Not failing - just learning

A large part of what we do is figuring out how to do spectacular things with common materials in a cost effective way. That means experimenting. Trial and error. Today we were more on the error side. Our goal was to bend some plastic wood for a project. Research on the web said a ten foot radius was possible with an eight foot board. We wanted to bend a five foot radius with a board almost double that length. And since we are good we figured it must be possible (for us). The secret is heat. Peter bought a bunch of heating pipe and we wrapped it in fireproof insulation. Four rolls of duct tape held it all in position. We rented a gas fired heater/blower and loaded up the pipe. Our first try we were a little ambitious with the heat as we melted the board badly at one end while the other end stayed too cool. The second effort was not hot enough and we snapped the board when we presses it in the jig. The third try was impressive, with all manners of fans, baffles and shields used to draw the heat down the length of the board. We even had a thermometer gun handy to keep a close eye on the temperature from a safe distance. After more than ten hours of fabricating, heating and failures we decided a five foot radius might be a little ambitious. It was time for plan 'B'. Five minutes later we had success. It was a good day for learning.