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Jackie McGowan
11-05-2008, 3:56 PM
Hi,
I've been experimenting with bending acrylic and this is one of my projects. Black acrylic cuff bracelets lasercut/engraved and bent into shape.

I put the flat acrylic in my oven (preheated to 270) on parchement paper on a cookie sheet for 6 or 7 minutes. Take it out with gloves on. Bend it to shape, been using a soda can to make the initial bend then bend the ends more with my hands. Drop it into a bowl of cold water. If it's not right reheat it.

I had laser cut holes for the one with the metal ornament in it.

Has anyone done/tried any thing like this?

Brian Robison
11-05-2008, 4:03 PM
I like that film idea!!!

Joe Pelonio
11-05-2008, 4:17 PM
Very imaginative ideas. I would avoid the intricate detail for bracelets, though. The film one should be fine, but on any impact those others could break, with sharp edges that could injury people. You have to consider liability these days.

Dee Gallo
11-05-2008, 4:43 PM
Oh Jackie! You are genius! I love this idea to pieces! Now, I'm going to have to get some colored acrylic.


Thanks, dee

Jackie McGowan
11-05-2008, 8:10 PM
Thanks everyone. Yea the film Idea would be cool for grandma with the grand kids etc. and Joe your right I need to be careful about the ones that may break more easily. I guess I'll have to test them out for a while and see how they hold up, although they do seem pretty strong. but better safe than sorry :)

Keith Outten
11-05-2008, 9:58 PM
Jackie,

You obviously have a talent for heat bending. I suggest you think about engraving and bending Dupont Corian, it takes about 320 degrees F and twenty minutes of soak time to get 1/2" thick Corian soft but the end result is a much more durable item that would be of higher value and less risk to your business insurance. Quarter inch thick Corian would take less soak time.

Quarter inch thick Corian can be laser cut with a 60 watt machine, raster engraving is easy enough even with low power lasers.

I make ADA door signs for CNU and for other customers in my shop. Yesterday I made a couple of miniature Corian ADA door style name plaques for my daughter and her roommate, I even engraved their names in Braille and inserted Braille balls. While I was at it I made two smaller ones for keychains, I hope the girls will like them...we shall see :)

I will try to get a couple of pictures tomorrow so you can see the scale and the detail.
.

Kim Vellore
11-05-2008, 10:42 PM
Keith,
How thin can one get in corian.
Kim

Bob Cole
11-06-2008, 12:16 AM
You can get Corian down to 1/4" but most of the styles are in 1/2". Look at surfaces.dupont.com.

I jumped on the Corian bandwagon. Thank you Keith! It is truly an amazing product.

Keith Outten
11-06-2008, 8:07 AM
Bob,

Your welcome, I love using Corian in my shop for all kinds of projects. It provides something different and the price isn't really that bad when you consider the difference it makes in your project fees which easily double and triple.

Last year I purchased a sheet of 1/4" Glacier White Corian, it was $114.00 as I recall. The standard sheet size for 1/4" is 30" by 96", much smaller than the 1/2" thick sheets which are 144" long.

I often re-saw Corian on my band saw to get 1/8" material for custom name badges and other projects. I haven't thermally bent the thin stuff yet but I have been thinking about buying a small toaster oven to heat small pieces rather than having to use my large heat press. i have to admit I have been inspired by Jackie's threads and her bending projects, it opens the door for some really classy stuff that could be made with thin Corian.

.

Belinda Williamson
11-06-2008, 8:31 AM
Nice work Jackie! Really interesting and unique. Thanks for sharing. I have some scrap black Corian so I may try Keith's suggestion when I have some free time. You are very talented!

Keith Outten
11-06-2008, 10:07 AM
Just for grins here is a picture of a couple of Corian door signs and the 1/4" thick name plaques I made yesterday. The two large signs are 1/2" thick Corian, the others are all 1/4" thick.

