Introduction: How to Make a Corflute Roller-shutter (or Any Other Curved Shape)

Update: I've published an instructable for the rest of the project here. This is also entered into the hurricane lasers contest.

This is my first instructable, and my first contest entry, so if I've done anything wrong, I appologise.
This idea (and the asociated tool design) was part of a GCSE tech project (tip for anyone doing a resistant materials exam; making your own specialised tool gets marks!)
The rest of the project is documented in this instructable

On my project, I decided that I wanted to have a roller shutter, like on old roll-top desks. However, to manufacture a traditional roller shutter would have taken too long. Therefore, I came up with the idea of using corflute (or correx, corriboard, etc). This has other advantages too:
It is recyclable
It is relatively easily cut
It can, if wanted, be signwritten
It is availiable from old "For Sale" signs

The technique I used could also be used to produce a neat curve from corflute.

Step 1: The Idea / Warnings

The Idea:
In order to make the corflute bend, I cut every other flute out of one side of the corflute

Safety Warnings: The cutter I made for this project used 2 scalpel blades. These are sharp, so be carful with them. (I know this is obvious, but I thought I'd better be on the safe side on my first instructable)

Step 2: Making the Tool 1: Materials and Tools

In order to cut the flutes, I manufactured a custom tool out of laser-cut acrylic. If you're only cutting a small amount, you can get away with using a craft knife with the blade in back-to-front (You will have to make two cuts, though)

Materials:  At least 65x75mm 3mm clear acrylic (other materials could be used)
                   2x scalpel blades (I used swann & morton 10A scalpel blades, although the design could be altered for others)
                   2x screws & nuts of approx 2mm diameter or less

Tools:        Laser cutter (the concept probably could be altered for hand cutting, although I have not tried)
                   Drill (preferably a pillar drill, for precision)
                   2mm drill bit
                   Small spanner (I cheated and used a pair of pliers)

The design was intended to go together without glue. When I assembled it, it did, however depending on the precise thickness of the acrylic, you may need to glue it with a small amount of solvent adhesive.

The design is laid out for the laser cutter I had access to, using the software I had access to (2d design). I was given a student copy of this software, so have used it, however IT IS NOT FREE SOFTWARE. If anyone knows a good, free, 2d cad package, I would be intrested to know. In the design, RED is CUT and BLACK is ENGRAVE.

Step 3: Making the Tool 2: Making It

1:  Laser cut all the parts out of 3mm clear acrylic. I used clear acrylic, as it allows the design to snap together, and the transparency
     makes it easier to line up the cutter.

2:  Slot the pieces together. The end of the long slot is slotted into the short slot with the slope on one part, and is pushed foreward
     until the tab snaps down into the second slot.

3:  Slot the scalpel blades into the narrow slots either side of the vertical piece of acrylic. make sure that the sharp edge points
     upwards and forwards, and be careful of the sharp edges.

4:  Line up the slots in the scalpel blades with the slot in the vertical piece of acrylic, and insert the first screw.

5:  Adjust the blades to an appropriate position, and mark the position of the end of the scalpel blade slot on the acrylic.

6:  Drill a 2mm hole where you have marked in the previous step. You will need to remove the scalpel blades before doing this,
     and it will probably reqire a bit of creative clamping in order to do this.

7:  Re-assemble the cutter.

8:  Re-adjust the blades, and insert the second screw through the drilled hole.

Assembly is complete.

Step 4: Cutting the Corflute

1:  Align the blades of the cutter with one flute of the corflute, so that the tips of both blades are in one flute

2:  Push slowly on the back of the cutter until the body of the cutter is entirely on the corflute, and the fin at the back is in the now-cut

3:  Push smoothly down the length of the flute. There is an indentation at the back of the cutter as something to push against, but it is
     advisable to put some form of padding behind this, as doing large sheets can be hard on the thumb. Whilst cutting, take care not
     to wander from the flute you're cutting.

4:  Remove the strip of plastic (Well done to anyone who can find a constructive use for these), and repeat the process on the
     next-but-one flute. With practice, you can increace the speed of the cut.

Step 5: Using It As a Shutter

In my project, I was using this as a roller shutter. For the tracks, I just routed two groves in the ply I was using, and, once these were sanded and waxed, they ran perfectly smoothly.

As a handle, I used a piece of dowel the width of the corflute, and cut a grove in it using a circular saw. I then carefully made rounded tabs at the end (to sit in the grooves) using an electric fretsaw and a belt sander. The corflute was slotted into the grove.This arangement was a bit awkward to put on the corflute the first time (it had to be slotted in from one end, and slid over).

Thank you for reading this instructable, and please vote for me in the Hurricane Laser Contest!

Hurricane Lasers Contest

Participated in the
Hurricane Lasers Contest