Archive for the ‘Building & Design’ Category

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.

Advertisements

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.

Many members of the “DIY” community are attracted to the concept of plastic lumber. Usually made from recycled materials it carries both benefits to the environment by using less new material. In addition, plastic lumber can be manufactured in grades that are much stronger than regular wood. Most grades of plastic lumber are UV stable and involve much less maintenance than wood. They will not require repainting, will hold their color, will not rot or splinter, and will not come under insect attack.

However, with everything there is a “catch”. In the case of plastic lumber it’s the price and delivery. The problem comes down to two factors 1.) customers assume that plastic lumber is widely stocked in the available colors, sizes, and profiles they see on the internet. 2.) Customers assume that plastic lumber is, well, “it’s just plastic”. What people do not often understand is that many plastics, including plastic lumber, are not considered the “commodity” grade of plastics that the public usually encounters in everyday life. Commodity plastics make up consumer items, what’s in your car, your toys, your kitchen. Plastics are actually available in not one but three higher quality grades above “commodity” (yes, the actual grade of plastics used in consumer items is called ‘commodity’). The other three grades are, from lower to top, engineering, high-performance, and imidized.

The DIY crowd will usually only encounter high-performance plastics in PTFE, which is used in items like telescope mounts. They will never encounter the ultra-expensive and hard to obtain imidized plastics. What you need to understand is plastic lumber falls into the engineering grade of plastic and the most commonly quoted grade, fiberglass reinforced, is at the upper end of engineering grade plastic cost.

What are we getting at here?

You need to understand that the cost of plastic lumber vs. equivalent wood will be approximately 8-10x the cost of wood! We’re just stating the facts here, folks. Plastic lumber is not “just plastic” in the way a milk jug is. These plastics are considered a premium, specialty building material, which is why you see them in so many cool applications! It needs to be a great application to be worth the cost! The reason we provided a range on cost is that the color of the lumber actually plays significantly into the cost. Black is the least expensive, followed by wood tones, and finally really off-wood colors such as yellow or white. the difference is about 30% across the spread.

So when do you go for plastic lumber?

First of all, you need to be realistic about the cost. In addition to the lumber’s cost it likely will need to be shipped in from the manufacturing plant and this can easily cost several hundred dollars. You need to be realistic that the lumber will not get to you within a day or two (getting it on site in a month is typical). Finally you need to be realistic about your project. Hey, we love plastic here, but it has it’s time and place. If you want a premium, low-maintenance building material for your project, great, splurge and make your dream project come true! The issue is you need to have the facts on hand and analyze whether or not plastic lumber actually fits your needs.

 

 

So you’re a “DIY’er” at heart. You want to make your own plastic sheaves but don’t know where to start. You’re not sure what material or grade is best for your application and you don’t know what is the minimum amount of “engineering” needed to make or procure a plastic sheave? This write-up will help you through that process.

First of all, material. Assuming your sheave is not going to take a lot of impact and is not used in a wet environment go with moly-filled nylon. This is the same nylon used on crane sheaves and is optimized for low-RPM, high load applications. If your sheave will take impact or be used in a wet environment we would recommend Redco Tuffkast. This is a co-polymer material which overcomes many deficiencies in nylon: Tuffkast can take impact and is better in wet or cold environments. It is more expensive than nylon, however.

After material selection you need to know these basics for the simplest design (a non-webbed, bearing-less sheave):

  • Bore diameter of the center hole.
  • diameter of the rope or cable to be used on the sheave.
  • Overall diameter of the sheave

Next you’ll have to do some very simple math. Firstly, to figure out how deep the groove in the sheave should be: (rope/cable diameter) x 1.75. This will give you the minimum groove depth you need, but in most cases just round to make it a little deeper and give yourself a safety margin. For example, if your sheave is 15″ in total diameter and you have a 1″ diameter cable. That is 1″ x 1.75 = for a required depth of 1.75″. But for the sake of safety margin you can make this an even 2″. The inner diameter of the sheave is now 11″. Please note that for the inner diameter you are taking that required groove depth x 2.

The last thing you need to consider is the thickness of the sheave. For most smaller sheaves just go with a 1/4″ wall thickness, these are the “shoulders” of the sheave on either side of the rope groove. So, for example, if your rope groove is 1″ wide, then you add another 1/2″ for the walls (wall thickness x 2) so you would have an overall thickness of 1.5″. The last thing to touch on here is the radius of the rope groove (the curve of the groove the rope sits in). this is almost always 30 degree and in rare cases, 45 degrees. Run with 30 degrees as a standard.

