Lets face it, many DIY projects look neat but may require tools, skills, and materials not available to some people. In short: a lot of DIY projects just aren’t that simple. This one we found is; however, and it can probably be made all out of materials you would have at home. If you have bored kids this just might be the type of easy project to work on together! The idea is to use household pieces of plastic to create a “jelly fish” in a bottle, sort of like a lava lamp effect. You really only need a few items to make this work:

  • plastic bottle
  • food colouring
  • string
  • plastic bag
  • scissors
  • water

To make your jelly fish you first bundle the center of the plastic bag into a head shape and tie it off, somewhat loosely, with some string. Leave a hole big enough to pour water into. Next, take your scissors and cut many “legs” into the plastic surrounding the head portion. Then, fill your bottle with water, add food coloring, and cap it, turn it over a few times and there you have it. What we like about this project is that the bottle is recycled and that it is a plastic project that involves marine life. It’s the perfect conversation starter with kids on the importance of recycling in order to keep plastics out of the ocean!

There are many short “how to” videos of this project on Youtube but we’ve embedded a good one below:

PVC tubing is one of the least expensive, most accessible plastics the Do-It-Yourself community has access to. It’s no surprise then that the plastic pops up in so many amazing applications. Last year we highlighted some projects like the PVC kids sprinkler and outdoor movie screen as well as the PVC peddle kart. But just take a look at some of these other creative applications!

PVC Bow:

PVC Bow

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.instructables.com/id/PVC-Bow-2/

 

PVC Scooter:

PVC scooter

 

 

 

 

 

PVC Dog Bed:

Dawg

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://primedforsurvival.com/post-b/

 

PVC Hydroponic Garden:

pvc-hydroponic-planter-728x546

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://primedforsurvival.com/post-b/

 

PVC Director’s Chair (no saveable image available, click link for pictures): http://s577.photobucket.com/user/LazyPup/media/frogschaircropped1.jpg.html

 

 

Choosing Your Plastic

Posted: March 8, 2016 in Education
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The question comes up a lot in the DIY community: “I am planning to make _______ so what plastic do I need?” The good news is selecting a plastic for your application is very similar to how heavy industry would select a plastic for their projects. You need to select a plastic based on certain properties it gives you, not some sort of bias to what you “heard” worked – and especially not based on color!

So when thinking about your what you need for your application consider the properties of these plastics:

 

UHMW Polyethylene:

-Slick, low-coefficient of friction

-Good wear properties

-Good abrasion properties

-Thermoformable (at home)

 

Polyurethane:

-Elastomer: will regain its shape after depression (excellent as mallet heads)

-Excellent cut & tear resistance

 

Nylon:

-Bearings (takes up to 4000PSI)

-Wear plates

 

Tuffkast:

-Replaces nylon in cold operating environments or where impact is a concern

 

Acetal:

-Small parts, replacing metal

-Where machinability is key, can hold tight tolerances

-Replacing nylon in “wet” applications

 

PVC:

-Anywhere a “frame” is needed.

 

Industrial laminates/Phenolic/Micarta:

-Mechanical or electrical applications

-High load bearing

 

There are a lot of flashy “do it yourself” projects that hobbyists get in to with plastic but one application that keeps coming up that you might not think of is the simple gear. The general reasoning to use a plastic gear as a replacement for a metal gear make intuitive sense: the plastic gear will often be mated to a metal component and the fact that you have a plastic on metal connection now should greatly increase the life of the mating components. The problem is hobbyists do not really know what to use: we’ve heard of HDPE, UHMW, nylon and even polyurethane be requested by the DIY community for a home made gear application. But how suitable are these plastics for the application?

Actually – not very. Most plastics cannot be machined to tolerances as tight as metal be but many plastics, especially the polyolefins such as HDPE and UHMW, are very soft and could have the gear teeth quickly lose their shape once that gear starts working. Nylon is better, but it cannot take much impact at all – especially in the cold – meaning it is considered to be fragile. The best material for the application is actually acetal. Acetal is a very hard plastic that machines very well and holds excellent tolerances. It is widely available in rod stock from plastics distributors across North America. The gear in the picture below is made of white, homopolymer acetal. Black copolymer acetal is also widely available and would work well too – its properties are slightly worse than homopolymer in some respects but it is also less expensive.

