Warped acetate—help

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EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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All, I got a plate of vintage cellulose acetate that is badly warped. See the photo below. It’s about 5/8 inch thick. Any ideas how I might straighten it flat without cracking it. The warping obviously will result in a lot of wasted product that can’t be turned into pens and will limit the diameter I can turn to.
 

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hokie

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May 29, 2017
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I'm not sure which direction you planned to cut the blanks off the plate, but if you cut blanks off in the manner we see the edge of the plate, you can place them in boiling water until they soften and place a weight on top until it cools. You might need to test the softness every so often, because I don't think it's ideal to have it soak in there for a long time. It has worked with my acetate.
If the plate is fine the other direction, could you just cut in that direction? Maybe it's too short, hard to tell. (Edit: Just realized magpens offered this solution)
Good luck!
 
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EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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Thanks. You can't tell from the picture but it's warped in both dimensions. It's like if you were to take a sheet of paper and lift it from opposite corners. So even if I cut in the direction of the warp that's shown in the picture, it would still be warped. I'll try cutting them and boiling as you suggest to soften and flatten.
 

jttheclockman

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Experiment and start with warm water and see if they soften. Then step up the heat. Try leaving out in the sun and see if it flattens on its own. Just keep an eye on it. It is plastic.
 

SteveG

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If you try to flatten the material, the effect MAY be temporary (I have no experience...just guessing a possible outcome). If so, the return of the warp could even happen after the pens are made, or even during the process. These are unknowns.

If your pens are two barrel design, then cutting the blank in two pieces will present less total warp in each piece. Would that allow making your pens design without flattening by heat, etc., but instead by machining away the warp? I realize that would be a close call, given the initial thickness.
 

jalbert

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May 17, 2015
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Louisville, KY
If you try to flatten the material, the effect MAY be temporary (I have no experience...just guessing a possible outcome). If so, the return of the warp could even happen after the pens are made, or even during the process. These are unknowns.

If your pens are two barrel design, then cutting the blank in two pieces will present less total warp in each piece. Would that allow making your pens design without flattening by heat, etc., but instead by machining away the warp? I realize that would be a close call, given the initial thickness.
This. I’ve had little luck permanently flattening this material. Best bet is to cut it as short as possible before turning
 
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