for the shop. I flattened a 4" piece of schedule 40 PVC in about 20 minutes. You just need a heat gun and a flat surface.
Odds are, you've got loads of the stuff sitting around the house. Why not recycle it into something useful?
Step 1: Pipe Cutting
To cut the pipe I used my band saw, it's perfect for odd shapes that would be very un-safe to cut on a table saw or miter saw. Don't have a band saw?
Just break out your hand saw. PVC cuts easily with a hand saw or hack saw, and while it might take a bit longer, is totally doable.
Step 2: Heating
So I used a heat gun and was able to flatten this sheet in about 10 minutes. I've already gotten a good deal of feed back on this, and would like to pass it on to you.
1. Heat PVC in a well ventilated area (or any plastic for that matter)
2. Don't heat it on a non-insulated surface. The cold surface of my table saw, was working against me the whole time. Just put a sheet of drywall or plywood underneath it.
3. Clamp it flat. I only had it in clamps for 20 minutes or so. and it came out pretty flat!
Step 3: Dyeing PVC
PVC comes in two colors, white and covered in dirt.
Well not anymore. There was a great how-to from Make: a while back with a great trick for dyeing PVC. Using clear primer and adding colors. You can now have PVC all colors of the rainbow! Which really makes this material much more interesting.
Stain PVC Any Color: http://makezine.com/projects/make-30/stain-pvc-an...
Step 4: Make Something.
Honestly, that's all there is to it. PVC is easily worked with woodworking tools.
You can cut it on the band saw, turn it on the lathe, bend it to form an arch or use glue it up as part of a larger project.
For me, I ended up cutting a Hawkeye logo out on the CNC. He was the only purple clad super hero that came to mind, except for maybe the Hulks under-roos....