The red door sign is a sample that will be sent to a potential customer, I haven't installed the tactile text or the braille yet. The two name plaques in the middle of the picture are basically a takeoff on the CNU design and the two small ones are for keychains.

Sorry for the glare from the clear acrylic braille balls, I haven't found a way to prevent it, since the balls are spheres you can't move in any direction and eliminate the flash glare. On white door signs I have been using white braille balls for several months.

Now I need to start thinking about bending possibilities for these kinds of little projects :)
.

Keith Outten
11-06-2008, 11:27 AM
Here are a couple of pictures I just scanned from one of Duponts brosures. Possibly they will give you some ideas.

Ken Dolph
11-06-2008, 1:13 PM
Keith,

For small bending an actual toaster has worked fine for me. I made letter openers with a twisted handle. Ther are made of 1/4" Corian and I put just the handle part in the toaster. When it popped up, I quickly twisted them and held until cool. For larger pieces I use an old broiler oven. Just have to keep the temperature below 350 degrees.

One of my first attempts at bending Corian was my coffee cup. I bent it around a 4" PVC pipe (I like Coffee)

I have also made several coat hooks see picture.

I made quite a few Butterflies like the one you posted.

I have even made dies and pressed in a bass relief on the bottom of bread trays. Corian will take a simple image well.

Oh, I almost forgot you can use a cookie cutter to cut out designs when you take Corian near its max temperature of 350 degrees F. I use a press now but the first time I just covered the cookie cutter and whacked it with a hammer.

Cheers

Chris Hanson
11-06-2008, 1:23 PM
Keith,

What technique/materials do you use to do your color fill? I have tried a couple different approaches but haven't been satisfied.

Chris

Steve Clarkson
11-06-2008, 2:25 PM
One of my first attempts at bending Corian was my coffee cup. I bent it around a 4" PVC pipe (I like Coffee)




Ken,

I love coffee too.....but I'm having a hard time visualizing how you bent Corian into a coffee cup......that doesn't leak.

Got any pictures of it?

Thanks!

Frank Corker
11-06-2008, 3:16 PM
Jackie, fabulous job, shows great artistic talent. Nice bending, has to be said, faultless. Keith love the corian too.

Ken Dolph
11-06-2008, 3:21 PM
Steve,

I made it about 16 years ago. It is old and ugly but holds coffee fine.

I cut 1/4" Corian to 4"x 11". Then heated it to 350 degrees F for 15 minutes in a broiler oven.

I wrapped (over wrapped) this around a 3" (not 4") PVC pipe. Clamped and left to cool.

After cooling, I sliced through the overwrap on the tablesaw.

I glued in the handle with wicking CA. The handle is 1/2" material with the fingerholes drilled with a spade bit. I rounded the sharp edges with a 1/4" roundover routerbitl

I flattened the top and bottom on a wide belt sander.

Then glued on a square of 1/4" Corian to the bottom.

I cut off the excess of the square while rounding over the bottom with a 3/8" roundover bit. I used the same bit to round over the inside of the lip.

Waited a day for full cure of CA. Added Coffee.

Does that help.

Steve Clarkson
11-06-2008, 4:21 PM
That's awesome!

Dee Gallo
11-06-2008, 4:59 PM
Ken, that has to be one of the coolest things I've ever seen. I don't know what "CA" is, but it obviously did the job. GREAT inventing job! Thanks for sharing. This forum never ceases to amaze me.

Frank Corker
11-06-2008, 5:48 PM
Wow Ken, looks like a 'bought one'

Jackie McGowan
11-07-2008, 12:18 AM
Keith,
I would love to try the corian but I only have a 25W machine. Even if that is enough to cut 1/8" thick I don't have a band saw to make the thinner pieces. Those photos are cool though :)

Keith Outten
11-07-2008, 4:52 AM
Keith,

What technique/materials do you use to do your color fill? I have tried a couple different approaches but haven't been satisfied.

