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A good question. I very much doubt it is possible without supporting the inside of the tube (which would be hard or impossible to remove after bending). Narrow tubing such as that used for filter intakes and returns is possibly best made with glass since glass can take a good scrubbing without incurring scratches.

Andrew Cribb
 

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Well I tried bending a piece of 5/8 OD acrylic tube, packing it tight with fine quartz gravel and heating it over the kitchen stove. By keeping inward pressure on the ends while making the bend I was able to keep the tube from stretching and collapsing around the gravel. I ended up getting a decent bend albiet with some ripples on the inner radius.

Of course, when I tried to drill a test hole in it using a brad point bit it cracked :lol:. I'll pick up an appropriate bit when I go back to Tap Plastics for more tubing.
 

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If you're going to be doing several bends, you can invest in bending springs, I have several that I used for bending PVC pipe for electrical work. You just slide them in, heat and bend then pull them out with a string. Very easy and gives perfect bends up to 90 degrees.

For drilling, if you get desperate, just put the new drill bit to a piece of cement for a little while to remove the sharp edges, obviously if you have a grinder use that :) Old worn out drill bits usually do a good job with acrylic, as do worn out jig-saw blades. I don't know about drilling where the bend is though, that may get a little too thin and brittle to drill easily, specially if doing it by hand.

Giancarlo Podio
 

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Never had that problem, but never tried regular springs. You usually need to pull them out with a little force but they never got stuck on me. Perhaps the spring you used was a little "stiff", these are very flexible and I'm guessing that when pulling on one end the coild expand making the outer diameter smaller, enough to pull out.

This is a UK site but just to give you an idea of what they look like:

http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Conduit_Pvc_Index/Bending_Springs/

Giancarlo Podio
 

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I work with acrylic at one of my jobs (making tanks/sumps). Here's the pointers I can offer:

If you can get a wet table saw(stuff heats up pretty well) with a grinding blade, that works well.

For tanks, building a rim on the top of the tank provides extra support. A support brace is always a good idea if you've got a long tank. Becareful about building tall tanks with acrylic. The taller the tank, the more pressure is put on the seems and panes and you'll have to use thicker acrylic. When in doubt, use thicker acrylic. If the acrylic is too thin the tank will bow. Be 1000% your welds are perfect.

If you can find a local plastics supply company you should be able to get sheets of acrylic at a reasonable price. Bulding supply places might have it as well.

If you somehow scratch the acrylic, take a heat gun or blow torch to it, the scratch will "melt out."

One last thing to keep in mind: cutting acrylic is very bad for your health, it causes cancer. Wear a mask when cutting.

I'm no where near an "acrylic expert" but the guy I work for is. If you have any questions that Art can't answer, ask me and I'll see what I can find out.
 

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Anyone know what the 1 gallon or 1.6 gallon hex tanks (common in the US sold under various brand names) are made from? Acrylic or Plastic? Does the lack of any seam indicate that it is plastic?

Reason I ask: I am thinking about taking 3 small hex tanks and connecting them via clear plastic swim-through tubes. I would need a good method for cutting holes and a secure method of glueing the tubing into place. Any thoughts?
 

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Someone earlier mentioned scratches..
I recently bought an acrylic tank & before I filled it, I rinsed it out, wiping it down with a washcloth & noticed that I scratched it! (With a washcloth, for crying out loud!)They are not deep scratches, but noticeable enough across the front of the tank to be upsetting.
Is there any way to get these out? Do I drain it & use a heat gun?
What is a good way to clean it in the future?
 

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I would be hesitant to use a hot airgun or blowtorch on my aquarium.
Using the micromesh seems to be lower risk.

Here is a scratch that I got on my 35 gallon hex during moving.
I followed direction on the site listed. I used 400 grit paper to smooth the scratch.
Always using an up and down motion during sanding. Repeating the process for each of the finer grit pads. Taking pictures with a digital camera with the flash helps identify any scratches too fine to see unaided. Applied antistatic cream when sanding complete.



 

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I have manufactured acrylic tanks for a couple of years. I have not read the whole of this thread so I apologise for repeating things.

I am sorry to say that I personally do not recommend making aquariums out of five pieces of acrylic together as I have found that the glue generally runs out of the joint so its easy to get very small leaks if you are not carefull, then you fingd that you are having to add extra adhesive into the corners of the tank which I believe reduces the benefits of using acrylic over glass, which is 1/4 the price of acrylic, in this country anyway. Nice bent acrylic corners will never leak and look more proffessional IMO. An acrylic bender makes much nicer corners and are available for a few hundred dollars but they can be simply made with a long heating element, some steel section and a dimmer switch.

When attaching the base, first glue thin strips of acrylic along the inside of the base plate leaving 1-2mm gap between the strip and where the side of the tank will sit. When you attach the base to the tank the strips prevent the adhesive running out of the joint. You can also fill this gap with extra adhesive to give the joint extra strength.

Acrylic is so easily scratched and I think micromesh kits are brilliant but they are also expensive for what you get. Polish out scratches with 600 grit, slowly reducing the courseness through 1000 and finally 2000 grit. for the finish use car colour restorer then Brasso and finally silvo silver polish (you can also use a dedicated plastic polish but they are expensive). Polishing Acrylic is a bit of an art and sometimes its easy to leave a milky appearance in the tank if a fine polish is not used. You can also use a plastic diswashing sponge with a plastic mesh cover (25 cents from the supermarket) to get the last few scratches out, before the final polish. Ensure that you wash the tank after polishing as some of the polishes are toxic to fish.

Hope this is helpful

****
 

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Polish out scratches with 600 grit, slowly reducing the courseness through 1000 and finally 2000 grit. for the finish use car colour restorer then Brasso and finally silvo silver polish (you can also use a dedicated plastic polish but they are expensive).
With regards to sanding, a point not mentioned is that it is my understanding that you should sand in a up and down motion in one direction and not a circular motion to get best results.

Additionally, I recommend you continue to finer micromesh including 4000, 6000, 8000 and finishing with 12000 grit. If you finsih with 2000 grit there will be many fine scratches and would leave a lot of work for the polish.

I think micromesh kits are brilliant but they are also expensive for what you get.
The kit that I purchased did not seem expesive. I ended up with multiple pads of each mesh and bottle of static cream in order to meet the minimum order requirement of $25. The pads seem to last well if you use them in order and do not make large jumps when going to a finer mesh.
 
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