Building backyard playgrounds and “forts” for kids is a common job for the hobbyist. Usually lumber is employed in this application; however, sometimes you want to go the extra mile. You may be surprised to learn that the same colorful playground plastic used in public and commercial playgrounds is available to the public. The product is called “Densetec Play” and is plastic sheeting for this express purpose. Densetec play is available in all the bright colors you’d expect but has additional hidden advantages as well. Designed for outdoor use, Densetec Play is fully UV-stable and will not be affected by rot, rust, or mold which will attack traditional materials used in this application.

Densetec Play is easily fabricated using household power tools. It can be cut, drilled, sawed or routered with easy into endless complex shapes. The special “orange peel” surface texture helps the product be resistant to liquids, dirt, and grime allowing for easy cleanup. Densetec Play is available in 1/4″, 3/8″ and 1/2″ thicknesses. The average cost per 4′ x 8′ sheet would be $200-$350 USD depending on quantity. For more information on Densetec Play, contact the distributor Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

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In your searches for plastics to fulfill your dream of various projects you may encounter the term “elastomers”. What are elastomers? Defined generally that is a material that “rebounds” when impacted or compressed. The rule of thumb is the material has to return to 90% of its original size 10 minutes after compression occurs. The two elastomers you’re most likely to encounter are polyurethane and rubber. Again, as a rule of thumb, polyurethane is a more expensive – but premium – replacement for rubber and outlasts rubber in most applications. Where rubber should be substituted for polyurethane is in applications with lots of vibration. That’s why you see rubber used as bushings on vehicle suspensions for example.

Rubbers and polyurethane are also defined by a wide range of hardnesses, unlike other plastic materials. Commercially sold rubber usually ranges from 40A durometer (quite soft) to 80A which is fairly rigid. Polyurethane ranges from about 52A-75D and that change in letters following the number is important. At 75D the polyurethane feels “rock” hard and it is primarily used in applications like sprockets and bushings. One major advantage to elastomers over some other plastics is that they are readily moldable. Not just injection molding, but simpler and less expensive open cast molding.

If you have questions about whether polyurethane or rubber is right for your application please contact us today.

 

Sick of cracked, rotten, and unstable wooden jack pads for your RV? Want to do a little project that will make you feel accomplished and provide a long-lasting solution? The good news is making your own plastic jack pads is an incredibly easy project that virtually any member of the “DIY” community can do! Fabrication of a couple pads for your RV should take 15 minutes or less.

What you will need to start:

-(1) 12″ x 24″ x 0.75″ (thick) piece of UHMW black-reprocessed plastic.

-(2) pieces of rope 1/2″ in diameter 12″ long.

-Table saw

-Power drill with 3/4″ bit. The bit should be at least 1.25″ long.

Instructions:

  1. Measure with a colored marker or tape the halfway point on the UHMW plastic. You want to simply cut it in half to obtain two 12″ x 12″ pieces. One of the pieces may be undersized but that is not important for this application.
  2. Cut the UHMW in half.
  3. Find the midpoint on each pad again. Mark it.
  4. On either side of your mid-mark, 1″ in, make two points 2.5″ on either side of that line.
  5. Drill thru-holes with your 3/4″ bit in those two marks.
  6. stick a piece of rope through the holes. Tie knights on each end wide enough that the rope cannot get pulled back through the drilled holes.
  7. *Optionally you can then cut the corners off the pads.

There you go, you have two jack pads that should last as long as you have your RV! Estimated cost per pad would be $35.00 including materials but they would likely retail around $70.00+ for an equivalent pad were you to buy them.

Matting For Your Workshop

Posted: February 14, 2018 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

This posting is going to be a little different than the others. We’re not talking about plastic for a specific project but instead about the comfort of your own “DIY” workstation or workshop.  If you’re like us, you’ll be spending long hours standing as you machine and fabricate your various projects. Do your feet ever get sore? Do you get lower back or joint pain? How about even Plantar’s Fasciitis on your feet?

