Thermal bending of acrylics and plastics

Being able to bend acrylic and plastics ensures we can fabricate a very large number of different products and components. We use two different techniques depending on the plastic type.

Thermal Line Bending

For clear acrylic we employ a thermal bending (lateral) technique using a two beam thermal bend Elite 96 line bender. This can bend plastic from 2mm – 20mm thick up to two bends at a time, to a maximum length of 2440mm/8ft, with a tight radius depending on the thickness of material used.

From experience we know to be very careful when this process is undertaken. Acrylic is 'notch sensitive' which means that if any part of the material fails under stress, the weakness will run through the body of the material as a crack. So the bending process is started once the cut or machined edges have been thoroughly prepared and are error free.


The heating itself can also be problematic, as acrylic has an extremely high rate of expansion when heated - up to 4mm per metre over a 20 deg rise in temperature. When heated to forming temperature, approximately 4% shrinkage will occur.

However, with years of experience behind us, you won’t need to be concerned with these issues. Rest assured that your product will be expertly manufactured to the highest possible quality.

Cold Bending

For polycarbonate we use a break press. Our machine is a 3 metre long CNC Promecam Break press. This is very accurate, cost effective and quick.

Please call us if you have any questions about the techniques we use.

Here is one of our Acrylic bending machines, a Thermobend Elite 96 from CR Clarke & Co (UK) Limited.


Solent Acrylic takes delivery
of a Tekcel Series E CNC Router

This latest addition to its impressive portfolio of machinery and tooling will enable Solent to further enhance their offering to customers.