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Boiling Water? Really?

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  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Boiling Water? Really?
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Sunday, November 20, 2022 9:17 AM

Hi Ya'll:

        Nuther simple method that is a heckuva lot safer. I stumbled on to a video from a "Blogger"?? On Pinterest. It was under the Building Models thread. he claimed to want to bend a strip, cut from styrene sheet into a curve. This strip(Cut from the sheet, I Presume) Was to be shaped for a inside curve.

        He started about talking about Ramikins, Tongs and Boiling Water! That's when I escaped to here. I am sorry if any of you disagree with this, but there is a safer way! You take your strip that needs curving. You do what so many gift wrappers do year round on our planet. His piece looked to be .030.

          This works for anything up to .080.Then you use heat from a Hair Dryer or a tool especially made for the task called a "Heat Gun".The Latter being developed to shrink the Plastic sheet(Shrink Wrap") used to cover even Real boats and cars for transport! It takes a wee bit longer, But, you can, if you are careful, do this totally cold as well(Cold, Means Room Temp!)

        For the NON-Heat version you do this. Take the strip Before You cut it to fit! And using a piece of Hardwood or a piece of Lexan(Min1/4") i.e. (any hard edged surface that allows the maneuver) Now, Ready? Pull gently from one end to the other,Keeping pressure on the very edge location at a slight offset from the edge. Draw the strip back and forth numerous times, Til it relaxes into the new shape. Cut off what you need and save the rest for another project. It will NEVER relax back to flat.( unless you leave it lying on a flat surface in the sun)

           It's just like drawing a ribbon across the edge of a pair of scissors to get a curve or curlique! If I hadn't been doing this way for over sixty years I would've kept my mouth shut. No way my grown-ups would've let me use the stove much less Boiling Water, even when I was growed up like, and with Children sized little ones of me own. So, I watched the Ladies wrap christmas packages and that's where I got this technique!

       I learned how to fold paper so neatly around most anything, they would let me help. "Exceptin mine of course". See, old ways of doing things haven't gone away. We do them sometimes without realizing how far back the technique goes. Bakers do this too.


  • Member since
    April 2020
Posted by Eaglecash867 on Sunday, November 20, 2022 10:00 AM

I have a Steinel digital temperature controlled heat gun for work, but it also works extremely well for this exact purpose.  I just set the temperature on it to 210 degrees and I can safely bend styrene or straighten out warped/bent parts like I did with one of the horizontal stabs on the Monogram F-100 I have been working on.  With that particular model, the properties of its silver plastic made that job even easier, since you can see a sudden change in its appearance the second it becomes easily bendable.  That horizontal stab is nice and flat/straight now and you can't tell it was ever damaged.

"You can have my illegal fireworks when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers...which are...over there somewhere."

  • Member since
    May 2022
Posted by Eugene Rowe on Sunday, November 20, 2022 10:51 AM

I call it thermo forming,works quite well...I made the turrets of my  Civil War era twin turreted river Monitor using that method.

  • Member since
    March 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Sunday, November 20, 2022 12:21 PM

Actually, the boiling water thing can be ridiculously easy -- and entirely safe -- if a) you take the usual common sense precautions, and b) you're not a total idiot.

It's my time-tested favorite way for putting a realistic 'droop' in helicopter rotor blades. I've got an old wooden spoon with the perfect parabolic curve on the back side. I rubber-band the blades in the proper place on the spoon...take the pan of boiling water off the heat, and dip the spoon for 20-30 seconds (depending on thickness), then run the spoon under cold water for a similar length of time. Two blades up to six, each gets an identical droop with no lives lost and no visits to the local 'doc-in-the-box' required.

Just like any of the potentially dangerous sharp, pointy and grindy things we commonly use in this hobby, it just requires a bit of maturity and focus.

My 2 centsBig Smile


George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    May 2022
Posted by Eugene Rowe on Sunday, November 20, 2022 12:45 PM

Of course safety precautions must be taken but it is a valid technique.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, November 21, 2022 8:01 AM


         Your two Cents? Well, Mister, I do agree with you. I was just pointing out what some of us had to deal with when Younger. Besides I only use hot water for showers and tea!.

  • Member since
    October 2019
  • From: New Braunfels, Texas
Posted by Tanker-Builder on Monday, November 21, 2022 8:05 AM


          It always has been. It's just dangerous is all. If you lose focus ,even for a minute someone of something is going to get hurt! I discovered the Hair Dryer part some years ago when I had to bend some acrylic sheet. All I had then was this stupid Pink Hair dryer, and a piece of the chrome pipe like you find under the Bathroom sink! It worked.


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