I’m loathe to sacrifice the one sheet I have to curiosity, and it takes awhile for orders to arrive, so…
Has anyone tried living hinge designs with veneer? Can you make something that’ll bend back and forth like a book cover, or is it too fragile? What tools do you generate the design with, and what settings for them?
I don’t think veneer alone would work well – it would split along the grain. But it works fine with plywood, which is veneer on a core. I’ve also done them in acrylic, although I doubt that would stand up to repeated bending (I used it for a curved night light cover).
Tools would be any vector program. I don’t know if there are living hinge generators, but I wouldn’t be surprised – a Google search would turn them up, if so.
Settings are going to depend on what material you’re using.
Oh, and pro tip – don’t try to make a cardboard prototype. Every time I’ve tried, it’s caught on fire.
If you need or want a more flexible veneer you can buy tenderized paper backed veneer. it is extremely flexible in one direction. i use a product from a company called called “Cedan” it is quite cheap as well as long as you are not looking for an exotic wood.
You may be able to reinforce it with a cloth or thin leather backing for repeated use. The life of the hinge will depend on the degree of bending and the bend radius. If you can keep the axis of the bend parallel to the grain and the bend radius large enough you should be able to reinforce the wood and have it survive. This will require testing to determine what you will need to do it keep it from breaking.
Another possible option is to not use a live hinge and use strips of wood on a cloth or leather backing. This moves the bending to the cloth in the joints between the strips. If you carefully remove the char from the strips, if there is any, you should get a pretty clean joint between each strip when they are flat. They will show a line between each strip when bent, but your live hinge will also. This method can take a lot more use and a lot smaller bend radius than a live hinge where you have one piece of wood with slots in it.