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Old 07-11-2013, 14:30   #1
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Nichrome wire pastice bender

I'm building the enclosure for my DIY composting head and think I want to fabricate it from 1/4" PVC or Starboard sheets requiring some 24" long clean bends. I can build a bending jig and use Nichrome wire as the heat source. I don't know much about electricity I viewed several You Tube videos, but they recommend a variable transformer. I probably won't be doing this again, so I'd like to keep it simple and cheap...

I initially thought I could use AC with a light dimmer, but I assume the voltage is what needs reduction and the Nichrome wire would still melt.

I figured my other option was 12 v DC with 36" of ~ 26 Gauge wire and a simple on/off switch.

Would anyone be willing to reply with a simplified explanation and offer some inexpensive options?
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Old 07-11-2013, 14:33   #2
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Plastic weld instead?
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Old 08-11-2013, 06:36   #3
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Re: Nichrome wire pastice bender

Mild heat, applied with a heat gun, will help mold King Starboard sheets for curved installations.
Sharper corners must be notched (kerfed), and then heat-shaped.

http://www.kingplastic.com/wp-conten...orkingwith.pdf

Shaping King Starboard

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Old 08-11-2013, 09:45   #4
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Re: Nichrome wire pastice bender

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Mild heat, applied with a heat gun, will help mold King Starboard sheets for curved installations.
Sharper corners must be notched (kerfed), and then heat-shaped.
Thanks for those links Gord, I saw the heatgun vid quite awhile back and couldn't find that particular one this time. I am making rounded bends. YouTube is a resource, but I sorted through a bunch a junk to find very few jewels.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:54   #5
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Re: Nichrome wire pastice bender

I second the heat gun. just bend it around whatever radius you want it to be. I have some 1/4" white board... it's mottled and shiny on one side and looks slightly rough on the other side. It's bends very well with some heat.
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Old 11-11-2013, 15:42   #6
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Re: Nichrome wire pastice bender

We used a heat tape wire just stretched across a hinged board. No special transformer just an on off switch.
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Old 11-11-2013, 22:36   #7
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Re: Nichrome wire pastice bender

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We used a heat tape wire just stretched across a hinged board. No special transformer just an on off switch.
do you mean heat tape like to wrap around pipes in the winter? That's a hot idea! But how does it get hot enough? Did you strip the wire?

I also saw someone that disassembled a hair drier
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:51   #8
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Re: Nichrome wire pastice bender

The nichrome wire w/ a variable autotransformer is a decent way to get a narrow line of adjustable heat. The variable autotransformer permits dialing the level to the required amount.

Be prepared for multiple fuse replacements, they seem to have difficulty at start up.

When I do this I rigid mount one end and use a stiff spring on the other end to maintain the wire under tension.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:02   #9
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Re: Nichrome wire pastice bender

We were bending 1/4 inch lexan. Used the heat wire (single wire by the foot) sold for permanent installation. Bought in a plumbing supply. It was allowed to heat for a bit before bending. This was 35 years ago and I don't remember the details.
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