Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

FRP wall panels are great for protecting walls in mud rooms, shops, bathrooms – basically anywhere you need easy-to-clean wall protection. However, it’s not just as simple as nailing in a few sheets of panel, you will need to plan ahead for your project.

We recommend you get some graph paper first and get some measuring tape. Go to the room you’re going to put the sheets into and measure the width of all the walls. Make notes of how many inside or outside corners you have in the room at this stage. Now note that the FRP wall panel sheets are all going to be 4′ x 8′ or 4′ x 12′ in size. How are you going to orientate them? If you need only coverage right near the floor, you could potentially put the sheets sideways to save on the total the amount of sheets you require. Sketch that onto your graphic paper because you will need to know how many sheets to put on a given wall. The reason for this is that you require dividers (known as ‘j-trims’) for the spaces between the panels on a given length of wall.

All j-trims, inside and outside corners come in 10′ lengths. You need to consider that you may need extra of those to cut-to-size to fit into your project. Lastly, you need to consider FRP adhesive. Many jobs are not actually done by nailing in FRP panel to the wall. Instead a special FRP adhesive is used that comes in 4 gallon buckets. Each bucket covers 200 square feet of surface area. Based off of 4′ x 8′ panels (32 square feet) or 4′ x 10′ panels (40 square feet) add up the total square footage of your panels divided by 200 and then round up…That’s how many buckets of FRP adhesive you require. Also factor in you will want to have a trowel to spread the adhesive onto the panels.

At this point you should be ready to quote! You now know 1.) how many panels you need 2.) how many j-trims/inside/outside corners you need along with 3.) required adhesive. You’re set to purchase the material and get started!

 

Sheet Rubber For DIY Applications

Posted: October 3, 2018 in Uncategorized
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Rubber is a topic we haven’t covered much on this blog so this is overdue! The main thing we hear is that people don’t really understand what types of rubber are out there or what they need for an application. Often people will ask for “neoprene” since it’s the only name they know. Neoprene has obtained a good reputation because it’s similar to a multi-tool: it does many things good, but it also isn’t optimal in many applications and a discussion with a rubber expert can lead you to a much better rubber choice.

Several other types of rubber including EPDM, natural gum, butyl, Viton, silicone, and SBR exist. In addition, each of those types of rubber exist in various strata of quality – general purpose, commercial grade, and premium grade. For example, natural gum rubber while being ‘natural’ is actually a premium grade product. We know of cases where people get quotes on natural rubber, primarily because it comes in some colors, and are shocked at the price. We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: with plastics (and rubber) you will pay a premium for color with almost every product. When it comes to applications if at all possible it is best to take the default color it comes in.

Rubber varies widely in properties. For example, “neoprene” is not resistant to some common chemicals and is poor with extreme temperatures. But if you’re unsure of your applications requirements you may use it in a place it will fail. Likewise, Safeguard gum rubber, while expensive, has exceptional UV-resistance and functions well over a wide temperature range. Other rubbers have severe limitations with UV and mechanical properties. Again, you wouldn’t know if you didn’t ask!

Redwood Plastics and Rubber has an excellent line card breaking down many types of rubber to various categories and giving their strengths and weaknesses. Click on the link in the previous sentence to view a downloadable copy.

With a name like “Marine Board” you’d assume this variety of polyethylene has really only one purpose…Marine applications. But this really isn’t thinking outside of the box because the properties of the plastic are so adaptable to a variety of applications. If you’ve been on a newer boat you may have already encountered marine board. It would appear to be a high quality plastic with a textured orange peel surface. It can be cut, sawed, and drilled like wood with the same tools used for woodworking making fabrication easy for the “DIY” crowd.

There are some excellent properties the material has. It will not rot, swell, rust, splinter, or delaminate and is fully UV-stable for long term outdoor use. It also holds up well to extended foot traffic and is virtually maintenance free except for cleaning.  It comes in a rather unusual standard size for plastics: 54″ x 96″ and is available in several thicknesses from 0.25″-1″. It’s also available in several attractive colors, which are posted below.

For more information or pricing on Marine Board please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber today.

Safely Working With Phenolic

Posted: August 9, 2018 in Uncategorized
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“Phenolic” which really refers to a wide range of plastics called the “industrial laminate” family offers remarkable physical properties such as strength and dimensional tolerances. When you combine that with immunity to rot, rust, mold, termites, etc. it can be an excellent replacement for wood and metal in many applications for the DIY community. However, different than most other plastics working with phenolics can cause a big mess and the product can irritate your lungs and is not a good thing to breathe in. This is especially an issue when phenolics are saw cut! You will need the following items:

  • Dust mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Long sleeved shirt and pants (coveralls are preferred)
  • Gloves

In general, you don’t want the dust to collect but you don’t want to dry sweep it either. Use some sort of wetting agent like water to coagulate it for removal. We found a safety document that is quite helpful and you can view and download it here.