Chris

Chris,

I've used just about every kind of paint I know of on one Corian project or the other. I use Testors model paint a lot on engraved plaques, you can purchase Testors paint in a kit with a variety of colors and it dries fast and very hard. On small plaques I often use Q-Tips rather than brushes because I can throw them away and don't have to bother cleaning the brush, it saves time when you have plaques that require multiple colors.

I use rattle cans most of the time on door signs and other large signs at CNU. I prefer the Ace Hardware brand of paint over Rustoelum or Krylon because sandpaper will last much longer without loading up when you sand the surface.
.

Keith Outten
11-07-2008, 4:54 AM
Ken,

Your coffee cup gets my "Very Cool" award. I have to make one now and that's all there is to it :)

.

Ken Dolph
11-07-2008, 11:01 AM
That means a lot comming from you. Your stuff is usually "way cool". My cup does not hold a candle to the pieces that started this thread.

Ken

Bob Cole
11-07-2008, 7:36 PM
Ken,

Your coffee arm must be larger than your other arm. I would expect the corian coffee mug to be a little heavier than a standard coffe mug.

That is really cool. With everyone talking about bending Corian, I need to give it a try. I wonder if I can bend it into a chastity belt for my daughter :)

Benedict Roussos
11-08-2008, 1:37 PM
smart idea. But with acrylic isn't it a litle fragile??

James Rambo
11-08-2008, 8:21 PM
Keith,
Can corian be put through a surface planer. I dont have a bandsaw either, but, if you cvan saw it I would think it could be planed.

Keith Outten
11-08-2008, 9:58 PM
James,

I have never used my planner to surface Corian but I remember a conversation somewhere on the Net where it was discussed. I believe someone said that they had good results. Sounds a bit risky to me, possibly narrow pieces might be OK but a wide piece of Corian would most likely strain the motor on my planner and my blades are HSS and not carbide which is recommended for Corian.

The short answer is that I don't know :)
.

Ken Dolph
11-10-2008, 12:25 PM
I have used a power planer on Corian. It worked fine on many feet of 3" wide matrial. The one time I had problems was on the initial entry. I went too fast and shattered one of the Carbide inserts. I would not take too much off per pass though.

As always with Corian a very slow feed rate keeps the strain off the material and the fine dust down.

James Rambo
11-10-2008, 5:35 PM
Thanks Keith and Ken I have a few peices of 3 inch wide countertop backsplash I will try this and see if it causes and damage, of course I will take very small amounts of at first.

Chris Hanson
11-10-2008, 9:18 PM
Keith,

Thanks for the info. I tried spray paint but had issues with the paint bleeding under the tape/protective film. Maybe I was a little heavy-handed with the spray.

Chris

Ken Dolph
11-11-2008, 11:19 AM
Bob

It is 1/4" Corian and no heavier than a good china mug of the same size.

James,

You could resaw 3" on your table saw, just go slow and steady. Use a featherboard to hlod flat against the fence.

Chris

Don't bother with the masking. Just sand off the excess paint and polish to desired level.

I hope these help.

Kellie Reinhart
11-20-2008, 12:54 PM
Jackie,

These are really cool! What is the thickness of the acrylic you used?

Kellie

Jackie McGowan
11-21-2008, 12:50 AM
Kellie,

I used 1/8" acrylic on these.

Margaret Turco
11-26-2008, 3:46 AM
To bring back this thread.... I'm way too cheap to heat up the oven to try to bend this acrylic but it worked pretty well just in boiling water. This piece is just about 3" long so I didn't try to bend it too much. It does stand up by itself though. I have a young friend named Chance and she should like this for her room.

Frank Corker
11-26-2008, 8:57 AM
Very (very very very) tiny picture there Margaret, but the item looks good when I view it with four pairs of glasses on.

