How to make your own CHEAP flat stock in 10 minutes!

Want to know how to convert PVC (or any thermoplastic) pipe/tubing into flat sheet stock in about 10 minutes? Instructions are written down on the flat stock in the picture. Its VERY easy and provides a great source of cheap sheet stock. A 4" shc 40 PVC pipe yields a 13" x .25 thick sheet. Length is only limited to your heat source and pipe length.
Caution: PVC puts off toxic fumes if you burn it. Don’t place it close to oven burners. I would suggest using a yardsale oven or heat source that is not also used to cook food just to be safe.
In case you are on your phone and can’t read the words in the pic…

  1. Cut your PVC pipe to the length you want
  2. Use a table saw (or whatever) to cut a slit down the length of the pipe. Caution-The pipe will try to pinch the saw blade so its helpful to set the blade low and push it through quickly.
  3. Heat the PVC to around 250F in an oven. This takes 5-10 minutes depending on the oven.
  4. Wearing leather gloves, pull the PVC out and lay it on a flat board or other flat surface that doesn’t conduct heat very easily. Its important for both boards to be similar material so the part cools evenly both sides which will keep it flat.
  5. Cover the piece with another flat board and put some weights on top or clamp them together for about 5 minutes.
  6. Enjoy your flat stock!

You can use PVC cement to bond layers of sheets to make thicker stock. I haven’t tried layering myself so I’m not sure how well that process works. Post your pics here if you try this or the layering and enjoy the results!

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Aren’t most local home centers beginning to stock Aztek brand, and similar inexpensive PVC stock intended as alternatives for wood?

Nice write up tony,Very informative :slight_smile:

Inexpensive, no.

This method yields plates 13" wide and 1/4" thick for around $1.50 per foot. It would be pretty easy to make a heated 5" ID tube 10’ long if you needed a 10’ long plate.

Using the large diameter pvc pipe you can make plates the full size of the SO3 XXL. How about a PVC wasteboard?

Not wild about cutting PVC (if I get too fast w/ a handsaw I’ll get headaches from the smell) — might be okay as a wasteboard, w/ a less reactive spoilboard on top.

Its safe to machine as long as you don’t burn it. I guess if the smell bothers you then its not as appealing. I like it because its easy to machine and cut, its stable, its pretty impact resistant as long as its not really cold and its cheap and easy. Most people have some PVC pipe laying around too so they are only 15 minutes from a nice piece flat sheet stock when they need it if they know how to do this.

One caveat… if you don’t cool both sides at the same rate it won’t come out flat. I found this out when I made my first piece and put one side on my table saw top and the other side was against a piece of particle board. The table saw side cooled faster so it curled that direction. Cooling it between two pieces of ply or MDF works just fine. It comes out pretty flat. Its not Acrylic smooth and flat but its pretty good.

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That’s a great idea. I’ve been experimenting with DIY plastic using HDPE water bottles. Basically cutting bottles into small peices and melting them in a small amount of coconut oil either in oven or pot. The oil prevents much of the fumes from escaping and the amount can be varied to provide self-lubricating qualities to finished plastic. Some people have used this method to make bearings and gears similar to Delrin.
The hard part is finding an efficient way to shred the bottles as it takes quite a few to make any decent quantity of raw material.


Yeh I saw this hack on Peter Browns YouTube channel a while back, really useful. On a slightly related note: there is this stuff called Foamex which is like a PVC foamboard (foamcore) it is soo nice to machine (2000mm/min, 3mm doc, 3mm endmill). It is a bit expensive though and you can only really buy it in huge sheets.

I first saw it on an Izzy Swan video. Peter Brown does some interesting work too.

Ah fair enough, yeh I’m always on the lookout for interesting materials to machine!