Introduction: Custum Fit Record Phone Holder, or How to Bring a Thermoplast Into New Shape
This is about how to make an individual phoneholder from scratch like pvc-pipe, a vinyl or any other thermoplast for the bike.
I made a few so far and came to the conclusion that old pvc-pipe is the strongest raw material I used, but usually they dont carry recordlabels on them, right?
Here I am writing particularily about a phoneholder, but the making of a torch-holder for the bike or a sheath for a machete works just the same, there are endless useful ways of reshaping thermoplasts into new forms.
In the last step I show some of those.
Step 1: What Do You Neeed?
To make a simple phone-holder for the bike you need nothing but a waste piece of any sort of thermoplast (like Pvc) and something like a screw clamp or a ziptie to hold it in place.
Optional is a piece of flat wood, which will act as a model for the shaping of the holder.
Necessary tools are:
-An anglegrinder or a dremel or anything with a friction cut off wheel; teethed saws can create tiny cracks in the plastic that lead to earlier failure of material. I found it usefull to have cut off wheels of big as well as small size.
-And a heat source like a hot air fan or a gasstove.
Everything else is easy going, basics, maybe pliers are handy to have around.
Step 2: About Thermoplastic Behaviour
Before you get all started, be aware that heating plastic can and usually dos release badly toxic fumes, so hold your breath or maybe rather work in a well ventilated space. Having that said:
Here are some principles of thermoforming thermoplasics:
For example PVC has it's meltingpoint around 150°C (~300°F). But what makes this group of plastics special is that there is the so called glass transition temperature as well, in case of PVC around 70°C (~160°F). That means, that inbetween is a sertain range where we can form the material to diffrent shape without it being runny liquid or risking it breaks. My generation never got to use records, in my young childhood we had cassetes and shortly after everything was on CD. So here is a little story on how I found out about what these wide black discs actually are made of.
I was walking through the Pondicherry sundaymarket looking for some spare parts for an other repair when I saw this old vinyl lying in the sun infront of the feet of the stalls seller. The suns radiation was completely absorbed by the dark black plastic which caused it to curl badly, it was obvious there was not much sound left in this one. This was an indicator I could try to make something nice from it. I let him know that thing was functionally destroyed, but he wouldn't let me go with it with less than 5 Rupies. Hell, I liked the nice blue cover so I took it anyway.
Step 3: Bringing It to Shape
First of all I took a piece of flat wood which I carved to about the same dimensions as the phone, trying to be true to curves as well. Precision is not needed here, I did it with a rough grit sandinding disc on the anglegrinder.
I took the piece of plastic and gave it a rough square cut to have a handy workpiece.
So what I do is, I heat up a part I want to bend evenly on the stove till I can see it curl slightly by the force of gravity only. I beginn with the sidewalls by holding the model in place and then bending the sidewall around it, guided by the tablesurface. When I am happy with the shape, I spit a mouthfull of water on it while letting it rest just in place. That instantly cools the plastic ind it solid again.
After repeating that with the second sidewall, I cut off top and bottom as much as required. Keep in mind that you need a stopper on the downside, so a little bit needs to extend.
As that is done, I take a small cutting disc and cut two horizontal slits. That bridge inbetween will be helt by the screwclamp later to mount the holder to the handlebar.
If your phone has some buttons, cut them free!
What is left is finetuning:
I like to bend the "bridge" to a convex shape to allow it to line the handlebar tube tighly, this will reduce the risc of cracks. In the same go I also bend it downwards as it is hard to be seen in the 9th picture. That prevents the phone from getting scratched by the screwclamp's sharp edges.
With the anglegrinder I trim all edges to a nice finish and check the fit of the phone. I experienced that it is best if it hoolds tightly on the downside and is a little bit more loose on the topside. by carfully heating up the whole thing and crunching or streching you can adjust to whatever you desire.
Then punch two holes with a hot pointy iron.
I tried to bring the Rerecord's hole into the right place for the phone's flash, but slightly missed it. So I heat up a ironstick on the stove and just melt the hole to the right shape and punch another hole the same way for the camera.
Now you can check if both holes align with the phones gadgets and if yes, that means good news, that was is.
If you need the option to have the phone horizontally mounted, you can add two more slits that the same way, not too close and square to the existing ones.
Step 4: Mount It
I prefer to mount the phoneholder with a screwclamp, I like them; and they can provide really tight fit if you need. I have it a little loose, same like the brakelevers: when there is any kind of impact, for example when you crash or drop your bike these parts on the handlebar don't break, they are able to turn around. This is something I learned from downhill-mountainbiking: we just tighten the brakelevers as much as needed so they don't move when used, but they survive the not to rare crashes, which are just part of the sport and so you adjust :)
Having it movable is also handy when you want to use the phone as a front-light or a "dashbord-like" camera, then you can just turn it up to the desired position.
So what else can we do with thermoplasts?
Step 5: More Ideas?
What else is possible to make by forming thermoplasts?
I learned that pvc pipe is a good bit tougher than a record, getting scraps is easy and the big advantage is that there are numerous wallstrenghs. As tubes are long, you can make long plane sheets of pvc by cutting one wall lenghthwise and then pressing them flat after heating, too.
Here are some pictures of things that I made using the same method.
The last picture shows the to me most interesting option: copying the shape of broken or weak structures to add a pvc- reinforcement. Most people know about tying seperated parts to gether, but if you can keep ends flush and prevent shearing, that is mechanicaly a completely different story.
One instructable i loved was this one, https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Plasti...
I made lots of them, great and useful stuff.
What do you think of this method of forming? Is it outdated due to the upcoming of 3D-printers, Laserscanners and CNC-mills?
I think not, because there still is a big difference in the inner material's structure, the availability of recources and the grade of availability to users if you compare to the other common methods.
Let me know what you think! What kind of experience did you make with thermoplasts?
This was my first Instructable, I am happy about any feedback you can give!
I recently finished two other BIG projects which I am going to create IInstructables on, as I want them to be good reads I hope for your good advise :)
Thanks for reading and happy crafting,