hey guys, I don't know why I didn't see your replies before.
Anyway, I started out bending thinner sheets of acrylic using a candle to heat it up. Then moving on to a propane torch, and eventually ended up using a heat gun.
You can get a heat gun for about $10-25 from Home Depot near the paint section. Essentially, you heat both sides of the acrylic along the line for the bend. To get a good, straight line, clamp a board on either side the entire width of the line you want to bend. Heat up both sides as necessary. The acrylic will become pliable and you can bend it to whatever degree you desire.
As far as cutting, I used a knife looking tool made to score acrylic. Score a few times along your cut line and then break. I use a propane torch to melt the edges for a smooth finish...this takes a lot of time and practice. Too much heat with a propane torch will set the edge on fire. Just before the fire, tiny bubbles are introduced into the acrylic (doesn't look good). I haven't seen the acrylic flame up from the heat gun, but it will certainly introduce bubbles if you apply to much heat at once. PM me if you have any questions.