Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Line bending

This short film explains the process of line bending, which is a technique used to make precise folds in plastic components.

The process is demonstrated using a strip heater and a hot wire line bender. Acrylic is used in this demonstration but the process can be used for a variety of thermoplastics and across a wide range of RMT, engineering and graphic projects.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • Discuss the polymer structure of thermoplastics and the heat/soften, cool/harden repeating cycle.
  • Discuss the differences between thermoplastics and thermosetting plastics in terms of use and recycling.
  • Discuss the types of commercial products made using similar processes.
  • How you might scale up for much larger or thicker pieces of plastic?
  • What are the limitations of the process? For example, only being able to bend/form in one plane.
  • What are the processes you might use to create curved or compound shapes?
  • When should you apply finishing techniques – before or after bending? Why?

Suggested activities

The process is used in lots of products and components:

  • Mobile phone stands/holders
  • Clock base in conjunction with a vacuum-formed clock housing
  • Stands for point-of-sale displays
  • Desk tidies/pen and pencil holders
  • A cookery book stand
  • A handle for a box or similar product
  • Prototype model furniture
  • For KS4 students, a huge range of components for product design, graphic or engineering solutions.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd/4th levels in Scotland.

More from this series

Vacuum forming
Drape forming
Marking shapes on metal