Anything coldbendable?

Hey Folks!

Based on the google rabbit hole I got into I suspect it’s a no but I wanted to ask anyway. Do any of you know about a material that can be safely cut and then bent without heating?
I fancy folded sheet metal like structures.
The steel sheet is obviously a no go neither polycarbonate that is the only coldbendable plastic I’ve heard of.
If I found an accurate bending break that has heating built in I might consider getting that and doing acrylic. So far I haven’t seen anything for plastics that resemble a metal finger brake.

Does wet count?

These are tricky but after being cut, the wood is made very wet and then bent into a cylinder and let dry. Many break and most have at least a crack needing repair but they were different from what others were doing.


There are several polymers that can be cut and bent without them being hot, or that can be heated with a blow drier to bend them. Otherwise, wood is a good choice to look at. Softwood especially can be steamed and bent without breaking.

There are many instructions to make a heat bending setup for acrylic. They take a little work, but you can either do that or buy a bending machine. They use a thin element to heat up just the area you want to bend and then they have a hinged guide to control the amount of bend. A little Google should give you what you are looking for.

I was using Basswood and my ubiquitous hand sanitizer as it dries quicker, but no heat needed. There are also many variations of living hinge that can due to have a soaking assist or not. The ones most in need of soaking are also the strongest.

This is Oak plywood…


If you want it to look like metal you could use metallic cardboard, and fold it along a score line.

Hey All,

Thanks for the ideas.
I’m aiming for something like this: image
So while it would look like it and I could score to accurately bend, cardboard would not be strong enough for structural purposes.
I have seen the acrylic bending heaters but I’m thinking about something that besides heating up, ensures a proper angle and a proper bend radius.

Maybe if I had a metal finger brake and put the heating part in it somehow.

I think you can control the bend radius with the opening for the element. That may be only on the more expensive units. A thin aluminum plate would probably also work to control the bend more tightly, but you would have to remove it once you got the part the way you want it so the material would cool.

The radius is really the only challenge - the angle will be pretty precise because the material is hot. You won’t have to overbend like you would with a brake, or at least not to the same degree. There really isn’t a lot of force on the acrylic once you get it warm enough to start moving.

I can’t think of anything else that would act the way you want; metal and thermoplastics are just about it.

If you want sharp angles like that you are much better off making crossed finger planes,