Styrene (aka Polystyrene, High Impact Polystyrene or HIPS) is an awesome material. You can cut it with craft knife, scissors, rotary tool, a CNC or a Laser Engraver. It's pretty widely available. It's durable. It's easy to form. It's pretty easily acquired. It's inexpensive.
I had some scrap available from a previous project and decided to make this instructable!
This process is a simplified version of Line Bending. We will need only a small torch, a craft knife and a marker.
Step 1: Tools & Materials
1) Small Butane Torch.
This will be used for heating the plastic. I use a Radio Shack - Mini Butane Gas-Powered Iron. These are available at most Radio Shack stores or you can order one [here].
2) Washable Marker or Pencil.
This will be used for marking the material.
3) Craft Knife or Razor.
Used for cutting the material. Heavy duty scissors will also work.
4) Styrene sheet.
Also known as High Impact Polystyrene or HIPS. This will be our material. I am using a 7.6" x 11" sheet at 0.03" from ACE Hardware for around $2.00. More sizes and thickness are available at most Hobby stores like Hobby town. Sheets of varying size and thicknes ordered online for around $0.62 a piece (with volume discounts available) at E Street Plastics or at volume from Professional Plastics
Step 2: Cut and Mark
Cut a piece of your Styrene into a strip about 1/2" Wide and 4" or 5" long. Longer is better as you can always trim it down later. With the Washable Marker mark the width of the door on your Styrene strip starting about half an inch away from the end. I'm usually pretty crazy about accurate measurements, but not today.
Step 3: Heat the First Bend
Light up your Torch and hold it about 3" away from the bottom of your Styrene. Move the torch back and forth along the first line you mark you made until the longer end begins to droop.
Grab the drooping end and bend the Styrene at a 45 degree angle along your mark and hold it there for about 30 seconds. The plastic will cool and harden very quickly. It's still hot! So let it cool for about a minute before proceeding to the next step.
Step 4: Making the Second Bend
Do basically the same thing as the previous step, but move to your next mark.
Step 5: Make the Hook
Now we will move to the hook.
On the long end of your strip choose and heat an area where you want the hook to start.
Bend the end in the opposite direction about 135 degrees (or until it looks right).
Step 6: Hang It Up!
Trim off any excess Styrene and hang the hook off of the top of your chosen door!
Use this technique to form all sorts of objects!