PVC KidWash

Posted: July 31, 2018 in PVC
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One of the coolest “DIY” projects you can do is make “water park” style homemade attractions using PVC piping. These are really just limited by your imagination! While we’ve seen a lot that are pretty basic, we came across one on YouTube that combines PVC sprinklers with a rotating head but also an innovative use of polyurethane foam pool noodles and sponges for safety and obstacles. While no blueprints are linked in the video, it does show what’s possible with a little effort.

It’s very common for the home project enthusiast to not know what to ask for when it comes to clear plastic for a project. Often we’ll get “I need polycarbonate or acrylic for a project” and we on the distribution side, at the sponsor of this blog, Redwood Plastics and Rubber, are left with making a decision on materials. You know that? That’s OK! We love to help but instead of picking something for you, we would instead work with you to figure out the details of your application because there are good reasons for doing so.

Firstly polycarbonate and acrylic are *not* similar materials beyond the fact that they’re hard and clear. The first difference you should probably be aware of is price. Polycarbonate is about 25% more than acrylic meaning if all things are equal you could be potentially paying too much for a plastic that isn’t optimal for your application. So when is each plastic optimal? Lets start with what each plastic does well and where it is poor.

Polycarbonate is incredibly strong which is why it’s often used as safety glass. Any application where you’re going to face impact you want polycarbonate. Additionally polycarbonate has a bluish tinge that some people find more attractive than just a pure “clear” (like acrylic has). Polycarbonate is the only version of the “twin” or “multi” wall greenhouse plastic so if you’re needed that corrugated product than you need to know it will be polycarbonate. Where polycarbonate has trouble is outdoor weathering (UV-resistance) and very poor scratch resistant. Polycarbonate will eventually scratch and it will degrade in the sun over a couple of years. There are anti-scratch and anti-UV versions of the product but this is done by a film being applied (not a chemical added) which means eventually the film will degrade and the plastic will be vulnerable.

Acrylic on the other hand has excellent scratch resistance and good resistance to UV and weathering. However, acrylic is more brittle and is not available in less expensive economy forms like twin-wall polycarbonate. Colored acrylic actually has poor availability due to so many colors, levels of transparency, etc. It is also important to know that acrylic comes in two major grades: extruded and cast. Extruded is less expensive whereas cast is stronger, clearer, and yes, more expensive. How do you know which is which? Well, if you drawing or plans you’ve looked up happen to call for 49″ x 97″ acrylic sheet than that is cast – because it’s 1″ wider and longer than the standard sheet size of 48″ x 96″. Otherwise, you probably wouldn’t notice a difference.

Hopefully that helps narrow things down a bit?

Good luck with your projects and here’s to a great 2018!

 

Know Your “Phenolic”

Posted: May 28, 2018 in Uncategorized
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Phenolics, more correctly known as “industrial laminates“, are one of the most misunderstood industrial plastics available. There is so much confusion among the general public that many in the DIY community don’t even know what to ask for. This isn’t a good thing, as these plastics are on the more expensive side and a failure to figure out what’s best for your application could lead to failure or wasted money. The first thing you need to figure out is what your application requires and why a phenolic is necessary. Phenolic plastics are used in two primarily applications: where a super “hard” and mechanically strong plastic is needed and also in electrical applications, such as circuit boards. For applications where mechanical strength is key, then CE grade laminate is the most available and least expensive option. If the application is electrical and/or fire-retardant properties are important then a fiberglass epoxy product called FR-4 is likely the best.

An important note here is that the FR-4 product, which is very popular and widely used, isn’t a phenolic at all! Phenolic is an old plastic resin, one of the first ever used, and it became associated with industrial laminates which are essentially compressed layers of fabric, cloth, paper with a plastic resin binder. Typically the brown colored mechanical grade products like the CE grade laminates are the true phenolic. However, many industrial laminates exist which use different binding agents.

One other area people get tripped up with is the branch of “melamine” laminates. Melamine laminates are commonly used as kitchen cupboards; however, this is different from the engineering grade melamine laminates available from industrial distributors such as Redwood Plastics and Rubber. Watch out for that, as the products are not interchangeable.

At the end of the day, do not feel anxious or embarrassed to simply ask a plastics expert for help. They will work with you to understand the priorities of your application and deliver the best solution. That’s their job!