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 improve¬†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.

DSCN1389_zps4228be51

For many people who celebrate the holidays, Christmas decorating is one of the most enjoyable parts of the season. While “engineering plastics” and “decorating” are not so commonly put together, people have found some remarkable ways of using polymer products to do some creative work! We’ve found a few highlights.

First on the list is the “Winter White Village” found on Pinterest. The idea is to use Touch ‘N Spray polyurethane white foam to create snowbanks as a backdrop for some holiday themed buildings. Simple, and it works. This is the picture used in this blog (found below) and the pin can be found here.

Secondly is the “UHMW skating rink”. We’ve blogged about this in years past, white UHMW polyethylene makes an excellent skating rink surface! It’s very slick and strong and can actually improve your skating ability on real ice as skating on UHMW requires about 20-30% more effort with your stride. In this case we don’t have a particular website for you: most of the good pictures are on commercial websites where if you try to click on them they want you to sign up for their service. You can still see some good pictures of this application by simply going to Google, click on the “images” tab and then searching for “UHMW skating rink.” UHMW sheet in 4′ x 10′ dimensions is readily available from North American plastic distributors. You just need to be ready for the pricing which can range from $300-$500 per sheet depending on what thickness you go with: 3/8″ or 1/2″ are the most common.

Thirdly, acetal Christmas-themed guitar picks would make a great stocking stuffer! Acetal, which is a very hard and rigid plastic that often replaces small metal parts, makes an excellent guitar pick. These holiday themed picks would go great with caroling and while websites do sell the finished picks, there’s no reason you could not buy a plain white pick, get some vinyl stickers and do your own designs! To check out some available designs click here.

And finally, what would the holidays be without a Christmas Tree? Trees made of recycled drinking bottles are becoming more commonplace. We think it’s a great idea to educate people, children especially, on the need to recycle. Plastics are easily – and economically – recycled after all! Many pictures and examples of these trees are available as inspiration to you. Maybe do one this year to educate your own family on the benefits of recycling? You can find an excellent example of such a tree by French artist Fabrice Peltier here.

We hope this examples inspire you to see how you can use plastics in your Christmas season celebration!

Holiday_1

Something a little different here today, no plastic advice or “how-to” information. As you might know, Plastichowto is associated and managed by Redwood Plastics, a North American industrial plastics distribution and fabrication company. Along with the association we’re part of, the International Association of Plastics Distributors, increasing awareness of the environmental and recycling advantages of plastics has been a priority in 2015. The major hurdle we face is the news media too often reports stories of plastics contamination and waste. The tragic part of this is that people only see the negative: plastics in reality are extremely recyclable, take less energy than traditional materials such as metal to manufacture, create less greenhouse gas in their manufacturing and are otherwise very ‘clean’ – if only people were responsible in their disposal. Therefore, we fully support awareness and measures taken to reduce plastic pollution: as long as those measures also point out that plastics can be a clean, green option for product materials. Sadly, that message is very often overlooked.

One awareness project about plastic pollution was the “Bristol Whales” art project in England. The project used locally sourced wicker for the whales and made a “sea” out of plastic bottles. There’s a great Youtube clip on the making of this project you might be interested but watch it with this caveat: all those PET plastic drinking bottles used to make the ocean are fully recyclable, clean, and non-toxic. Is it the plastics’ responsibility to stay out of the ocean, or is it ours to be more responsible with the disposal and recycling of our products?

Food for thought…

Instead of assisting with a specific application today, we wanted to help you out with a single piece of information that really might help you. What if you have a project in mind that you think is suited to plastic but you have no clue where to start? You’re not at the point of selecting a grade of material, you just need to know where to start?¬† The International Association of Plastic Distributors (IAPD) Thermoplastics Rectangle is a good starting point! Many commonly used plastics are listed on the chart and it is designed to display where a plastic fits in regards to typical properties and cost as well as key characteristics of plastics at each level.

The most important distinction on the chart is between the semi-crystalline and amorphous plastics which split the chart in two. This is because the advantages and drawbacks of each tend to balance out each other. The chart will also give you some idea of price relative to each other. There have been times where a customer has wanted to switch up the plastic her/she is using currently and disappointed with the quotation, “I didn’t think the price would be THAT different!” you hear. Remember that other factors such as whether or not an item is in stock or even the distributor’s buying power with a certain material will affect cost.

We have placed a small thumbnail of the Thermoplastics Rectangle below. To get a downloadable large-sized PDF simply click on the picture.

IAPD_Thermoplastics_Rectangle

DIY Plastic Welding Videos

Posted: October 14, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Plastic welding of materials like HDPE or ABS is probably one of the most useful skills for the home hobbyist interested in working with plastics. It seems to be easy and usually free as you can make your own weld rod out of other plastic lying around allowing you to repair damaged items.

A popular technique is to extract some plastic needed for your repair from another part of your item. For example, if you need to repair some molding on your boat, you might be able to cut away some of that plastic hidden under a seat where it won’t be missed. If only a little plastic is needed for a small repair you can make some shavings off of a place where no one will notice. We’re not plastic welding experts, we don’t do it ourselves, but we’ve found a couple videos from Youtubers who seem to know what they’re doing. Of course, this comes with the disclaimer that we do not endorse any of the techniques shown within!