DIY Material Guide: Polymorph Plastic ( a Thermal Plastic With Low Melting Point)

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Introduction: DIY Material Guide: Polymorph Plastic ( a Thermal Plastic With Low Melting Point)

This is not so much an instructable, but a guide on what you can do with this incredibly useful plastic for DIY projects.

The low working temperature of 60 degrees Celsius makes it as easy to work as Playdoh, when cooled to room temperature, it has similar properties as nylon, useful for tidy little bit of odd jobs you need for your projects (so long as it is not temperature sensitive). Not to mention this plastic is biodegradable!

See more information at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycaprolactone

For purchase in UK, Mindset (Previously known as Middlesex University Teaching Resource) is an excellent source, and for other DIY stuff as well.

http://mindsetsonline.co.uk/Catalogue/ProductDetail/polymorph?productID=d2096150-e298-4dd2-adfa-2d599245f038&catalogueLevelItemID=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000

Product Information:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GW4aSJjXoAI

For purchase in the US and A, the trade name for the product is 'Friendly Plastic' as genial as a happy meal ;)

Below are some of the ideas I had for using this plastic.

1) Rubberband Gun
2) Coat hook for the cube farm partitions
3) Single AAA battery holder
4) Some reusable chunks of polymorph plastic

Step 1: Another Idea: Camera Mount for a Mountain Bike

Here's another project, you can do with the plastic, a screw on camera mount that fits onto your mountain bike handle bar.

The common screw thread for compact film/digital camera is:
1/4" diameter coarse thread - 20 UNC, or in metric 6.35mm, if in doubt bring your camera to the hardware store!

A trick when using this plastic is not to let two pieces stick together before it is cooled to room temperature, applying a thin coat of vaseline prevents sticking, it is useful when making a negative mould or imprint of an object.

It is also easier to work the plastic with a heat gun, where you can apply gradual and selective heating to specific area, a hair dryer isn't hot enough, not a solution.

Step 2: A Toy Maybe?

Here's a Lego size figurine made with the fantastic stuff, the idea was to embed a flashing led powered by a button cell battery for a fickering heartbeat, cute? Never quite got on with that.

Step 3: Another Idea: Actuator Mount for a Kite Camera

This thing was flown with a power kite to take aerial landscape photos, the mounting is made with the plastic to fit a compact Canon Powershot snugly, even the actuator cam driven by a servo is made from the plastic!

And for convenience, how about a battery spacer made from two screws?

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    54 Comments

    You've changed my LIFE, I'm an inventor and I'm kinda ashamed I've never heard of this stuff. The number of item I could have prototyped SOOOO much better and easier makes me want to cry. On the other hand, the things I can do now that I'm aware of it make my day, and my prototyping life!!!

    Thank You

    thanks for the link to Middlesex uni. Great price on polymorph. For info the teaching resources unit is now called www.mindsetsonline.co.uk

    Thanks!

    iam looking to make a knief with a hard plastic i need to find the best plastic for this can someone help me please

    2 replies

    The UK seller of this type of material has exactly that application in a You-Tube vide.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhVuc6RNyaw

    I just found the material advertised this morning and I'm already having ideas I can use it for!

    I want to make plastic at home in order to make an arrowhead. i am

    experimenting with Casien (boiling milk + Vinegar). add formaldehyde during the

    boiling to get even better Galalith plastic. but i can't do that yet because

    formaldehyde and the family cooking set do not mix well.

    Let's share ideas.

    Hi,

    I'm a real noob here (This is my first time).

    This looks promising (I think). I'm looking at an application that needs a material that can go from hard to soft and back again within a second. Do you think with a sufficiently high flash heat, this would do the job? How much would this theoretical high temperature be?

    How fast does it go soft? And back again? How sturdy is it? Would a large piece of it support an adult's weight?

    If not, does anyone know any alternative materials that might work for me?

    Thanks a ton for any help in advance. :)

    i couldn't ever remember the name of the friendly plastic, but now i do im gonna try and find some for a cyber-punk gasmask. THANKS!

    can this be used to cover electrical wirings?...instead of using electrical tape?

    I'm sure that this InstaMorph is as good as the next one but it, like it's competition it is so overpriced that it's depressing. As of this writing, $18.95 for 12oz -- on par with the rest of the polymorphic plastics (PP) on the market. I hope that a company will come along and start selling PP at a reasonable price and realize that after all, PP is just plastic, nothing more. I personally like the Friendly Plastic brand since it has the lowest working temperature of 120 degrees and seems to remain malleable quite a bit longer than the other PP's on the market. The InstaMorph needs to be heated to 150 degrees before it becomes malleable. I will be purchasing a container of Instamorph just to see if there is anything special that can't be found in the others. If there is, I will surely post all about it!

    Hi iv been working with this for a quite some years now and done nearly every thing to the stuff to make my art :) yes it can be painted, acrylic works but will easily chip off, spray paint is the same because the material when think can flex any coatings will chip or flake. If you’re wanting to add a colour coating that will stay I suggest fantasy film, it can be added as a sealed coat or as I have done to some of my pieces, coated with the fantasy film then peal off and it dyes the polymorph that colour. Fred Aldous (http://www.fredaldous.co.uk/) sell fantasy film in an array of colours :D I highly recommend. Also if you have any other polymorph related questions I may be able to help with please go to my question and answer’s page at: (http://www.formspring.me/ArtistCJackson). I hope this is of helpalso feel free to visit my website to see my polymorph sculptures from palm size to 9ft tall :) www.artistclairejackson.com

    BIOMORPHIC_POLYMORPH_EXHIBITON_by_Emerald_Magpie.jpg

    Sort of. I made a "Fly" Halloween mask out of it once and painted that with acrylic paint. It worked, but over time rubbed off. Spraypaint would probably work.

    I never tried painting it, since it can be reuse over and over and over and over.... Since it feels like nylon, best guess, probably any kind of paint that sticks to that would work.

    I've been searching all night for US suppliers of large quantites of polycaprolactone (friendly plastic, shapelock). The closest I've come is Solvay's CAPA 6500, but I'll be astounded if I can find a distributer or source for a hundred pounds of this stuff for sculpture.

    1 reply

    One kilo of Polymorph from DAGU (in Taiwan) is 22 USD. Shipping to my home would be another 22 USD. For two Kg, the shipping cost would be 32 USD. The total will be 76 USD.

    http://letsmakerobots.com/node/11563?page=1

    Out of curiosity, not malice - but is the polymorph moulding fine enough to create a mold for a key? I was thinking of placing the key on a solid surface, then covering the side in polymorph then repeating the other side (depending on the grooves running down the side). I'm aware of the fact that two pieces of "molten" polymorph will stick to each other so I thought this way might work...
    Of course then it'd be nice to find a low melting-point metal with a high tensile strength so the copy wouldn't snap in the lock and leave evidence *I mean* mess up the lock ;)

    1 reply

    Hi,

    I think it is possible to mold the key, but I suggest you coat thinly, the flat surface with vaseline, and do likewise with the key, wash and dry your hand before pressing the impression with polymorph.

    But I doubt you can get a casting metal that would meet both the requirements of low melting point and tensile strenght.