Polycarbonate sheets are used in a number of applications and at some point,you will be required to bend these materials.
There are a number factors you must have in mind whenever you are bending polycarbonate sheets.
To bend a polycarbonate sheet,you need to know the thickness of the sheet and the required radius.The minimum radius which can be realized will depend on the thickness of the polycarbonate material.
During the bending process, the section to be bent is subjected to a given amount of force.In situations where the material cannot withstand these forces, it will break or develop some cracks.
The outer surface will be subjected to a stretching force which will depend on the stiffness of the material, bent radius and thickness of the material.
This process may affect the polycarbonate materials in very many ways. Apart from developing cracks, it is important to note that polycarbonates become less resistant to certain chemical agents when they are subjected to a given magnitude of stress.
That is,as stress increases,it becomes less resistant to quite a number of chemicals.
Ideally, for polycarbonate sheets,high stress is any value which is above 1500psi.How to bend polycarbonate sheets with this precaution in mind can be a simple process.
Of course, bending is one of the most common forming process.
Polycarbonate panels can be bent through the following:
Break bending;Through this process,PC sheets can be bent to attain angles of about 90° though it is not suitable for heavier gauges.
Heavier gauges may break or crack either during the bending process or at a later stage.
This is mainly due to high magnitude of stress which the bend area is subjected to. For heavier gauges, you need to go for heat bending.
Cold bending; In this process, the bending radius will be determined by the thickness of the polycarbonate sheet.
For instance, a PC sheet with a thickness of about 1/8” can have a minimum bending radius of about 12.5”.
Those with a thickness of about 3/16” can have a minimum bending radius of about 18.7” while those with a thickness of ¼” can have a minimum bending radius of about 25.0”.
You can refer to the PC’s data sheet or contact your supplier.
Polycarbonates are thermoplastics and at times, when cold bending fails, heat may be required for the process.
When you’ve opted for DIY process, you will require heat strip, worktable, tape measure, plywood, permanent market and leather gloves.
It is a simple process where you will:
- Prepare the worktable to ensure that it is clean and take the appropriate measurements.
- The plywood should be stuck on both sides of the heat strip and set the temperature to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the protective coating, mark the location you would wish to bend and put on the gloves.
The region you would wish to bend should be aligned with the center of the heat strip. Hand test the softness of that region you had marked.
If it is soft, you can remove it from the heat strip and bend the PC sheet and allow it to cool.