Bending Perfected*

A project log for Name Tag

Just a name tag

Kevin ArneKevin Arne 09/03/2021 at 00:210 Comments


For quite some time I got hung up on the acrylic bending aspect of this project. In my head, I thought I needed a really small bending apparatus, complete with hinges. The project sat fallow for a while, until I saw Eric Strebel's videos on working with acrylic. All he had was basically a single wire (albeit a fancy water-cooled one), that he used to heat acrylic, after which he put it in a form to shape it. It's got a lot of great tips and you should check it out.

I made my own fancy hotwire jig out of some scrap wood, screws, a spring, nichrome wire, and a GameCube power supply. I only burned myself once with it!

I've never even owned a GameCube, why do I have the power supply of one?

It looks pretty dangerous, but I sized the wire to get the right current flow and the wire itself doesn't hold a lot of heat. I can touch the wire pretty shortly after disconnecting the power, so a lot less fire risk than one might expect. Only catch is that I have to make sure to unplug it when I'm done, but I should be doing that anyways.

Just look at the difference between the previous one (right) and the current approach (left). The striations and deformation from heating the whole piece are totally absent in the new one.

What's Next?

Next, I need to spin a new version of the board. Since I last worked on this project, I've switched from Eagle to KiCad, so I need to port this project to KiCad. I'd also like to switch my ATTiny85 from a QFN package to an SOIC package to make it easier to solder by hand.

I might even play around with a board spin made on my small CNC router. I suspect that soldering SOIC packages without solder mask will be a nightmare, but might learn something.

* By perfected I mean within spec.