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Anyone built a DIY hot wire bender for perspex

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Andy C21/03/2020 11:26:27
163 forum posts

Just wondered if anyone has experience of building a perspex hot wire bender please? Daughter wants one or her one of her school projects and obviously cant go into school now to use theirs, so how much effort is it to make one?


kc21/03/2020 11:38:07
6423 forum posts
173 photos

I didn't know what the item was but a Google search produced some youtube videos of how to make one.

Howver from memories of making photo processing gadgets in Perspex i think boiling water makes bends possible.

N Pritchett21/03/2020 19:57:45
21 forum posts

Please answer the following questions:

How thick is the acrylic that you want to bend?

What is the maximum bend length?

Are you comfortable wiring up a project with some mains wiring involved?

Some experimentation will be required to get the best results. Are you up for that?

Do you have some spare acrylic to test the unit?

Andy C22/03/2020 16:24:04
163 forum posts

3mm thick, about 7” long bends.

might have spare, not sure.l

Happy to play with wiring yes.

N Pritchett22/03/2020 17:43:02
21 forum posts

Hi Andy

is this just for a temporary, or a ‘proper job’ where spending more than the basic may be worth it?

for a very basic solution you will need the following:

1/ some nichrome wire, could be salvaged from a bar heater element; like the ceramic rods with the coiled wire wrapped round in a spiral groove.

2/ some MDF/ply for a small table surface and vertical fence (12mm or more thickness would make for simple build).

3/ a length of aluminium U channel (12 or 15mm available from B&Q. Ideally matching the thickness of the MDF)

4/ a tension spring to provide pulling force of about 1kg. Only needs enough length to stretch about 20mm at that force).

5/ a few screws etc.

6/ some ‘hookup wire’

Following this, we need a bit of info about the nichrome wire you can lay your hands on in order to work out the voltage/ amps needed to achieve the temperature necessary. With the short length, the PSU is likely to need low voltage and high current. Do you have a multimeter to measure resistance?

The idea is to have about a 300mm x 400mm table with aluminium U channel along the 400mm edge so the open side is flush with the table surface.

Add a narrower table to the other side of the channel (so the plastic is supported both sides of the bend). Best way is to screw all three pieces down onto a couple of battens which act as support edges under the sides to the complete table. The heating wire will be fitted along the U channel, not touching it and about 2mm below the table surface.

The end fixings for the wire will depend on the actual wire you get.

More to follow when you have the wire info smiley


N Pritchett22/03/2020 18:09:47
21 forum posts


I’ll run an experiment a bit later to check my hot wire foam cutter to see if the wire I use for that will be suitable. If so, I can send you some.

Andy C28/03/2020 19:19:16
163 forum posts

Neil, and all, having thought more and discussed with daughter we have decided to park this at the moment. Thanks for your help though Neil. One day I might still attempt this though.

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