Acetal

 

 

Sometimes a little inspiration doesn’t hurt, especially when you’re a member of the DIY (“Do It Yourself”) community who searches out new projects. On this blog we like to highlight particular applications people are doing but sometimes you just wonder in what type of projects should I use certain plastics? Well, when you search out content like we do for so long – you can bet we see some patterns!

UHMW Polyethylene

Readily available and extremely versatile, with DIY projects UHMW is often used to provide slickness or wear resistance.

  • Toboggans
  • Snowmobile skids
  • Axe or blade sheaths
  • Jet boat bottoms or wear pads
  • Boat trailer support pads
  • Custom cutting board for outdoor kitchens

Acrylic

Scratch and weather resistant it is easy to get a hold of in clear, much more difficult to find in colors or frosted. Good for artistic projects.

  • Art covers or flower presses
  • Table tops
  • glass substitution

Polycarbonate (twin or multi-wall)

Polycarbonate is not scratch resistant but it is very impact resistant. Any reputable distributor will sell UV-stable twin/multi wall polycarbonate sheet as UV-stability in the product is mostly standard. Also, if stocked, multi-wall polycarbonate is quite inexpensive compared to other plastic sheets.

  • Awnings
  • Solariums
  • Greenhouses
  • Safety glass

Nylon

Nylon is a strong, engineering plastic with excellent load bearing capabilities.

  • Homemade bushings
  • Sheaves
  • Pulleys

Acetal

Acetal is a very hard plastic and often replaces metal parts. It machines very well and can replace nylon in “wet” applications since it doesn’t absorb water.

  • Bushings
  • Marine components
  • Guitar picks
  • Paintball gun bolts

Fiberglass wall panel

FRP wall panel is a CFIA/FDA approved sheet for lining the walls of food processing applications. It’s also used in gas stations.

  • Mud room lining
  • Workshop lining
  • Pet area lining

PVC (Pipe & Joiners)

PVC is one of the most affordable, easy to procure, and versatile plastics people can use for DIY projects. The creativity we see with it is endless!

  • Water sprinkler play zones
  • Go-Karts
  • Bolus games
  • Outdoor movie screens
  • Pet bird perches

There are countless other applications that could be done with those applications! And if you have questions, we’ll try to help if we can. Just email us here.

 

 

“DIY” PVC Karts

Posted: December 31, 2015 in PVC
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We’re always looking up creative ways people use plastics in their home projects and one application we stumbled on was the “PVC Karts”. These are “Go Kart” type vehicles, usually with an electrical or pedal motor, that are made out of a frame of PVC piping. The elaborate designs these inventors can make out of what is essentially just pipe and joiners is awesome! What’s even better is that the DIY community involved in these karts seem so willing to share their information and designs. We found a Youtube video on one such kart that seems to rip along really quick and also a few websites we’ve found that seem to have useful information.

As always when we share information like this we have to put the disclaimer that we are not recommending or endorsing any of these applications. They could be unsafe, so always, do your own research and build at your own risk.

A couple websites:

http://robertklee10.tripod.com/shock_pictures.htm

http://www.pvcplans.com/kartcross.htm

A Youtube movie:

UHMW Axe Sheath

Posted: December 10, 2015 in UHMW
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We found a simple and smart DIY project recently. The application is using virgin-white UHMW-PE as an axe sheath and the reason for it was that other plastics had become brittle in the cold weather. UHMW-PE is actually known as a “cryogenic” plastic and its properties improveĀ in the cold! In this case, the fabricator “Teepee” simply sliced off an piece of UHMW-PE from a toboggan (another very popular winter UHMW-PE application!) and thermoformed it. If you look closely at the picture below you can tell he folded over a flat piece, using the bolts at the front to close the gap. This application is a very creative use of an industrial plastic that is very well suited for an application. UHMW-PE would be the optimal material in this application with its resistance to wear, cost-effectiveness and, of course, excellent cold weather performance.

To see more pictures and a description of the application click here.

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