How to Bend UHMW

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UHMW or UHMWPE, short for “Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene,” is basically plastic used in many different manufacturing processes. You can find this type of plastic in industries ranging from automotive to home construction. UHMW has a low melting point of 265 degrees Fahrenheit. This means, you can bend UHMW with rudimentary tools to accomplish bends required for installing parts.

Things You'll Need

  • Table with a metal surface
  • Heat pipe
  • Place the UHMW plastic on a surface that will not melt at 300 degrees. For example, a table with a metal surface works well.

  • Position a heat pipe where you need to create a bend. Turn the heat pipe on and wait for the pipe to heat to approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This is slightly higher than the melting point of the plastic.

  • Remove the heat pipe once the plastic softens. You will know that the plastic has softened because it starts to turn translucent instead of solid white.

  • Grip the plastic on both sides of the heated surface where the plastic remains solid white. Wear gloves just in case you touch the heated plastic.

  • Bend the plastic to your desired shape by hand and allow the plastic to cool. If you have a jig with the preformed shape, you can place the UHMW into the jig and wait for it to cool down.

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