How to Bend Acrylic Plastic

Bending acrylic is not difficult, but you should have a strip heater to do it. The heater has a heating element running between two tubes that are water cooled. The tubes hold the acrylic sheet in place and should be adjustable to the thickness of your acrylic sheet. Once the acrylic is heated, it can be bent. When it cools down, it will hold its shape.

Step 1

Allow the strip heater to heat up.  You don’t want to try bending the sheet too soon or it will either break or simply not hold its shape.

Step 2

Insert the sheet between the tubes of the strip heater so that the tubes are at the place where you want to bend the acrylic sheet. 

Step 3

Bend the acrylic into the position you want.  Bend away from the heated side because this side will have more give to it and be less likely to crack.

Bend the plastic slowly because even heated, fast movements could snap the plastic.  Use clamps and weights to hold the acrylic sheet in the shape you want.

Step 4

Allow the acrylic to cool while in its new shape.  You can allow this to be done on open air with something that will hold the sheet in place until it is fully cooled, or you can place the sheet in a cooling jig if you have one.

Things You Will Need

  • Acrylic sheet
  • Strip heater
  • Clamps

About the Author

James Rada, Jr. was a newspaper reporter for eight years and earned 23 awards from the Maryland Delaware D.C. Press Association, Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists, Maryland State Teachers’ Association and CNHI. He also worked for 12 years as a marketing communications writer, earning a Print Copywriter of the Year Award from the Utah Ad Federation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications.

Photo Credits

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