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JBolen 01-05-2008 01:52 AM

Solar Screen DIY
I am looking to do some solar screens for the house how ever I have three windows that have a gradual eye brow arch across the top. This is not the common half circle, just a small arch. I can not seem to find any other information on the Internet about bending the frames or anything the average DIY person can do. If anyone has any suggestions or knows of any devices/jigs that can help me out that would be great. Thank you. :confused:

ToolGuy 01-06-2008 07:45 AM

I'm looking at and the two issues would be how to bent it and how to attach the non-90 deg. angles. Am I on the right track? (no pun intended) :D

I'm pretty good at figuring out unconventional (i.e. makeshift) methods of getting things done, and this doesn't seem impossible. For joining the pieces of the frame together, plumber's epoxy comes to mind. It's the gray clay-like epoxy you can get in the plumbing section of any hardware or big box store, similar to the gray clay we used to play with in kindergarden.

How to make the bend seems to be the real challenge. We need some sort of jig that will prevent the sides from collapsing, like a conduit bender prevents conduit from kinking while bending it.

Something made from wood comes to mind, but wood might be too soft, especially pine. But what if...

We get a piece of wood the same thickness as the screen framing material, and sandwich it between 2 pieces of flat steel. The steel doesn't have to be real thick, maybe 17 guage, or about the thickness of a street sign. Actually, regular sheet metal for duct work may be thick enough if it has backing.

So now our bending jig consists of a piece of:
  • A piece of wood the same thickness as the screen frame material, sandwiched between...
  • 2 pieces of sheet metal, which in turn are sandwiched between...
  • 2 pieces of 3/4" plywood or 1x6 building lumber.
  • All clamped together, leaving us with a slot just barely wide enough to fit the screen frame material into.

Okay, now we have a steel reinforced slot to keep the frame material from kinking as it's being bent. But how to bend it? Oooohhh, I got it. The piece of wood in the middle, the one that is the same thickness as the screen frame material, is curved. :eek:

I think we have something here. Let's make a drawing...

So, whaddya think?

JBolen 01-06-2008 06:46 PM

I really like your idea only one thing I am worried about. The trough that the screen spline would fit into would be along the bottom of the arch. I would be concerned with the outer edge of the frame folding into the trough, unless we had something inserted into the trough that would hold it out.

I did find a screen bending tool.
its just so darn expensive. It looks like a simple enough design to possibly duplicate, but I'm getting off idea here. Here is a thought, have something that is bendable but ridged enough to fit in the trough and maintain the basic shape. I think that might be how this screen bending tool works. one of the groves fits into the trough and the position of the three wheels sets the angle of the arch.

another worry that pops into mind is wont the frame have a little bit of memory spring back to it where as if it where bent with the screen building tool it bends it close to the bend and wont have any spring back. does that make any sense??:o

I feel like I am rambling on now. I really appreciate your post and look forward to your reply. I also like your web page. :D

SolarScreenMaker 01-20-2008 12:27 PM

On Right Track....Almost!
1 Attachment(s)
OK, I just happened upon your question and the corresponding thread. It just so happens I live in the same town as you & I just happen to own Solar Screen Works You are right, the spline channel WILL collapse in the wood frame jig.
:confused: With 30 years experience in window and screen manufacturing I can assure you you must have a screen frame bender to bend frame properly. You can purchase one for around $950.00 online from various dealers or from me for about $895.00 with free shipping and no tax. The problem is the wheels are nylon & are easily ruined if you aren't familiar with it's use. Also, the wheels are specific to aluminum frame size and manufacturer stock, so buying a bender doesn't always ensure a perfect bend or that you may ruin the nylon wheel after your first attempt to use it.

May I suggest you call me to see if I can help you with your problem. I am sure that I can make your screen, with a lifetime warranty included for a VERY good price. You can buy screens for much cheaper than you can make them because of the volume pricing on supplies we order.

Call me and I'll do whatever I can to help you out. I have the BEST selection of frame and Textilene material on the market.

ToolGuy 01-20-2008 05:12 PM

Your website doesn't work.

theboomboomcars 01-22-2008 11:03 AM

This link should work. the link seems to need a slash at the end.

JBolen 01-22-2008 06:54 PM

Thanks for posting. I am starting to figure that doing it my self wont save all that much money, when looking at the time it will take to do it my self. I am also still trying to figure out how to do the grid work on the outside of the screen if I where to do it my self. I will give you a call shortly and may be we could work something out. I have already got two quotes from companies that make and install the screen. may be we could work out something where I can get you go make the parts and I can put them together and install them my self.

Just trying to save any money where I can, holidays killed us this year. :o

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