Plexiglas is a solid synthetic transparent material made from organic polymers. Organic glass is used to construct aquariums and shelves, as well as glazing greenhouses, doors and decorative finishes. Since this material belongs to thermoplastics, it becomes plastic when exposed to high temperatures. It is thanks to this property that plexiglass is made flexible.
The process of bending organic glass: 1 - heating, 2 - bending at a right angle, 3 - bending into a tube.
The main ways are flexible plexiglass
To bend the plexiglass at home, it must be heated to a certain temperature (145-165 ° C), which will allow the bending to occur with a minimum load on the material. 100 ° C is enough for bending, but in this case more effort will be needed. It should be remembered that it is necessary to heat not all the material, but only the intended place of the bend.
Plexiglass is flexible with its own hands in the following ways:
Device for the manufacture of organic glass cylinders.
- Boiling. The material for some time immersed in boiling water, where it is heated. After that, the heated glass is removed from the boiling water and bends. This method is not suitable if you need to bend the Plexiglas at a flat angle.
- Use of the construction hair dryer. For this you will need: a building dryer, a large ruler and a pencil. First, a bend line is drawn on the glass, which is heated by a building hairdryer. After heating, the material is bent. If the fold line is long, then this method is not recommended, because while you heat in one place, then in the other plexiglass will have time to cool.
- The use of nichrome wire. The simplest device for bending organic glass at home is a string. Nichrome wire when heated up heats the material. One end of the string is fixed rigidly, and the other is thrown over the roller, and a load for tension is attached to it. After that, the voltage from the regulated power source is applied to the wire, as a result of which it is heated. It should be noted that about 1000 W of power should be fed to 120 cm of wire. The level of heating will depend on the technology of making Plexiglas. After the desired temperature has been reached, the material softens, which will easily be bent at the desired angle.
Figure 1. Thermo-bending machine with an electromechanical drive is used for bending organic glass.
For bending organic glass, you can use a special thermal bending machine (Fig. 1). Such equipment allows you to work with a material thickness of 0.3-200 mm with unlimited width. Today on the market of construction equipment can be found machines with manual, foot, pneumatic and electromechanical drive, which work on the same principle: first, the glass is heated, after which it is given the desired shape, and then cooled.
The machine can be equipped with several heating elements that can be installed at different distances from each other. Depending on the thickness of the sheet, one-sided or double-sided heat-bending equipment can be used.
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Bending of large organic glass
The methods of giving the required form to organic glass, which are described above, allow processing sheets of small sizes. But sometimes it becomes necessary to bend a large enough sheet of glass at home. For this, there is a method called radial bending. For its implementation is applied not painted and not rusty metal pipe, the diameter of which must be equal to the desired bend radius.
The pipe is supplied with clips to hold the processed sheet and is fixed on the stand. After that, using a blowtorch, the pipe is heated to 95-100 ° C. At the same time, glass is bent around it.
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Before you start bending plexiglass, it must be treated with soda solution.
Basic rules for bending organic glass at home
Plexiglass is flexible with an electric soldering iron: a - the soldering iron is pressed against the surface of the material along the bending line, b - by moving the rod along the fold line, the material is removed by one third of the thickness.
- It is necessary to bend the sheet in the direction opposite to the heat source.
- No need to heat the material to too high temperatures. If heated excessively, it will melt. It should be noted that the melting point of extrusion glass is about 160 ° C, and the molten glass is 180 ° C.
- To avoid formation of bubbles on the surface of the material, it is necessary to dry it well.
- The width of the heated zone must be not less than 3 sheet thicknesses. Otherwise, the glass may crack.
- If you need to bend a thin sheet, then the heating zone must be closed non-combustible material.
- Plexiglass cooling after bending should be carried out gradually and evenly.
Following all the rules and recommendations, you can effortlessly bend organic glass at home, giving it the desired shape.