This stuff looks suspiciously like high molecular weight polycaprilactone(commonly sold on small and colorful chunks as ‘friendly plastic’ or larger, cheaper, lots as ‘shapelock’).
That’s not a bad thing, it is an excellent material for the purpose; but you just might want to hit eBay first for a little comparison shopping.
@fuzzyfungus beat me to it. Yes, it is a very good material, good even for structural components - very tough and somewhat elastic, nylon-like.
I used it with success for moulding cradles for devices (including the connectors for chargers). Example here:
Avoid brand names, shop for generic, it’s all the same material but cheaper. If it can be softened in hot water and goes transparent in the process, it is almost certainly polycaprolactone.
Pro tip: A torch can be used (carefully!) to remelt the top layer to stick parts together. Same for a small hot-air nozzle from a rework station. Caution: the heated-up plastic will be much hotter than from water, stickier, and can burn badly. Don’t ask how I know.
Thought: could it be used for making tough cogwheels? Laser-cut them into e.g. wood, then push the soft plastic into the hole with fairly high pressure (mimicking injection moulding in a way) and let it set? The thing is really quite tough enough for cogwheels, if the teeth aren’t too fine!
…thought… could the wear-resistance be increased by adding glass microspheres into the material?
I could help but think of Earthbound when I saw the pics, especially spidey.
Cool stuff, thanks for buying tips ^^
I just watched this video also and was intrigued. I’ve been using Sugru ever since they only sold it via white envelopes shipped from London and want to try this out. My concern is that it could resoften during a hot rainy day or perhaps from the heat of an electronic device, so it has limitations. Sugru also has limitations, mainly the fact that the chemical composition gets compromised if not used within 4 months, even in a sealed pouch.
The cost of shapelock vs plastimake is nearly identical. Do you have a source where it costs less?
edit, okay yeah ebay, cheaper, thanks.
Refrigerate your Sugru to extend the shelf life considerably. I’ve used Instsmorph, which is another brand name similar to plastimake, will probably go generic next time…
plastimake online price - $50/kg (I assume aus $, since it’s aus shipping). $39.65(US)/kg
Plastimake in stock (prime!) on amazon $40 US for 34 oz. Call it $41.50(US)/km
I didn’t spot anyone in the US selling it on ebay any cheaper than amazon. though if you only want a bit to try it out, you can get 250g and 500g baggies.
No specific source, I just default to the strategy of searching for ‘polycaprilactone’ along with any known trade names, then buying the one that is cheapest per unit mass. If plastimake is, in fact, available at little or no mark-up, I’m delighted to hear it. I know ‘friendly plastic’ tends to be pretty brutal on that score.
I tried using InstaMorph for molding and the problem is that the stuff is still really viscou… thick. Though it bends easily, getting it to mold around something is a bit challenging. In my case, I was trying to get it to form around a silicone rubber mold and the silicone rubber was softer than the softened InstaMorph.
I think that trying to form it into a gear mold would result in very rounded corners, so you probably want to make them more like squarish teeth. Yes, high pressure might help it form better, but then you’re just a step away from regular injection molding anyway. If anyone knows of a good hobbyist level injection molding pump/screw, I’m all ears.
I bought some of this a few months ago after reading about it to make toy accessories for my sons action figures. While it’s not the easiest stuff to work with (it has a similar consistency to slightly cold blutac), being about to rework it by heating it means your free to experiment to your hearts content, and like sugru, you keep finding more and more uses for it around the house.
Note, I bought ‘Plastimake’ brand (as that was the cheapest in my country), and the seller did offer a separate version for use with molds (which I’m yet to try).
So this stuff is non-sticky?
So it cannot be used to ‘glue’ stuff together the way Sugru can?
Seems like the thing you want to use when Sugru’s stickyness is a disadvantage. Would save faffing about with clingfilm.
Yes, not-sticky. Sticks to itself when both surfaces are hot and transparent; loses stickiness fast with dropping temperature (then goes from putty to rubbery putty albeit still transparent); once it becomes rubbery you want to reheat it again.
You need a kettle with hot water, if you want to work with it for longer; a bowl will go cold a bit too fast, you need to add hot water. Ideal would be a shallow beaker of water on a hot plate, or so.
I carry a small baggie with me when traveling. Once had to improvise a connector housing on a laptop charging cable, used this stuff and a hotel room’s hot water kettle and a teacup.
These folks did a kickstarter a couple years ago…
"The PIM-SHOOTER™ Model 20A is an accessory that turns your workshop drill press into an efficient plastic injection molding machine.
You simply supply the drill press and mold clamp.
The $595 starter package gives you EVERYTHING ELSE you will need to immediately start producing your own plastic parts."
Benjamin Braddock (from the movie, not the book) should be turning 70 right about now.
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