Bill Cunningham
11-27-2008, 8:39 PM
To bring back this thread.... I'm way too cheap to heat up the oven to try to bend this acrylic but it worked pretty well just in boiling water. This piece is just about 3" long so I didn't try to bend it too much. It does stand up by itself though. I have a young friend named Chance and she should like this for her room.

I had forgot all about boiling Acrylic.. Years ago, we used to boil 6" dia x 1/4" thick acrylic tubes into a oval shape, and use it as the main body for a underwater camera housing.. We would sit on it until it squashed oval.. I Have to admit, it would squash a lot faster today :rolleyes:

Martin Boekers
11-28-2008, 12:30 PM
Great idea! Thanks for sharing it!

I'm thinking napkin holder, just in time for the holidays!


Marty

Steve Clarkson
11-30-2008, 3:12 PM
it worked pretty well just in boiling water. .

Margaret,

I tried putting the acrylic in boiling water and it bent......but just barely. Can you please advise us non-cooks on how to boil it so it bends (ie. how much water, how long, etc.)?

I can't believe I'm ACTUALLY asking how to boil water............

Frank Corker
11-30-2008, 4:18 PM
Put it in a pan and boil it. Keep it going until the temperature of the acrylic heats enough to change it's shape. Don't put your hand in to check that it is boiling and switch off the oven when you are finished playing.




..:D

Margaret Turco
11-30-2008, 5:15 PM
OK, I looked up the melting point of acrylic and it's around 265 F. Water here at altitude boils at around 200 F so I thought that would be close enough. I remember doing this with thermoformable plastic in a previous life so thought it would be worth a try. I was not going for an acute bend and my sample has really small areas where it's all held together so I was afraid to bend it very much. I'm sorry I can't be really specific but I had the water at a strong boil and it took maybe 1-2 minutes to get soft enough to bend. I just held it with tongs and bent it against the side of the pan while in the boiling water. I also don't know if this would work with very thick acrylic. For a more pronounced bend I'm going to try using two pairs of pliers on a solid piece of acrylic. The sample I made was 0.170" thick. Does that help at all?

Steve Clarkson
11-30-2008, 5:57 PM
I was trying to bend 1/8"......I left it in for about 5 minutes. I guess I'll try the oven next......wish me luck. If you never hear from me again Frank, you'll know it didn't go well.....

Dee Gallo
11-30-2008, 6:48 PM
I used boiling water to see what it would do - took about 10 minutes and I bent it in the water with silicone tongs. It didn't get floppy, but bent enough to allow them to stand on a desk, which is what I was after. If I didn't like the bend, I could put it back in to reshape.

These were done with 1/8" Radiant, which is maybe different from regular acrylic because of the film. This stuff lights up with great colors if backlit, as in the left pic. The pic on the right is with a flash. Rastered hard, it gets a rough texture pattern. Fun stuff!

Thanks for the idea, Jackie!

Frank Corker
11-30-2008, 7:20 PM
I was trying to bend 1/8"......I left it in for about 5 minutes. I guess I'll try the oven next......wish me luck. If you never hear from me again Frank, you'll know it didn't go well.....


Steve on a more serious note, please do be careful bunging it in an oven, acrylic goes up pretty quickly once it gets lit and it's not nice stuff to put out. Other than that, burn yourself silly old boy.

James Stokes
11-30-2008, 11:42 PM
For a lot of the acrylic I bend I use a 12 dollar heat gun from harbor freight.

Frank Corker
12-01-2008, 4:42 AM
Yep a heat gun would do it much better and much more controlled.

Marina Georgiou
10-14-2009, 8:31 PM
oh my god i had so many questions and queries being a newbie to laser cutting.. and i specifically wanted information on how those bends were made and here they are.. They are so gorgeous!! Is it a hard process you think?
Really impressed. The holes were cut when they were hot.. as soon as you got out of the oven..
Excellent love them (=

Dan Hintz
10-15-2009, 6:46 AM
The holes were cut when they were hot.. as soon as you got out of the oven..
No, the holes were cut with the laser. Once the entire bracelet was cut (in flat form), it was heated and bent.

