Posts Tagged ‘plastic’

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!

3 “Insider” Plastic Tips for the DIY Community

Posted: September 30, 2016 in Uncategorized
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When you’re a member of the public who just needs some plastic for a home project, dealing with a plastics distributor can be a little awkward. They’re not like a “store” in the traditional sense, with product neatly displayed with nice little price tags. Product is quoted based on specific needs – and often, you don’t even know what those needs are! Sure, you may have an application in mind, and you might have heard of a plastic that works well in that application. But how do you know for sure? In addition, industrial plastics are a premium material and the cost can be a surprise to some people. Here are three “insider” tips from those of us in the plastic industry which will help you have a more satisfying experience with your DIY application:

1.) Be open-minded – and don’t care about looks

Many people have an idea that, like with products made of consumer or “commodity” plastic, that a wide array of colors, textures, and sizes are available. This is not the case at the level of industrial plastic. Most plastics only come in one color per grade and the color is often just white or black. Colorful plastics like frosted acrylic are hard to come by in small quantities. You need to place the needs of your application beyond color matching or other aesthetics.

Also, be open-minded about material. It’s quite possible a knowledgeable salesperson will recommend a different material. If you’re worried about the increased costs, ask for some clarification on why the suggested plastic might be better and what other options you have available.

2.) Ask about offcuts

For many smaller projects you don’t need a lot of material but plastics will commonly be offered in 4′ x 10′ or 4′ x 8′ sheets. One potential option is to ask your distributor if they have some offcuts they would be willing to sell. Many plastic distributors will have companies under contract to buy their offcuts, but some are usually kept on the shelf and either way the distributor usually makes a bit more by selling offcuts for cash. You may have to take a slightly larger piece, but it could save you money, and it’s worth an ask.

3.) Arrange your own pickup/freight

“Quote and include the freight” is a common request a plastic distributor gets but do you know what you’re actually asking for? True, to get a contract done industrial supply companies will mostly quote the freight. But what they’re doing for the most part is contacting a freight broker and getting them to spit out a quote, which is then marked up to you by 10-15%. The time a salesperson takes away from their primary job needs to be compensated for. Your best option is to just ask for the product weight and dimensions and contact a logistics provider yourself. Or make a UPS, Purolator, or Loomis account for the smaller orders.

plastic-sheet-bearings-sprockets-sm-e1424241479803

 

Hockey Puckboard

Posted: July 12, 2016 in HDPE
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Have you ever tried to get a quote on “synthetic ice”? Most of the time that refers to white UHMW polyethylene and regrettably most folks don’t understand how expensive a sheet of that material is…Several hundred dollars for the required thickness in a 4′ x 10′ standard sheet size. This sometimes makes the hockey fan give up their idea prematurely because unless you want

The good news is for many “DIY” at home hockey applications a much less expensive material will do the trick. HDPE “puckboard” is literally named after the hockey puck – it is a type of plastic sheet used as hockey “boards”. That’s a purpose it can serve in your basement or home rink as well: puck board will take the power of hockey shots and not break. Most commonly it’s used as a platform to shoot pucks off of: protecting the ground and providing a smooth surface to shoot off of.

The plastic can be had for pretty cheap from a distributor that stocks it. You can expect to pay between $80-$120 for a 4′ x 8′ sheet, which is quite inexpensive as far as traditional “industrial” plastics go. The plastic is easily worked with home tools (drills, power saws). You do need to watch out for the fact that it is not UV-stable meaning if you leave it outside you will eventually get UV damage…It will crack and become brittle, no longer holding up to shots.

That said, if you’re a hockey fan and want a cost-effective plastic to use for anything short of skating on, puck board will serve you well.

Puckboard_hockey

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

 

 

Choosing Your Plastic

Posted: March 8, 2016 in Education
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The question comes up a lot in the DIY community: “I am planning to make _______ so what plastic do I need?” The good news is selecting a plastic for your application is very similar to how heavy industry would select a plastic for their projects. You need to select a plastic based on certain properties it gives you, not some sort of bias to what you “heard” worked – and especially not based on color!

So when thinking about your what you need for your application consider the properties of these plastics:

 

UHMW Polyethylene:

-Slick, low-coefficient of friction

-Good wear properties

-Good abrasion properties

-Thermoformable (at home)

 

Polyurethane:

-Elastomer: will regain its shape after depression (excellent as mallet heads)

-Excellent cut & tear resistance

 

Nylon:

-Bearings (takes up to 4000PSI)

-Wear plates

 

Tuffkast:

-Replaces nylon in cold operating environments or where impact is a concern

 

Acetal:

-Small parts, replacing metal

-Where machinability is key, can hold tight tolerances

-Replacing nylon in “wet” applications

 

PVC:

-Anywhere a “frame” is needed.

 

Industrial laminates/Phenolic/Micarta:

-Mechanical or electrical applications

-High load bearing

 

There are a lot of flashy “do it yourself” projects that hobbyists get in to with plastic but one application that keeps coming up that you might not think of is the simple gear. The general reasoning to use a plastic gear as a replacement for a metal gear make intuitive sense: the plastic gear will often be mated to a metal component and the fact that you have a plastic on metal connection now should greatly increase the life of the mating components. The problem is hobbyists do not really know what to use: we’ve heard of HDPE, UHMW, nylon and even polyurethane be requested by the DIY community for a home made gear application. But how suitable are these plastics for the application?

Actually – not very. Most plastics cannot be machined to tolerances as tight as metal be but many plastics, especially the polyolefins such as HDPE and UHMW, are very soft and could have the gear teeth quickly lose their shape once that gear starts working. Nylon is better, but it cannot take much impact at all – especially in the cold – meaning it is considered to be fragile. The best material for the application is actually acetal. Acetal is a very hard plastic that machines very well and holds excellent tolerances. It is widely available in rod stock from plastics distributors across North America. The gear in the picture below is made of white, homopolymer acetal. Black copolymer acetal is also widely available and would work well too – its properties are slightly worse than homopolymer in some respects but it is also less expensive.

Acetal

 

 

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.