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Any tips on how to bend or form thin styrene sheet? I tried holding a piece over the gas burner on our stove, draping it over a metal ruller, hoping it would droop, which is what I want. But that puppy got too hot and nearly melted! What I want is a slight distortion--to replicate bent sheetmetal roofing, which I'm applying to my old-time gas station. BTW, the styrene is .010, which is nearly like paper.
 

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I think a heat lamp will get it hot enough... isn't that what the MythBusters use in their vacuum forming contraption?
 

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I've had very good results using hot water. Get as large a pan as you need (this may be best accomplished when SWMBO is not around, to avoid the inevitable questions or objections). Bring the water up to boiling or near boiling on the stove, then turn the burner off -- this also eliminates the fire risk. Dip the styrene in the hot water and leave it there for anywhere between 15 sec. - 1 minute (depending on the size and thickness of the sheet). You can then form it by hand or over some kind of mandrel or former, if necessary. Note that the sheet will be pretty warm, not enough to burn, but not comfortable when it first comes out of the water.

As with all these techniques, trial and error will show you what works best.
 

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I'll second the hot water technique, though I do it a bit differently. I've had good results by cold-forming the styrene around an apropriate form (I like PVC pipe for a lot of things like this), taping it down well with packing or scotch tape, and "cooking" the whole assembly in water in the microwave, then running it under cold water to cool. I've done up to .040" styrene like this, and the result was a tight sliding fit on the pipe. The trick is taping it down well enough that it won't come loose in the water, and of course you can't use a metal form. I use lots of tape, generally wrapped completely around whatever I'm working on and stretched very tight.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all. I will try both the hairdryer and hot water method, although I'm not sure of exactly what effect I am trying to achieve. I asked myself, "If I were a piece of sheet metal roofing, what would I look like?" But I got no response. So I'll try it and see what results. Or I may just paint the dang whole roof, which already has the battens attached, and let it go (sometimes the 10-foot rule is good enough).
 

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Rumpole of the Bailey:

Rumpole loves the courtroom. Despite attempts by his friends and family to get him to move on to a more respectable position for his age, such as a QC or a Circuit Judge (referred to as Queer Customers and Circus Judges by Rumpole), he only enjoys the simple pleasure of defending his clients at The Old Bailey, London's central criminal court. A devotee of Arthur Quiller-Couch's Oxford Book of English Verse, he often quotes Wordsworth and secretly calls his wife Hilda "She Who Must Be Obeyed" (SWMBO), a reference to the novel She by H. Rider Haggard.[1]


She:

The title is short for "She Who Must Be Obeyed", a translation of the Arabic honorific used for Ayesha by the Amahagger, a tribe whom she has enslaved. In childhood, Haggard's nursemaid used to menace him with an ugly doll which went by the name "she who must be obeyed".[2] (The phrase acquired additional significance in British popular culture as the name by which John Mortimer's character Horace Rumpole refers to his wife.)

While brilliant in court, Rumpole is somewhat henpecked.
 

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Thanks guys, for enlarging my vocabulary.


Torby: that CS Lewis signature line is good.
Les The Wiser
 
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