Bending plexiglass

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D2Cat

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Has anyone tried to heat 1/4" plexiglass and bend it to 90 degrees, or at lest to 60 deg? I have a piece about 55" long and want to put a bend across the entire length about 1 1/2" from the edge.

I'm thinking some nichrome wire and a power supply with the plexiglass laying over the wire on a hinged board.

Any ideas?
 

Ky hills

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Used to have a glass cutting business, we did quite a bit with plexiglass but not with heating it to bend. I see online that it can be done but it would concern me about maintaining the integrity of the glass and looks like it would take a lot of pains to do it precisely. Depending on the thickness of it, could you you cut the piece at the desired point and screw or bolt them together with some L shaped brackets. You can drill holes in it to get the bolts through.
 

greybeard

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I have done it a lot in a former occupation. Often, beyond 90 degrees. Hundreds of pieces, of both Plexiglas® (acrylic) and Lexan® (polycarbonate.)
Acrylic is pretty brittle and 1/4" will often crack along the bend line if not heated before hand. Lexan® is more forgiving but even it would probably need some heat if the bend is to stay exactly as you bent it. Did most of our bending in a manual press brake. If you don't heat it along the bend line on anything thicker than 1/8", it will be pretty hard to keep the sheet from pulling out of the locking clamps.

It's not difficult at all once you get the hang of it, but heat is essential if you desire a precise bend.
 
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D2Cat

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Greybeard, what did you use for heat? Would a heat gun when moved quickly over the area be enough to soften it, or would it crack if not enough heat, and bubble if too hot?
 

greybeard

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Greybeard, what did you use for heat? Would a heat gun when moved quickly over the area be enough to soften it, or would it crack if not enough heat, and bubble if too hot?
Yes, a heat gun will usually work but it helps if the heat gun has one of the special nozzles so you confine the heat to a specific area. But, if we had a big run to do, we had a special gizmo with a wire heating element that we set on top of the sheet for a certain amt of time depending on thickness and ambient temp.

The type Nozzle kit I mentioned:


There are youtube vids on how to make your own strip heater, and this guy's instructions are pretty detailed too:
 

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