The reality is for a long day’s work in the shop you need to take care of yourself. Investing is specially designed rubber “ortho” matting such as Redwood Plastics and Rubber’s line of Redco™ Protivity™ Specialty Floor Matting would be a good choice. The first two options of matting “Checkout Comfort” and the premium “Anti-Fatigue”. These function by reducing strain and pain for people having to stand for long periods. They also are finely textured, which will reduce slip and fall risks.

Another interesting member of the matting series is the “ShockGuard” mat. This mat serves to prevent people from receiving high voltage shocks and is compliant with ASTM D-178-81. A certificate can be included with the order. There are other mats available that could serve a purpose for the “DIY” community, for example if you’re building a home gym, there is a “Sport Floor” option that is highly impact resistant.

For more information on these products contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

When someone in the “DIY” community wants to machine their own bushings for a project nylon is usually chosen as the material. This is because nylon is well-known and people trust it as a bearing material. But nylon isn’t optimal for all applications and sometimes can have serious drawbacks. It has poor impact properties, cannot handle extreme cold (where it gets even more brittle), and swells in water. This means that nylon is a poor choice for aquatic environments.

Polyurethane is a better choice particularly Redco 750 XL. This product is a black, lubrication-impregnated, bearing-grade polyurethane. Were you aware polyurethane came in bearing grades? Most people only think of it as a foam or a soft analogous product similar to rubber. In fact, polyurethane preforms very well as a bearing and requires little maintenance or lubrication. In most other respects the bearing is similar to nylon, though it can only handle 2500 PSI (compared to nylon’s 4000 PSI rating). Still, for most DIY applications that level of load should be fine.

Bearing grade polyurethane is available in standard 18″ lengths and in diameters from 2″-6″. This does preclude it from being used in smaller bushings, where extruded nylon 6/6 or acetal may be necessary.

Let’s let the dreariness of winter pass for a moment with warm thoughts of Spring shall we?

Outdoor living areas are becoming more intricate and popular these days. What was once just a barbecue and some furniture is now a full living space, often with a complete outdoor kitchen and lounge, with a fire place and so forth. As outdoor spaces have grown, the plastics world has grown with them and we want to highlight two excellent plastics for outdoor living areas.

The first is HMW PE 500 where the letters stand for “high molecular weight polyethylene”. This food-safe white plastic provides an excellent cutting surface for your outdoor food preparation needs. Unlike UHMW PE, HMW PE 500 will not dull your knife blades. The product is available as standard in 4′ x 8′ sheets. If you don’t have a use for all of that plastic, why not cut some of the extra into cutting boards for friends or family?

The second plastic might even be more exciting. It is “wood grain” HDPE plastic. This UV-stable and wear-resistant plastic has a faux wood grain finish. Strong and long-lasting, it replaces wood with a low-maintenance alternative for a wide array of outdoor living projects. Example applications include counter tops, cupboards, table surfaces, tree houses, or virtually anything else you can put your mind to. The sheets are currently available in a standard 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ (thick) sheet. Currently the only color is brown but tan and black are being developed.

For pricing on these products please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

For members of the public PTFE (polytetraflouroethylene) and UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) seem to be very similar materials. They’re both white, soft, food-safe, and widely available from plastic companies. But are they that different? Oh yes they are! The first thing you would notice is the price. PTFE is literally in another category of plastics called the “high performance” plastics. This means the cost is going to be much higher than UHMW. So when do you need PTFE?

It would be an application where slickness is important above all other factors. UHMW, while less expensive, will outwear, outbear, and outperform PTFE in tough mechanical applications like homemade bushings, cutting board, etc. PTFE is very soft, so soft in fact it suffers from something called “cold flow”. This means that PTFE slowly creeps like a semi-solid liquid almost just sitting at rest in room temperature doing nothing. What PTFE does have in addition to outstanding slickness (low coefficient of friction) is that it takes very high temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. UHMW does poorly in high temperatures and cannot handle more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

To be honest, in most DIY applications that call for a white plastic with balanced properties UHMW is going to be your go to. It’s too available, too cheap, and too balanced to go with PTFE. But in certain situations where very low friction is required (telescope mounts for example) or high heat will be encountered – PTFE may be your only choice.

For more assistance with your application please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.