News: Triple Helix Table

Triple Helix Table

Triple Helix Table

Here's a nice example of some snappy furniture that I've made with PVC.

15 Comments

Again, a how-to would be awesome

Nice! Another project added. Seems like there might need to be some deformation under heat to get this amount of curvature...otherwise I might be worried about it.

that's the way that I do these kinds of things. if you heat the pipe up, it has the consistency of a cooked spaghetti noodle, and from there, you can reshape it however you like. In this case, if you look in the bending, forming and reshaping forum, you can see the form that i used. once the pipe cools back down, it has the original hardness of PVC. I don't cold-bend anything because it causes stress fractures.

Cool. Thanks. I'll have to check that out.

What do you use to heat it up?

I use a tool called PVC Bendit. *Disclosure of potential conflict of interest - I work for them, not only that, I'm one of three people in the company. I really don't want to use this as an advertising venue. One fact remains, though, getting this job is what opened the doors up for me. I get to use the tool as much as I want (when I have the money for materials), so i get to do a lot of interesting things. I do have to say, though, that when you take everything into consideration (environmental factors, health issues, ease of use), this is a great freakin tool. The ones I use are nine feet long, so I can turn a whole stick of pipe into evenly-heated putty.

I have to admit that I'm still on the greenhouse kick. I'm somewhat uncertain (well, ok, I don't have much hope) about the incredible declining dollar, and I'm most concerned with being able to feed myself and my family. I love doing the furniture and art just because it takes my mind away from what is otherwise a pretty grim state of affairs. In real life, though, I'm more interested in the water pumps, greenhouses, irrigation systems and everything that leads to self-sufficiency.

Sorry, I know that ran on a little long, but I do have to point out that while I do work for the company, I'd use the tool anyway, and I'd recommend it even if I didn't work for them. Probably more so, actually, because I wouldn't have to deal with some of the gripping meat-hook realities of this freakin job.

And yes, 90% of this world was made while screwing around on the computer at work when no one was looking. I have had many pulse-pounding Alt+Tab moments in the making of this wonderhowto world.

Thats really cool! But I don't play around with pvc too much- is there anything else I can use?

Woah. I guess I was wrong when I said before that I only dug outdoor PVC furniture. This is definitely something I could put inside my home.

silly what a single bend can do. it takes your work to another level. when all you have to work with is straight pipe, your options are really limited. once you can make it into any shape you want, doors go flying open.

For this kind of effect, you could use acrylic, ABS, HDPE, or any other thermoplastic pipe. You could probably pull it off with metal, but it'd be a lot more difficult. What I'm waiting for is a bioplastic that will have the same properties as PVC. Thermoplastics are really cool when you start playing with the 'thermo' part. It's really cool to take a material that you know as completely rigid and soften it until it's like a noodle.

Oh no I meant to bend the PVC not as another tube...

to do something like the triple helix table, there is really no other way. each of those bends is about nine feet of pipe wrapped around a sonotube to get the shape, and there is really no other way to heat that much pipe up evenly and repeatably.

BUT - you can still get shorter bends from a few different methods.

you have some choices, each of which has its advantages as well as drawbacks.

the most common way to bend pvc pipe is to use a heat gun. they're cheap and widely available, and with practice, you can get a decent bend of medium length out of one of them. the trick to the whole process is even heat, so in the case of a heat gun, what you're going to want to do is draw lines around the circumference of the pipe to indicate your bend area. go a few inches past the bend area in both directions so you can get the bend to go where you want it. turn on the heat gun and move it back in forth while turning the pipe in circles. some people will also fill the pipe up with sand and cap it, but that's really not necessary until you get up to larger diameters.

after a while of moving the gun back and forth while turning the pipe around, the pvc will soften and you'll be able to bend it. be sure to heat it evenly, or it will kink and distort.

the advantage to this method is that it's cheap and there's a chance you've got a heat gun laying around already. the disadvantage is that it is difficult to get the pipe to heat evenly. it's not so bod for short lengths of pipe, but after you try to go longer than three feet, you're going to start to have a really hard time.

you can also try the heat gun method with a torch, a camp stove or fire, a barbecue grill, or even exhaust coming out of a generator or a car. none of these are recommended, however, because pvc releases some deadly toxins when burned, and it's really not worth it to take the risk.

there are also heat blankets available. with them, you plug in the blanket,

wait a few minutes and the pipe is ready to bend. the drawback is that bend length is limited, and the units themselves are fairly expensive, so the longer the bends, the more they're going to cost you. the blankets max out at 37 inches, so if you're going to make a six-foot bend, you'll need two blankets, and so on.

Thanks!

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