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Thanks so much for the info! I've put that acrylic bender on my shop list and will definitely be looking into the Vivak for some work as well.
PJ, Id love to see some pictures of your setup
I agree with PJ's recommendation of Vivak. It is very easy to bend, and if you want to make something like a shoulder form for suspending a costume from the ceiling, that's your go-to product. The Vivak I've used is a little gray in tone, rather than crystal clear the way acrylic is, but that's not always a bad thing. And I too would defer to acrylic for strength when needed.
Side note: Vivak is what a lot of the POP displays that you see in retail stores are made of. It also comes in several thicknesses.
This is the strip bender I bought, and I love it. It's very robust and well made. Previously I used a homemade bender which was good, but this is soooooo much better. The metal construction is very smooth and doesn't leave marks on the acrylic, and the heating element works quickly and consistently. If it could be improved, there would be a ledge where one could clamp the acrylic while waiting for it to heat up, but there are other methods of securing that are just as effective. Highly recommended.