Heat-Bending Long Pieces of Solid Surfacing

The challenge is to heat the long piece to the correct temperature for thermo-forming. December 23, 2014

Question (WOODWEB Member) :
I have done research on bending Corian and the trouble is that I can only get a 30"piece in my oven and I need to do an apron on a 20'conference table that is boat shaped (60"w in the center tapering to 36" at each end). Has anyone tried any other methods to bend this? Possibly steam? Any help would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Laminate and Solid Surfacing Forum)
From contributor K:
You will need to bring the Corian up to 300 to 350 degrees F. This is not possible with steam. If you have a steam chamber that is long enough you could use a heat source in it to do this but you will need to monitor the temp as it cannot go above 350 in any place. I have bent short sections and joined them but I don't recommend it with many colors if it would disturb the pattern. If you do it you will want to mirror cut each joint, at room temperature, after forming. You will need to make one such seam anyway since the Corian sheet is not long enough for the full length.

On second thought: You are only looking for a 12" deflection over 10 feet, from center to end. You can achieve this by just flexing the material at room temperature. Just make sure that your joint to the top is fully cured before removing clamps. I hope this helps.

From contributor H:
If you can get the proper heat to the material it bends like a dream. Almost anything is possible.

From contributor B:

Find a local powder coating shop with a walk in oven. Heat and bend and make up a form with the radius and cover it with 1/4 MDF skin.

From contributor C:
The walk-in oven sounds the best. Many years ago at an ISSFA training session, we used a, for the lack of a better description, a propane torch. We just waved it back and forth across the acrylic slowly. With the Corian laying flat we heated the it for thermoforming. As it heated you could tell when it was getting plastic, by picking up an end to see the sag. We then clamped the edging to a form. We actually doubled the thickness, after heating each piece individually, one piece on top of the other on the form. I know this sounds crude, but it worked just fine. It occurs to me that an infra-red thermometer $30 would help. Know when the acrylic was at prime bending temperature.

I'm not so sure about bending this stuff without heat, as the built up stress could lead to a crack starting at the outside of the bend. The reason I say this is at the solid surface training center that I attended, stressed very much the need to have "0" stress on the sheet, whether on a flat plane or on a curved plane.

From contributor R:
How about an industrial eating blanket or two? I think I remember them being available at luthiers mercantile for guitar making/bending.