Instructables

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, Middlesex University Teaching Resources, MUTR, is an excellent source, and for other DIY stuff as well.
http://www.mutr.co.uk/prodDetail.aspx?prodID=576

Product Information:
http://www.mutr.co.uk/pdf_files/LIT0048.pdf

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.

 
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mr.chemist2 years ago
iam looking to make a knief with a hard plastic i need to find the best plastic for this can someone help me please
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.
mikkujacob2 years ago
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. :)
doomsdayltd3 years ago
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!
reden20003 years ago
can this be used to cover electrical wirings?...instead of using electrical tape?
(removed by author or community request)
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!
boreddusty7 years ago
Can it be painted?

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.
etork7 years ago
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.
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

DeadlyDad4 years ago
 If you register with the site, you can buy it at letsmakerobots.com/node/11563 for $22USD (plus shipping) for a 1KG tub.
5ifty04 years ago
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 ;)
Corrugator Supercilii (author)  5ifty04 years ago
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.
What about coating the inside of the mold with vaseline and placing polymorph in the mold, so the vaseline ensures that they don't stick/melt to each other? 
Or does polymorph not have that much tensile strength to make it viable for key making?
Good idea with the washing/drying - could get messy I guess.
Really good quality smoothing on the model btw.
Kaiven5 years ago
I really want someof this stuff now. If only I could buy from ebay... hmm... Man! And being reusable is another bonus!
MANIAC5 years ago
got mine from ebay
MANIAC5 years ago
hi i have polymorph but can never make smooth shapes. how do you do it?
I predominately use polymorph to make my art sculptures feel free to look at my work and leave a comment and ask any quetions iv been working with this material for three years and pushing it to its very limits :D <br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.freewebs.com/artist-claire-jackson/index.htm">http://www.freewebs.com/artist-claire-jackson/index.htm</a><br/><br/>thanks claire jackson xx<br/>
Gosh! Those are amazing! Very organic, especially those 'Cthulhu' like creatures! I am sure you had a hard time with sore hands with the heat and shaping. I saw colours on some of them, would you mind sharing how this is done?
were can i salvage stuff from ineed it in white
marty88885 years ago
nice design could you possibly add details of how you achieved the ball and socket joint? yours looks impressive
cd415 years ago
did you mold him by hand?I want to know because i want to go get me some polymorph right now, or atleast gonna try(don't know where to find it!)
T0BY cd415 years ago
I got mine from Maplin.
amando966 years ago
my uncel just gave me a packet... came to see what it is. it's cool!
foobear6 years ago
cool, I'd never heard of this
mud_dann7 years ago
gosh...this is brilliant...wonder where i can get em in Malaysia? Hopefully i can find it for my next prototype assignment
I know that mutr.co.uk sells it, they also sell a liquid version.
not off-the-shelf...if you are really interested.. then you might have to make online purchases for it..
Does any one know at what temperature the material becomes "extrudable" ie through a syringe. I had it in an oven up to 200 Celsius and it became more tacky but by no means molten to the point of extrusion...
Da_Fudge6 years ago
I don't know what you are talking about. I use'd a hairdrier and it works perfectly.
poptop7 years ago
This stuff has a shelf life. I have had the pellets that got guey when heated and the friendly plastic that turned brittle.
does it have to be 60 Celsius or Fahrenheit? How much did you pay for all that? ..It would sure be fun to get a crap load of this, heat it in a bathtub, then make sculptures from it.
first one, then the other.
60 Centigrade (140F), the instruction crib sheet recommend that you use hot water to soften it, it come packaged in a tub with rice grain size pallets, I brought a tub of 500 grams, about 1.1 lb, more than enough to last many projects!
thats pretty cheap...know anywhere to buy from in the us?
Hmm.... Maybe Google might be of service? Am is not living in US and A. :)
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=friendly+plastic&btnG=Google+Search&meta=
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