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Thread: working with ABS

  1. #1
    Newbie panelrodder_81's Avatar
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    working with ABS

    Actually it is more about compound curves with ABS. I basically need to shrink it. Is this possible? I've got a 1953 GMC Panel truck and I bought four foot by eight foot sheets of ABS that I'm using as the base for my custom headliner and interior panels in the back. I'm getting a heat gun tomorow sometime and would like to give it a try so the sooner all you could post the better..... isn't that how it always is!!!
    PanelRodder
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  2. #2
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panelrodder_81
    Actually it is more about compound curves with ABS. I basically need to shrink it. Is this possible? I've got a 1953 GMC Panel truck and I bought four foot by eight foot sheets of ABS that I'm using as the base for my custom headliner and interior panels in the back. I'm getting a heat gun tomorow sometime and would like to give it a try so the sooner all you could post the better..... isn't that how it always is!!!
    PanelRodder
    I guess it depends on the thickness of the sheet and the gun. I'm working on replacing my gauge pod with a custom one.

    I tried a heat gun (only 1000watt) and nothing. I could get it to bow after a considerable amount of time, but anymore detail than that wasn't happening for me.

    This won't work in your situation, but throwing it in the oven (~325f) till it got soft worked out ok.



    Though I'm going to redo the backing and place the abs on it, in the oven. It just firms way too quick.

  3. #3
    Variable Bitrate fonseca's Avatar
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    Spend the extra money for an adjustable heat gun. The first one I bought only had a low and high setting, and--naturally--neither setting was what I needed.
    In progress: M10000; Travla c134; Xenarc 700TSV; Hitachi 80GB 2.5"; 256MB ULP; M2-ATX; ITPS; Powermate; iKEY SL-88 KB; Holux GM-210; Audiobahn ADD51T w/ COAX/optical converter; Road Runner; iGuidance 2.1

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    Newbie panelrodder_81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shotgunefx
    I guess it depends on the thickness of the sheet and the gun. I'm working on replacing my gauge pod with a custom one.

    I tried a heat gun (only 1000watt) and nothing. I could get it to bow after a considerable amount of time, but anymore detail than that wasn't happening for me.

    This won't work in your situation, but throwing it in the oven (~325f) till it got soft worked out ok.



    Though I'm going to redo the backing and place the abs on it, in the oven. It just firms way too quick.
    Wow, that is pretty cool looking considering it was a flat sheet before! I ended up do my engine swap, cracked block for a temporary unbroke one, today instead of working on my interior. The heat gun that I have is pretty sweet so I'm hopeing that it will do what I need. I'm getting the impression since you baked your whole sheet that it needs a pretty even heating to work. I'll start with that and see what happens. Thanks for the help so far but keep it coming. Oh, and as far as thickness it is 1/16 inch. I went with that because I thought it would be easier to work in the compound curves.
    Panelrodder
    1953 GMC Panel Truck
    2007 Pontiac G6
    2008 Chevrolet Silverado
    www.lunacium.com

  5. #5
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by panelrodder_81
    Wow, that is pretty cool looking considering it was a flat sheet before! I ended up do my engine swap, cracked block for a temporary unbroke one, today instead of working on my interior. The heat gun that I have is pretty sweet so I'm hopeing that it will do what I need. I'm getting the impression since you baked your whole sheet that it needs a pretty even heating to work. I'll start with that and see what happens. Thanks for the help so far but keep it coming. Oh, and as far as thickness it is 1/16 inch. I went with that because I thought it would be easier to work in the compound curves.
    What I did was heat it until soft, put on mitts, take it out and press it over this form I made from pipes.

    With my little cheap heatgun, anything other than tiny slight curves I couldn't do. For it to curve, your going to have to heat it all the way across the sheet to get it to bend. Your heatgun might be up for it. But if it's a roof, your going to have a ~5ft line they has to hit probably at least 300.

    As I write this, I realize something. I did that with 3/32. I was about to ask where you got your 1/16 and look around and sure enough. I have 1/16 too.

    I thought I was using the thinnest I had (Got a bunch of smaller sheets). It very well might work out fine with 1/16. Just try not to burn it.

  6. #6
    Newbie HolySdrJR's Avatar
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    What method did you use to tell if it was soft or not? ~how long did you have it in the oven? Right on the rack, or on a cookie sheet type thing? Would it be better to "cook" it on aluminum foil?

    I figured on heating the plastic until it's soft while it's sitting on the piece that I want to to take the shape of. Then gravity would do it's job - but all the heat gun did was disfigure the plastic, I couldn't control the shape of the curves. Now I'll heat it in the oven then slap it on the dash so it'll take the same shape of it, but it's not my oven, so I don't want to ruin it...
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  7. #7
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    have u guys tried vaccum forming??? theres a couple of sites that shows u how to DIY vaccuum formers, all u need is a vacuum cleaner and some alum frames.

    i had some experience working with it cause i DIYed one for my wife, she uses it for dental things like mouthguards etc. pretty easy if you ask me!

  8. #8
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HolySdrJR
    What method did you use to tell if it was soft or not? ~how long did you have it in the oven? Right on the rack, or on a cookie sheet type thing? Would it be better to "cook" it on aluminum foil?

    I figured on heating the plastic until it's soft while it's sitting on the piece that I want to to take the shape of. Then gravity would do it's job - but all the heat gun did was disfigure the plastic, I couldn't control the shape of the curves. Now I'll heat it in the oven then slap it on the dash so it'll take the same shape of it, but it's not my oven, so I don't want to ruin it...
    Too much heat. I tried the heatgun myself a few days ago. You have to keep moving it but you don't really heat it up enough to bend a large piece as the area you just heated cools down before the next segment is really heated up.

    I put aluminum foil down in my oven so it the plastic doesn't make any contact with any surface inside. Preheat to 325f and don't leave it too long. Probably no more than 6 minutes. The one time I overdid it, it started getting wavvy and the skin got bumpy, but it didn't burn or produce fumes or anything.

    It's easy enough to check though, use a pair of pliers and try and lift the sheet, if it bends like heavy paper, it's enough and the whole thing is softened.

  9. #9
    Raw Wave shotgunefx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnmc10
    have u guys tried vaccum forming??? theres a couple of sites that shows u how to DIY vaccuum formers, all u need is a vacuum cleaner and some alum frames.

    i had some experience working with it cause i DIYed one for my wife, she uses it for dental things like mouthguards etc. pretty easy if you ask me!
    I started making the table, just need to find an appropriate electric grill and make the frames.

  10. #10
    Newbie HolySdrJR's Avatar
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    Cool thanks man...

    I'll have to check out this vacuum forming idea, I'm lazy - do you have a link?
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