Archive for the ‘Cool Projects’ Category

Something a little different today. We found a short (3-1/2 minutes) video tutorial on how to make a corn starch based bioplastic. None of the ingredients are toxic and most are what you would have around the house. It’s easy to make, simply requiring a pot and heating element. It’s a good introduction into the world of bioplastics which is a rapidly growing segment of the plastic market. Large companies such as soda pop manufacturers and other food processors that currently use a lot of plastics in their packaging are looking for biodegradable and environmentally-friendly plastic options.

This particular project would seem best for children interested in science. The goopy starch-based plastic can be used in simple molds or laid across stencils but it doesn’t seem practical for too many functional products. Its resistance to wear and properties seem to be similar to LDPE once cooled. To be honest the examples that the host of the video shows at the end are…Underwhelming. But since the basic mixture for this plastic is so easy to do it would hopefully inspire in your mind some better things to do with it.

We’ve posted the video here:

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We have an unspoken rule we’re about to break here. This blog is about connecting the “do it yourself” (DIY) community with industrial plastics. Plastics that are not very well known outside of their specific industries, but offer a lot to the home handywoman or handyman. Industrial plastics are also known as “engineering” plastics and are a separate grade of materials than what makes up most consumer products. But we were trying to find a new application for summer and stumbled on something with “commodity” plastics, IE. plastic bottles, we wanted to share. Pretty sure this application would be difficult to do with the usual industrial grade sheet/rod/tube…And hey, it promotes plastics recycling! Always a good thing.

It’s a home-made “air cooler” using nothing but Sprite bottles, tubing, a drill, a few pieces of wire, a glue gun, and an oscillating fan. We haven’t tested it (like most applications we highlight) so don’t take our word for how good it works. It’s a short video we wanted to share as North America starts to experience the heat waves that hit with late spring and summer. One change we’re confidant in recommending; however, is the use of a 2 liter bottle as the drain bottle strapped to the fan (you’ll see in the video) as it makes little sense to have two one liter bottles both drain into another one liter bottle. Based on the volumes at play, that would result in a bit too many times having to get up and drain! The full video is below and is about four minutes long, hopefully it works for you!

Remember that 1980’s TV “MacGuyver” where the show’s star was able to make ingenious solutions to problems using every day items such as string, paper clips and bottles? We recently came across a similar application on Youtube for a plastic bottle mousetrap. The items you need are pretty easy to get a hold of and most people probably already have all of them in their house right now:

  • 2L plastic bottle
  • string
  • (2) rubber bands
  • (2) chopsticks
  • (1) paper clip
  • dry mouse bait

Other recommendations from the comment section were 1.) wear gloves (to cover the human scent of your hands) and 2.) screw the bottle onto a stable surface. We’ve never made this trap ourselves it just seemed like an interesting idea. It has the benefit of “catch and release” too if you don’t like how mice are killed in traditional snap traps. We’ve embedded the video below:

 

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

 

 

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…