There was a bit of trouble behind the scenes; after having learned Solidworks with the hope of using the inbuilt CAM software I found out that it wont work with our machine due to some license problem. This meant I had to import it into Rhino and use that inbuilt CAM software to get it to work. Having been somewhat familiar with Excalibur the new steps in Rhino's CAM, which are meant to be easier to use, proved to be a bugger in trying to understand. Of course the photo above is enough proof that this hurdle was soon conquered, thankfully.
On the hinge side of things, having played around with 15 and 10mm acrylic tubing, I've found the 15mm is the best all round, being able to have a 10mm aluminium rod threaded down it, thus creating an overall stronger hinge.
The 10mm acrylic tubing with a 5mm rod threaded down it:
The 15mm acrylic tube with a 10mm aluminium rod threaded down it:
The best discovery however was Tensol, a plastic adhesive which is basically liquid acrylic, perfect for permanently attaching the tubing to the front and back components. This was a problem that has crossed my mind since the beginning; a lot of pressure will be put onto this hinge and if it isn't tightly secured to the front or back components they'll just snap off. Thankfully Tensol dries like a rock with little to no mess, perfectly suited to this sort of design.
The use of Tensol does then exclude another method of creating the front and back components, that is laminating. After solely heatbending acrylic into shape with mixed/undesired results I tried laminating to get a uniform curve profile along it. This meant making a bigger and more secure jig, which included a female part to sit on top which could be clamped to the male, leaving no room for the material inside to move. I tried it out on acrylic first and straight away I got a much better curve, with it looking promising I tried laminating with 3x1.5mm plywood with a 0.5mm plastic sheet to make it have an overall 5mm thickness. The result was a strong curve, but not as defined as the acrylic:
Of course if there was a secure way to attach the tubing to the end of these components if they were laminated, I would choose this method but for now I'm sticking with acrylic, Tensol and a secure male and female jig:
To end on a downer, I played around with magnets during the week as this is how I plan on keeping the front and back components from flapping open; the results were nothing short of a disappointment. Having a material thickness of 5mm to work with I brought 3mm thick magnets which I inserted into a slot that I had milled out. This proved a problem too, as I tried both ways of doing this, before and after heatbending. After was the most promising as the one before wrapped creating awkward troughs that the magnets did not fit into. Anyways, the magnets I used were simply not strong enough so I plan on investiagiting into stronger magnets.