Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

There are a lot of outdoor enthusiasts who are interested in food-grade plastic cutting boards. But it for an outdoor kitchen to something exotic like a fish cleaning station on a boat. The applications might seem different; however, the same family of plastic, polyethylene, is almost always used. But which plastic to use? What concerns are there?

Both UHMW (ultra high molecular weight) polyethylene and HDPE (high density polyethylene) in their “white” or more correctly, “natural” grades are FDA and CFIA approved for direct contact with food. HDPE, even though it’s less expensive, is preferable because unlike UHMW, it will not dull knives over time. If you have UHMW lying around it’s certainly a good option though and is probably worth the trade-off vs. buying a whole new sheet of HDPE. UHMW is commonly available in 4′ x 10′ sheets but many plastic companies will send you a partial piece of that sheet (with a nominal cutting fee included). HDPE is commonly available in 4′ x 8′ sheets though many companies also stock it in 4′ x 10’s.

Cutting the plastic to size is easy: household power tools such as drills and saws will easily cut it. Having a 40 grit sandpaper on hand would be good to deburr the cut edges. The plastics glue very poorly so if you’re installing a blacksplash, for example, attached to the cleaning station or cutting board you will need to screw it in. 3/16″ or 1/4″ self-tapping screws 6-12″ apart should be fine. The plastics are soft enough that your drill will countersink the heads slightly.

The problem with these natural grade plastics is that they are not UV-stable. You should expect some cracking of your cleaning station if exposed to the sun in about two years depending on exposure. The board surface should be seen as a “sacrificial” surface which will need replacement every few years – just part of the gig. The surface will become brittle and crack which isn’t good because it allows bacteria to hide in the crevices but otherwise this degradation does NOT make the plastic toxic.

If you need assistance or a quote on either of these food-safe plastics, please contact Redwood Plastics and Rubber.

 

Plastics are very recyclable in general and it is a travesty that poor recycling behaviors have given the material an undeserved bad reputation. Efforts begin at home and fortunately LDPE and HDPE, two common household plastics, can be melted down using household appliances and then remade into new objects. The video we are sharing below doesn’t actually teach you what to make with the polyethylene recycled plastic; however, it does teach you a simple way to melt the plastic into a brick, which could then me fabricated into a new project or alternatively, melted down into a new mold.

In less than five minutes this video will provide you with the essentials to recycle your own HDPE and LDPE:

BRAXX Anti-Slip Sheeting

Posted: December 20, 2018 in Uncategorized
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Ever worked on a home project where you need a rugged anti-slip surface? Could be stair treads, maybe the side of a pool, a deck or anywhere slippery. One option is BRAXX anti-slip sheeting for an application that does not require load bearing material, IE. you are going to simply screw, nail, or bolt the anti-slip surface into a substrate. BRAXX comes in a standard 3′ x 9′ sheet that is 0.30″ thick and this is the only size available. There are two options, a blue UHMW plastic with sand surface anti-slip buttons or the more popular safety yellow UHMW with LUNS (clean coal slag) anti-slip buttons. See picture below for detail of each. This product is very strong as UHMW cannot break and it was originally developed for military applications such as the floor surface of naval tank carriers.

The product cannot be ‘glued’ using a liquid adhesive. Mechanical fixation is required but there is no special hardware for this…Nails, bolts, screws, whatever you have lying around will work. UHMW is easily fabricated with power tools found at home. This is a premium product, you can expect a cost of approximately $600.00/sheet US funds before freight is factored in. However, for a premium anti-slip surface from the demanding DIY individual, it’s the best there is.

This product is available from Redwood Plastics and Rubber: http://www.redwoodplastics.com

For those not very familiar with plastics, it is sometimes difficult to tell the plastics apart. A plastic rod feels like, well, just plastic and we don’t consider sometimes the nuances of each material. One major consideration for those of us in the DIY community is how a material is fabricated or machined. Acetal is a very hard plastic and machines very well and can be held to tight tolerances (+/- 0.005″) whereas realistically (+/- 0.05″) is the best you can get out of UHMW in a DIY setting. UHMW is much softer and less dimensionally stable; however, it is slicker and more economical.

A short video on YouTube we found shows both plastics being machined and offers a comparison, take a look below:

Often members of the DIY community are unsure how to machine engineering plastics. It’s one of the main questions that comes up. Redwood Plastics and Rubber has a handy sheet that gives both tooling and run speeds for various common industrial plastics. You can see those below:

 

 

 

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.