Michael Hunter
10-15-2009, 7:20 AM
The recommended temperature range for forming Perspex is 140 to 170 deg.C (284 to 340 deg.F) when it becomes "flexible and rubber-like".

A domestic oven is OK, but the temperature control is normally a bit crude so using a thermocouple to check the actual temperature in the oven is a good idea.
I got my thermocouple as part of an electronics multimeter "kit" for about 30. The thermocouple wire is about 2 feet long so goes into the working part of the oven fine, with the meter on the worktop.
(Do this when the wife is OUT - the kitchen gets very smelly!)

Lucite/Perspex do a handbook with everything you could ever want to know about machining and forming Perspex. It is available on-line in various places - http://www.atlasplastics.co.uk/acrylic.htm has it in pdf form and I'm sure plenty of US sites will have it too.


PS
Jackie's film-strip bangle is terrific! My dauighter is busy setting herself up as a wedding photographer and I'm going to make one for her - I hope you don't mind me copying the idea.

John Barton
10-15-2009, 7:54 AM
Hi,
I've been experimenting with bending acrylic and this is one of my projects. Black acrylic cuff bracelets lasercut/engraved and bent into shape.

I put the flat acrylic in my oven (preheated to 270) on parchement paper on a cookie sheet for 6 or 7 minutes. Take it out with gloves on. Bend it to shape, been using a soda can to make the initial bend then bend the ends more with my hands. Drop it into a bowl of cold water. If it's not right reheat it.

I had laser cut holes for the one with the metal ornament in it.

Has anyone done/tried any thing like this?

Have never done - have never tried but find them really cool and AWESOME! Very very very creative! Thanks for sharing.

Dave Johnson29
10-16-2009, 5:17 PM
Yep a heat gun would do it much better and much more controlled.

You can also use 50/50 water and straight-antifreeze. Ideally do it outside and use the side burner on your BBQ or a gas camp stove. Use a candy thermometer and heat it in a saucepan to the required temp.

Don't fill the saucepan more than about half full. Be careful as the boiling point is around 370F. Cool it and store it and you can reuse.

Afterward, clean everything well as antifreeze is poisonous to humans and animals. I got a large stainless steel pot from a thrift store for 3-bucks and I leave it in that. The thermometer also stays with the pot, just to be safe.

Cynthia Block
04-12-2010, 4:15 PM
Jackie I am new to laser engraving, but absolutely love the bracelets. I would like to make something similar, perhaps in an earring. I found some clip art I want to use (bird), but cant figure out how to cut it. Doesn't it have to be red in order to cut thru? If so, did you draw all of the intricate details of the bracelet or am I missing something here? Excuse my asking so many questions! I would love to learn your technique. THanks!

Dan Hintz
04-13-2010, 6:09 AM
The red is more of an accepted standard between users for vector cut lines. They could be green, as long as you set up your laser to understand that green means "vector cut". Clip art is usually raster-based, so you'll need to spend some time converting it over to a vector outline.

Belinda Williamson
04-13-2010, 6:29 AM
Jackie I am new to laser engraving, but absolutely love the bracelets. I would like to make something similar, perhaps in an earring. I found some clip art I want to use (bird), but cant figure out how to cut it. Doesn't it have to be red in order to cut thru? If so, did you draw all of the intricate details of the bracelet or am I missing something here? Excuse my asking so many questions! I would love to learn your technique. THanks!

Cynthia,

Jackie hasn't been very active posting on the forum recently. You might want to send her a PM or an e-mail with your question. She's a super nice person!

Emily Wilson
04-14-2010, 8:22 AM
The Bracelets are beautiful! What sort of Watt laser are you using?
I have always been afraid to cut plastics I think I could live with some bravery
at this point. Your designs are wonderful and varied. Thank you so much for showing them. I am mostly a card stock and paper cutter.

Emily Wilson
Sculptor