Need help with home plastic smelting

I want to reuse some of the stuff that I've been throwing (bottles, plastic bags, etc) as well as plastic casings (from radios, CRT monitors, etc). Hope to melt/ mold them into usable parts.. What items in the garbage that are best suited for this? Something easy to work with at home / garage (low melting point, doesn't produce that much toxic fume, and the like) Btw, I've tried melting soda bottles, too sticky to work with... Any suggestion, help is greatly appreciated..

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TIKIWOLF6 years ago
ShapeLock low temperture plastic is great for molding stuff:
Take your plastics to Recycle Center.
oldaza7 years ago
move on to electric heating, it will be easier to control heat. you can use any laser infrared to know the temperature of plastic, and somehow control it by turning off the electric stove when it reaches a little below the melting point. Due to thermal inertia, temperature will continue raising a bit, then start to decrease. the container for plastic can have the shape of a syringe, so you can force the plastic out when melted. let me know how it goes
110100101108 years ago
PET (transparent bottles) and very hot water. no fire. it usually gets clean and neat plastic like electronic cases is the worst i think
jeryk8 years ago
try using tongs (like is used in metal casting and raku firing)to handle your container of molten plastic, along with the afore mentioned safety gear. less chance of getting blister packed.
Patrik10 years ago
Instead of actual "smelting" of plastic, you guys may also want to have a look at vacuum forming. Cockpits of fuselages for RC planes would probably be a good fit for this.

Here are some existing instructables on the topic. Note that the first one is a very "home-built" version, using a heat gun, peanut butter jar, vacuum cleaner, and plastic from a milk jug. The other two require a bit more in tools.

How to Make Your Own Prototypes : How to make your own Plastic Vacuum Former
Make a good, cheap, upgradeable sheet plastic vacuum former
Vacuum Former

For those of you more concerned with recycling and less with looks - you may want to give this a try with layered shopping bags. You may be able to get some interesting sheet plastic by stacking enough of those. Dunno - just give it a try...
burgener10 years ago
What is I heat up the plastics inside a sealed chamber with a vacuum applied, or purged and filled with CO2 or other readily avilable gas? Then maybe the chamber could be removed from the heat source, and presureized, thereby "squirting" the liquid plastic into a mold or an extrusion die? Or am I just exposing my ignorance?
Patrik burgener10 years ago
This is pretty much how extrusion and injection molding works. Toxic fumes and high-pressure molten plastic - not necessarily something you want to do at home...
scorpman10 years ago
I was thinking of doing something like this, anyone try anything similar or have tips? I was thinking of making cockpits or fuselages for R/C gliders by using a plastic bottle and shrinking it around a mold. I know I would have to cut it off and glue the seem, but that would be fine. I was thinking of just having the mold on a long rod and dipping it into hot oil. The premise behind this method is a long time ago, my sister use to work at a fast food resterant and they would make keychains from placing the clear plastic lid of the baked potato container into the frier. It would shrink and harden. Think it would work?
NachoMahma10 years ago
. Most of the thermoplastics that you find around the house are not DIY-friendly. They are usually injected or extruded at very high pressures. There's probably something you can do with the stuff, but don't expect to heat a bunch of it on the stove and pour it into molds. . Of course, there are a LOT of different plastics - some may be easier to handle than PET (beverage bottles), PE (garbage bags), PVC (plumbing), etc.
gyromild (author)  NachoMahma10 years ago
don't expect to heat a bunch of it on the stove and pour it into molds.

Thats what i was hoping for actually..
But like you said, there are a lot of different this point i've ruled out PET, yesterday i experimented a bunch of drinking straws, it became charred and end up being brittle (overheated i guess)..

Btw, you reckon PVC will be hard to work with?
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