Hello. Does anyone have experience with making living hinge bracelets on glowforge? I have several files I purchased and love the bracelets but having difficulty with them breaking so easy. Any way to make them more durable/less breakable? The files I have are too big so I need to size them down. Looking for advice, tip, tricks. I want to sell but worried I will end up with unhappy customers. Thanks!!
What are you making them out of?
If you want to bend wood, it will bend better if saturated with alcohol and heated, then maintained on a curve as it cools and dries.
That is how I did these but with little heat…
An iron to heat them up before bending would help, also a fabric or leather backing would add strength.
Use plywood and make sure the hinge is with the grain.
“Living hinges” are for decoration, there is no way to make them durable enough to be constantly flexed.
That piece is solid basswood, as were all the lamps I made but the grain runs with the curve that made them more liable to crack but once stabilized by the top and bottom they were quite strong. If a layer of leather were welded to the back they would be more comfortable and any crack would not spread as easily.
There are several ways to go about this.
Alcohol and steam bending have been mentioned. In addition, you can use a cloth or leather backer to help add strength.
I think the best way you will have happy customers is to laminate on the curve. That is, cut your very thin pieces flat with the bend parallel to the grain. Then form each layer in the curve you want it and then glue the layers together. This will be a very strong, durable shape with a bit of flex. The number and thickness of the layers will determine the final stiffness.
Someone got me this cool light:
basically it looks like a book with a living edge binding.
We’ve had it years and take it camping, but the living hinge is finally falling apart.
It did last a good long time though. 5 years maybe?
I definitely think it’d be possible to make a nice living hinge bracelet from plywood. It will eventually wear out, but it’ll take a while.
I made a bracelet using a living hinge. It didn’t last a month. PG Maple ply.
Leather works really well.
Love this!!! Thanks for sharing!!!
What wood did you use? Just regular rubbing alcohol?
Almost all were 1/8 basswood soaked in hand sanitizer and bent slowly. Unfortunately, the only way to know when you are pushing hard enough to split the wood is when it breaks. Also, the pattern needs to be very even or the stiffer will not bend enough and the rest too much or break.
As well, wet wood and dry wood are amazingly different in size, so I would carefully measure the diameter, and make a top and bottom for the cylinder only to find it too big as the cylinder had dried some in the time taken. Eventually, other attentions had me beating my head against the wall less and I drifted that way instead.
There is a YouTube channel done by a wagon-wright who shows how to get bends without cracking the wood. He uses steam and then steel strapping to support the wood as it gets bent. This greatly reduces the likelihood of the softer parts of the wood breaking when they bend.
You can use the same technique to bend sections with cuts in them. Just ensure you keep it all supported until the wood is dry.
Any flexible material stiffer than the wood should work, you don’t need spring steel straps for smaller, thinner projects.
Bending to form static objects is not too hard, and there is a lot of information on how that can be done.
The problem with a bracelet is that it has to be flexed to put on. This happens long after it has been formed, and that’s when the failures occur.
It’s the same with, for example, trying to use them for “hinges” on boxes or similar. Once the conditions to form them have been removed, they have very little tolerance for further flexing. The term “hinge” is drastically mis-used.
I found that strong rubber bands and bent around a soup can, or soda can and led dry held the wood very well. I never had a good source for heat so did not use it.
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