Plastic tube may be formed into various configurations to obtain a desired shape for a specific purpose. As plastics have a low melting point compared to most metals, plastic forming can be done in most environments with appropriate care. The exact level of heat required depends upon the exact type of plastic that is being formed.
Things You’ll Need
• plastic tube
• heat source
• form or mandrel
Design a mandrel or tool to form the plastic on and have it produced to specifications. Most often the tool will be made of aluminum to minimize weight and cost and for its heat transfer properties, although many other potential materials could be used.
Select the specific type of plastic tube to be formed. Determine the appropriate heat requirements for the specific plastic.
Choose between use of an oven (encapsulated heat) or an external heat source (amped-up blow dryer) for the heating process. Size of the final part and the type of plastic will have a significant bearing on this decision. Some parts may not fit in an oven, or some parts are so small that an external heat source can rapidly achieve the desired temperature throughout the part.
Heat the plastic to the desired temperature per the chosen method.
Form the heated plastic on the mandrel or tool to the desired shape and allow to cool. Final cooling temperature will depend on the type of plastic, but once the formed tube is rigid, it can be removed from the tool.