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Hi Im very new to this website and to all wood working jobs. Im 16 styding Design and Technology at Kelsey Park School in London. At the moment I making a coffee table from MDF Flexible which is 6mm thick. As you can see on the attachment this is how my coffee table is looking. I have got two 1200 mm by 1200mm flexible mdf boards. Well I had 2 now I only have 1 which was snaped by teacher accidently while he was trying to see how far you can bend it.... and its snaped in half now. But nevermind... Now me and 2 DT teachers are struggling to bend the mdf as far as we can without breaking it. At the moment we found out that the smalle the mdf the easy is to bend it. My design has 2 pieces on top which are both curved at the ends and flat in the middle. there is also one big piece on the bootom which is cut already in dimentions 700mm by 900mm. Its really hard to bend the large board on the sides. Well me and both teachers have never used flexible mdf before so we kinda struggle to get the coffee table made. I was hoping if anyone could tell me how can I bend/curve the flexible mdf and make it stay curved.

Thank you all and waiting for replys.
Michael
 

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really interesting design michael, sorry, i have never worked with or even heard of flexible mdf. my first thought though would be to try using steam or hot water in small amounts and trying to bend the pieces in stages so that they don't break. good luck
 

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Hi Michael;

Nice design, but might be somewhat impractical, using the materials you mention. I don't think it would be very stable, even if it were possible.

If I were trying to build something like this, I would use 3/4" thick materials.

I would use preformed plywood curves, which are commercially available in different radiuses, or radii, biscuited to a flat panel. They are available in 1/4, or 1/2 rounds and are very stable. (Suitable for veneering or laminating).

I would also make the bottom section long enough to cut off the top two pieces. This will ensure the top and bottom are the same.

Hope this helps.

I am curious as to what program you used to draw the picture.

Good luck with your project and career!
 

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Michael,

That is a very, very cool design, and an ambitious project to build, especially with so delicate a stucture.

I am uncertain how thick you were going to make the frame, but considering that you have two pieces of flexible mdf that are roughly 4 feet by 4 feet, I assume your were going to make your bends thicker than just one ply.

If I were going to do that, I would use solid wood ripped very thin (like 1/16th of an inch or less) and laminate those strips together in a form. If it were to be painted, I would probably use straight grained poplar without knots, which bends quite easily, and takes both glue and paint well.

In your application, you would want to use epoxy, resourcinol or some other glue that "sets" and will not "creep" over time - such as yellow carpenter's glue does.

Here's a link showing the process of laminating curves. http://www.miterclamp.com/radius/pages/Radiuscabinetphotoessay.htm


In that article, yoiu will find the "springback" formula I use to determine how much to squeeze in the ends of the bending forms so that when the clamps are released, the ends will spring back to where you want them to be.

Good luck.
Jim
 
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