This week began a project in the workshops which involves learning how to cut, fold and shape plastics and metals, which we are going to be doing for the next 3 weeks. We’ve been put into small groups with the intention of working together in the final week to piece together a structure made of plastic and metal. Up until then we are each individually learning how to work with these materials.
On Wednesday we looked adapting acrylic and the different machines that can be used to do this. We were each given a piece of acrylic and instructed to draw a line on it marking where it would be cut into two pieces. As it is plastic and covered in a protective sheet this could be done easily with a marker pen and ruler, but could also be done with a scriber.
After marking my piece up I took it to the bandsaw to cut it.
Next I filed down the edges of my plastic using both sandpaper and a hand file. The sandpaper can be used both wet and dry and it gets rid of the teeth marks from the bandsaw making the edge smoother.
Next I folded one of my acrylic pieces on the linebender which applies heat to part of the plastic and once hot enough it can be bent against any hard edge to create a fold in it. I bent my plastic 3 times and in different directions as it is very easy to fold acrylic.
My other piece of acrylic remained in its original shape but I used a machine called a buffer to smooth out the edges instead of a hand file. The buffer machine can be used dry or it can be waxed to ensure the edges have a fine polish.
Finally we used a machine called a vacuum former which can be used to mold plastic into shapes. For this we used one sheet of plastic per group and created two molds: