Redco HDPE “Play” Board

Posted: February 21, 2017 in HDPE
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A versatile product to highlight for the DIY community. Most of you will know about HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic which is used in countless applications including many products people use in their daily lives. Redco “Play”(ground) board is a specific type of HDPE which adds several benefits over the natural variety of HDPE.

Firstly, the product is available in several colors which itself differentiates it from other commonly available sheet/rod/tube plastics which can be tough to find in colors other than white or black:




In addition, Redco Play offers other benefits over HDPE natural sheet such as:

  • UV-stability (for outdoor applications)
  • Orange peel surface (desirable for some applications where a smooth surface isn’t beneficial)
  • Color is impregnated into the sheet and won’t degrade quickly
  • Impact resistant
  • Wear resistant
  • Easy to cut, drill and fabricate

The product is not stocked at our branches but can usually be brought in within 1-2 weeks. Price before freight costs, taxes, etc is about $12-$15 USD a square foot depending on thickness of sheet. If you have interest in this product for your application and would like to discuss please contact Redwood Plastics.

Tabletop made from green Redco Play.


We’re always scouring YouTube for DIY plastic applications and we found an interesting one today. The video is by a DIY mechanic and his problem is that stock engine mounts for his car are really expensive (about $160.00/ for a pair) whereas he can make at home four of them for just $25.00. What we like about this video is that 1.) he does his homework and researched his materials. He knows and engages the audience on the importance of shore (hardness) of the polyurethane. The second part of his application that’s great is that he’s replacing rubber with polyurethane.

Both materials are of the same elastomeric family. However, polyurethane is superior to rubber and is a definite upgrade. As long as the urethane compound is good these engine mounts should outlast and outperform the rubber. There is outgassing from the creation of plastic (and the burning of rubber which could be toxic!) so wearing a mask is a must. We also cannot endorse this particular application since we don’t have experience in it. However, it remains as far as we can tell a well-crafted DIY video from an informed individual who has carefully chosen the plastic for his application and seen excellent results with performance and cost savings. Might be something to look into if you’re a DIY car enthusiast!

You can view the video here:

UHMW polyethylene has countless applications for the DIY community but as we head into winter there is one simple application that we have to highlight on this blog. That is the UHMW plow blade for snow plows. Let’s not over-complicate things: this is just a UHMW strip with some holes drilled in. But in order to get what you need, you need to know what to ask for! First of all know that the material you likely want is the reprocessed-black UHMW grade. While being less expensive than the natural grade, the cross-linking in its production actually improves wear properties. A nice bonus when you’re also saving some money.

You also need to know what thickness of blade you want. In general, the blades are almost always 1″, 1.5″ or 2″ thick with 1.5″ being the most common. If you don’t know what you need, pick 1.5″. Many plastic companies will pre-drill holes for you if you need them for a fee (usually about $80.00) but we would recommend you do not. Firstly to save money, secondly you need to remember that UHMW is not a dimensionally stable plastic. Changes in temperature may expand the blade from when the holes were drilled meaning by the time you get it – the holes don’t line up! To avoid disappointment we recommend you do the drilling if at all possible.

If you have questions about UHMW snow plow blades please contact us.



Acrylic sheet (sometimes called “acrylic glass”) is a well known plastic with countless applications for the “DIY” community. Everything from cold frames, to decorations, window replacements or even laser-etched business cards (look them up!). Acrylic offers several advantages other plastics, particularly see-through plastics, do not have. Acrylic’s main competitor in the world of plastics is Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate has higher impact strength than acrylic and should be selected when that is the main concern. Otherwise, acrylic will be slightly (about 15%) less expensive, have superior UV and weathering resistance and be much more scratch resistant: which is a major concern with polycarbonate.

Recently we stumbled across a website called which has an index for all sorts of really neat acrylic projects to get your creative juices flowing! You can find these projects here:


Over the years we over at Redwood Plastics (the company that sponsors this blog) get inquiries all the time asking for synthetic ice. Most customers have seen it, but they do not know what it is, how much it costs, or how to install it. This can cause disappointment in people who dream of skating on an all-weather, all-year rink.

The first “fact” to discuss is what is synthetic ice in the first place? It could be one of two types of plastic. Companies that specialized in synthetic ice, of offering pieces that are perhaps 24″ x 48″ or 48″ x 48″ with interlocking segments, that synthetic is usually high-density polyethylene (HDPE) material in 3/8″-1/2″ thick. However, when asking for synthetic ice from a general plastics distributor you will usually be offered Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE or shortened, UHMW) this slicker, stronger, and yes – more expensive – polyethylene variant is widely stocked. Almost no plastics distributor will stock purpose-made interlocking sheets of synthetic ice: the market doesn’t warrant the inventory space.

The next question that comes up is cost and here is where a lot of the disappointment occurs. All synthetic ice is “expensive” but UHMWPE, as an engineering-grade industrial plastic, is more so. Prices will vary but a ballpark price for 3/8″ thick material would be $400.00/sheet and $600.00/sheet for 1/2″ thick in a 48″ x 120″ sheet. For a power skater who is also procuring a harness and wants to “skate on the spot” for training, this price can be OK, because only one sheet will be needed. But many potential customers want to build an entire rink out of the material and that becomes cost-prohibitive for many upon quoting.

The next barrier faced in a synthetic ice application is that customers usually do not know how to “make” a rink defer that responsibility to the plastic distributor. Unfortunately, most distributors just sell plastic and do not operate like a hardware store where representatives are well-versed in most potential applications you would use a particular plastic for. They can tell you how slick it is and how it will react to sun exposure all day long – but they won’t be able to tell you how to make a rink. What they can also tell you, which often comes as a surprise, is that the UHMW cannot be “glued” to a floor. You must figure out another way to keep the sheets stationary. Most often this is done by the customer designing a frame which is just big enough to contain their rink: the frame and pressure of the sheets pushing against each other keeps the rink stable.

One of the other common questions we get asked is “how long does the rink last?” Impossible to answer with accuracy since there’s no baseline in how much people use it. But perhaps 2 years is typical before the surface is so worn the sheets need replacement. Half-inch thick plastic will slightly last longer as there’s more area to get chewed up.

Synthetic ice remains an excellent DIY project for the skating enthusiast; however, you need to understand the facts about what it’s going to involved to design and purchase your rink.


We found an interesting blog that brings up a great point for those of us with a green thumb – in many areas of North America late fall and even winter does not mean the end to the growing season! Lots of cold-hardy vegetables and herbs are available but you do need to make some precautions. Specifically, you need to shelter the plants from heavy frost. What we like about the idea on this blog is that it’s 1.) easy and 2.) fits around your standard rectangular planter bed. You just need some PVC brackets, some 3/4″ OD PVC pipe and a bunch of flexible 1/2″ OD pipe. Over that you can drape some flexible clear plastic. The plastic protects the plants from frost damage and also provides some heat insulation.

You can read the blog in its entirety here.


We write a lot on this blog about doing things with plastics purchased from distributors – but what if you could create your own plastic at home? We stumbled on an open-sourced recycled plastic manufacturing system called the “Precious Plastic V1.0” and, at least from the video, it looks to be a really neat system. What is interesting is that it combines an extruder, rotational molder, a shredder, and compression molding system. This would allow you to create a wide variety of plastic products because those are three main processes to manufacture virgin plastics. The only system missing is a cell cast mold for sheet but presumably you could make one yourself by laying out the plastic from the extruder in between some metal sheet than compressing it.

The system allows you to recycle old plastic into items you would use. They look…Creative, but anyone who bothers to set up this system likely doesn’t care about the funky colors and look! The best part of all is that the creator of the system wants it to be “open-source” so the information and plans he has are free for you to use. You can find them on his website here.

Here is a quick video of the system in action: