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Cool vid from our pals at TAP Plastics showing how to build a strip heater, which is commonly referred to as a “plastic bender,” but really doesn’t do any bending in and of itself: It’s just a long skinny heating element that makes it easy to soften a sheet of plastic along a straight line, so you can bend it with your hands to an arbitrary angle, and/or against a jig for more precise control of the bend. Misnomer aside, it’s still a very handy tool to have in your shop, and a load of fun to use, and fairly easy and inexpensive to DIY, to boot.

If you don’t want to shell out for a new heating element, they can be recovered from a junked space heater or (like this one from Instructables user xeijix) from an old toaster.

Intern’s Corner – The Make: Labs plastic bender

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.

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