There are some guidelines for figuring out parameters for more advanced sheaves such as webbing or thickening the hub and we’ll discuss those next time in “Sheave Design: Advanced”.

For help with your sheave applications and to purchase sheave materials please contact Redwood Plastics.

 

First things first, we here at Redwood Plastics (the administrators of the Plastichowto blog) are happy to answer your application related questions. That said, we might be able to save some time with your future DIY projects by helping you narrow down what plastics you might need for your application. If you’re still hesitant or have additional questions just ask us. Without further adieu, a list of plastics and where they might fit in to various applications:

UHMW polyethylene:

An incredibly versatile plastic, UHMWPE is the “Swiss army knife” of plastics. It’s good at a lot of things, great at a few things and substandard for a few applications. If you need an impact-zone UHMW works as it’s virtually unbreakable and it also works as synthetic ice (though unlike HDPE, it will dull skate blades). It functions well as light-load bushings (under 500 PSI) but cannot hold tight tolerances (+-) 0.05″ is about the best you’re reasonably going to get. We’ve seen UHMW used as sheaths for bladed objects and cutting boards as well. UHMW has benefits of being inexpensive compared to other industrial grade plastics and is also widely stocked.

Nylon:

Nylon’s main application in DIY applications is as sheaves and bushings. Nylon machines well and can handle 4000PSI in operation, which is why it works so well under load. You do need to be aware if your application is exposed to the sun (and therefore need UV-stabilizer) and if your application is marine. For “wet” applications acetal is recommended as a substitute because nylon will swell. In addition, nylon gets brittle below -10 degrees C.

Acetal:

An excellent all-around plastic, acetal can be substituted for nylon in most applications as it handles a similar load for applications like bushings and sheaves. In addition, acetal is the best engineering plastic to machine. It holds tight tolerances and is excellent for small, complex parts. A popular DIY application for acetal is replacing metal parts in paintball guns.

Tuffkast:

A premium nylon-like material, Tuffkast was designed to overcome the drawbacks of nylon. Tuffkast is better in the cold and absorbs much less moisture than nylon. It can be substituted in most applications the only potential issue is that it is softer than nylon, which may mean reduced wear properties in some applications. Otherwise, it is extremely versatile and would delight most DIY’ers if they only knew it better.

Acrylic/Polycarbonate:

Acrylic and polycarbonate are used where you need a clear plastic. Acrylic is not as strong as polycarbonate but it has better scratch resistance. Both plastics are much stronger than glass. In addition, acrylic resin is naturally UV-stabilized where only special grades for polycarbonate are. Safety glass, windows, canopies and tabletops are DIY applications for these plastics.

Phenolic/Industrial Laminates:

Industrial laminates are a very large family of plastics where different resin systems, substrates, and additives mean there isn’t a “one size fits all” phenolic. For the DIY community phenolics are fairly expensive and difficult to work with as you require dust exhausting systems and masks. Some are glass-filled which means special tooling to work with them. Phenolics can handle a large amount of load, often in excess of 20,000PSI and are primarily used in mechanical applications by the DIY community. So anywhere the plastic’s job is to provide strength, rigidity and form. It’s hard to narrow down specific applications for this – we’ve seen almost everything! But what comes to mind is, for example, replacing the metal collars on a sailboat (which hold the sail masts firm and steady) with phenolic. Remember, unlike metal, phenolics won’t corrode due to salt and water.

There are several other plastics we could talk about but their use by the DIY community would be limited. If you’re interested in discussing your application feel free to contact us.

Rover1

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.

 

 

Fixing and painting the family fence is a North American past time and seemingly one of the rights of Spring. For those of us that do not enjoy spending a warm sunny day painting and nailing there is a solution for you.

 Redco™ STRONGRAIL® is a Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP) product made out of pultruded fiberglass components. As such it has a number of remarkable structural properties: corrosion-resistant, fire retardant, high-strength and non-conductive…

…Which probably means very little to you.

The properties and benefits Redco™ STRONGRAIL®  that would interest you are:

  • Maintenance free (never needs painting!)
  • Weatherproof
  • lightweight
  • Attractive

Redco™ STRONGRAIL® offers a long-term solution for your home building needs that allows you to enjoy the beauty of fencing or railing that always looks new. While the neighbours may be spending their Saturdays painting and repairing their fence, you’ll be enjoying time with the outdoors, family, or whatever else you might choose to do.

And you’ll still have the best looking fence!

If you have interest or questions about Redco™ STRONGRAIL® or our other FRP products please contact us today.

E-MAIL: sales@redwoodplastics.com
CDN: 1 800 667 0999
USA: 1 866 733 2684

STRONGRAIL® is a registered trademarks of the Strongwell Corporation.