Heating and shaping sheet acrylic--Possible archive material


Master Member
When I had my Fett visor made, I watched the guy as he calmly heated the acrylic with butane torch and shaped it to fit the helmet.

I don't have a butane torch.

I need to take 1" x 6" strip of clear acrylic and bend around a 6" or 7" diameter.

What is the best "in-home" method of doing this?
If you had a heat gun that would work, a hairdryer is too wimpy. Best bet, put some aluminum foil down on a cookie sheet and put it in the oven. Don't put it too close to the heating element as it will boil and bubble will form in your plastic. Wear gloves, and monitor it closely. You may get a plastic smell in the house, but you can open a door for a while, it won't make your food cooked in the oven taste like plastic.
Thanks Scott...

That's what I had in mind, and you addressed some of my concerns as well (odor in the home).

Is it possible you (or anyone) may have more specific details as to time and temperature?
I would start with a low temperature at around 300 degrees first. If that doesn't do the trick, go up to 400 degrees. When you place the tinfoil on the cookie sheet, make sure it's smooth and wrinkle free. You'll want the cookie sheet centered in the oven. Make sure your plastic has any protective film removed from it. It would be best to experiment first. I wouldn't expect to get it right on the first try, so having another piece handy may help.
I've successfully heated / bent 1/8" acrylic with the oven set at ~220 degrees.
You also can leave the protective paper on the side that you will be bending towards. If you are bending / forming the sheet over an object, this paper will help prevent scratching.
225 is the recommended temp for heating acrylic in the oven, and it should remain pliable for two or three minutes after removing (plastic craftbook I found at the library) I have also vacformed acrylic, but it is not fun, and don't expect the detail that styrene or abs can pull (think jolly rancher candy texture versus lifesavers)
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What is the best "in-home" method of doing this?</TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE><SPAN CLASS=$row_color>

I am currently working on replacement ERG helmet visors that require a nice bend. I was using a molded form to shape each one to exact bend. I discovered a problem with Don Post Royal Guard helmet's in that the visor curvature is not uniform from one helmet to another. In order for the visor to fit snuggly there is some tweeking required. Hot water solved the problem and allowed for quick repeated modifications to get it right.

I am assuming this strip is less than 1/8" thick. That particular size strip is pretty easy to bend though some brands seem to vary in pliability. A pan of water at a simmer(steady stream of small bubbles rising to surface just before a full rolling boil) will do the trick. About 212 degrees F

This way you can avoid hot spots, overheating and plastic smell. PLUS - unless you really stretch or twist the heck out of the plastic in the bending process, you should be able to reimmerse same piece as many times as you need to get it right.

Use tongs to retrieve acrylic and a set of oven gloves to bend around form. You can even run a stream of cool tap water on the acrylic to get it to set while you hold it in place.
Very cool. Thank you--everyone. There is enough info in here to get me going without getting me in the emergency room!

I'm doing this for stand for a ST Voyager 29th Century Phaser... If you've handled one of these, you know they're a bitch to display unless you have it laying on it's side. I'll post pics if it comes out well.

Mods, this (to me, at least) is very useful info. Shall we archive it...?
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