Experimental Electric Vehicles

October 17, 2009

Sintra PVC material

Filed under: 1 — tonyhelms @ 3:27 am

As requested by two people who visit the site, this is a “how to” on how to fabricate and use Sintra PVC plastic board. The material comes in thicknesses from 1/16″ to 1/2″ and in a variety of colors, I will be using 1/4″ black Sintra, this thickness works best for most applications. the material can be found at almost any sign shop and comes in a 4’x8′ sheet for around $60.

Here is a list ways to modify it,

-soft bend
-sharp bend
-tap with screw
-prime and paint
-cement (permanent bond to itself)
-mill to specific shapes
-Upholstered for seats, arm rests…

As you can tell from my motorcycle the material can be used to make nice light weight and relatively aerodynamic farings for motorcycles.

—-I will now show the steps used to make these modifications possible—-

It is important to note that any part you plan on making should be made out of cardboard first, anything made of cardboard can be made of Sintra.

Once a pattern is made place it on the sintra and use a PENCIL to lightly trace the part, I found that pencil can be simply erased when all done. Use a jig-saw with a metal blade to cut the shape out

In order to produce sharp bends in Sintra the materal must be flipped to the inside of the bend and routed out with a 45 degree router bit. Only route about 1/2 – 2/3 of the material in order to keep the bend strong. Use a clamped straight edge to make a straight cut.

Now to bend the material use a heat gun and wave about 3″ from the bend area, keep trying to bend the part while heating it up. As soon as the Sintra starts to become flaccid simply bend the part to the desired position and hold it there for approximately 30 seconds, or until hardened.

For a SOFT bend use the same process but eliminate using the router and simply heat the part until the entire bend area becomes soft and roll the material to whatever desired position.

Sintra board can easily drilled, milled, and threaded. As shown in the pictures tapping screws and drill bits can easily modify or attach the part.


Since this material is made from poly-vinyl-chloride aka PVC, it can be bonded together easily and this bond is almost unbreakable. It can even be stacked together to make “blocks” of Sintra. At any hardware store go to the plumbing section and purchase some PVC cement, any type should work.

There are far more ways to use it then I have listed, hopefully this helps in any fabrication project of your own.

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