Instructables
Picture of PVC  --  It's Great for Inventions
PVC, polyvinyl chloride, is a thermoplastic. It softens with heat and rigidifies when it cools again. While soft, it can be bent and even stretched into molds. Cold, it can be sawed, filed, drilled, scraped, or whittled with a knife.

PVC material can be found at most hardware stores in the form of plumbing pipe. I find it to be inexpensive, especially when I consider all the things that can be done with it -- musical instruments, repairs, tools and toys to name a few.

It is resistant to sunlight damage, has a degree of flexibility, is fairly strong, and is electrically non-conductive.

This is a very valuable material for use in inventions; one that very few people seem to be have experience with.

The picture below shows some of the shapes it is possible to make with PVC.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Safety while heating PVC

Picture of Safety while heating PVC
We love plastics for what they do for us, but plastic manufacture and decay tend to pollute the environment and negatively affect our health.

Vinyl Chloride, one of the components of PVC, is carcinogenic. When it is locked up in the polymer, however, it is much safer to be around. In my years of experience working with PVC, I have not noticed any adverse effects on my health from being around it.

Always work in areas with good ventilation. If you do get caught in a cloud of smoke, hold your breath and move to clean air.

When heating PVC with a gas stove or propane torch, try not to let it burn. Smoke from burning PVC is bad. With experience one burns it less and less. Don't panic the first time you do burn some. It scorches, but doesn't immediately burst into flame. Move the material away from the flame and try again. Don't breathe the smoke. Smoke avoidance comes naturally for most people.

While heating PVC over a gas flame, keep the plastic an appropriate distance from the flame to avoid scorching the surface before the inside can warm up. It takes time for heat to travel to the center of the material being heated.

Keep the plastic moving, and keep an eye on the state of the plastic. When heated, the PVC material is flexible, like leather. Beyond this stage, you risk scorching it.

A word from James, the plastic engineer -- "Just a word of warning, PVC can handle some high heats but if it catches fire, you wont be able to put it out, it does not need oxygen to burn so don't do this inside".

I do work inside, but my house is made of cement and has good ventilation. MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE GOOD VENTILATION. PLAY WITH FIRE -- CAREFULLY.
jcl2365 years ago
Just a word of warning, PVC can handle some high heats but if it catches fire, you wont be able to put it out, it does not need oxygen to burn so don't do this inside. James -The plastic engineer

I have a workshop with a HUGE exhaust fan that replaces 1 window...the workshop is built from cinder blocks & has a concrete floor.....

I do not worry about having a fire or fumes in my workshop....with a 12 foot ceiling of wood, anything under 6 foot in height, can not burn.

Besides, I always err on the side of caution.

Thinkenstein (author)  jcl2365 years ago
Interesting. When it does start to burn, the natural reaction is to pull back from the fire, so I doubt it would ever do flash combustion on anybody. I have always worked indoors, but my house has good ventilation. I can see where your warning would carry more weight in colder climates, where houses are closed up. I'll try to include your warning on my warning page. Thanks for the info. By the way, I do a lot of work with a combination of nylon fishnet and cement, what I call nylon-cement. See my website house photos, www.angelfire.com/in2/manythings A plasterable plastic mesh is useful. Can you think of any way to recycle trash plastic into a plasterable mesh material?
xproplayer5 years ago
could i use a hot plate for heating?
Thinkenstein (author)  xproplayer5 years ago
I have never tried using a hot plate.

now this is just my 2 cents worth on this hotplate thing...

as heat rises from its source, it looses temperature(cools off)....

so knowing this, it is my uneducated opinion that a hot plate could never get PVC hot enough(with any consistency) to make much of anything..

but as I said, I am uneducated in this field of making things from PVC.

Tenz4 years ago
Have you given thought to using Hot water to soften the parts instead of fire. to me it would seem more safe
SIRJAMES09 Tenz1 month ago

water can not get hot enough to mold PVC in to any kind of shapes unless you have a boiler(commercial boiler)....

I could be wrong, but if I remember correctly, 250 degrees F. is about as hot as a home water system gets....which is not hot enough to melt PVC.

bowmaster4 years ago
Take a 12 inch piece of 1 inch diameter PVC, stuff it with C-4, a put a blasting cap on one or both ends.
n0ukf bowmaster4 years ago
What's the point of both ends?
bowmaster n0ukf4 years ago
More compression on the C-4.

and IF, if you live to tell about it, you get a free ticket to the federal pen for about 10 yrs or more....not my idea of fun.

hyratel4 years ago
what thickness pipe is this, and what outer diameter? I am mostly finding stuff of thin wall ( < 1/8" ) in sizes under an inch

If you go to this website: http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-PVC-Pipe-Size-for...

It will explain in some detail what size pipe to use for what project & also tell you the actual sizes of the PVC pipe(inside diameters & outside diameters).

Thinkenstein (author)  hyratel4 years ago
I think this dust pan was schedule 40. 

It can be frustrating to not find the thickness you want.  1/2" CPVC for hot water fits inside thin wall 1/2" PVC, but not inside schedule 40.  For some projects thin wall is best and I can't find it any more around here.  I guess it turned out not to be popular with people for plumbing.   Anyway, it's all good, and it's best to have some of everything on hand. 
I've found suppliers online who sell PVC in flat sheets (best price found yet - $3 12x12 x 1/8" ) but they only have gray, not white

reason I ask is because the big stuff (inch and up) has heavy or thick walls - and some of the really big stuff is foamcore-walls, presumably for weight reduction. any suggestions on where to look for large-dia, thin-wall?
Thinkenstein (author)  hyratel4 years ago
No suggestions.  Good luck finding what you want.  . 
agis684 years ago
Really nice instructable...once I met a dude he melted old CD's (BULK no Industrial) to make various things....when I wanted to teach how he do it... he vanished!

it must have been his "trade secret" & didn't wish for anyone to know the process...LOL : )

ratty8804 years ago

Great instructable!  You can also use PVC to make Knife covers, you heat it up, place the blade inside and then squish it flat.  The sheath fits tightly on the knife.  You can also drill holes through the sheath so the knife will dry if you put it in wet.

Thank you so very much!!

Seriously.

I have a kitchen knife(razor blade sharp) tha I have a tendency to keep in a section of the drawer by itself because there is no sheath for it...

So TY for the idea!! : )

Thinkenstein (author)  ratty8804 years ago
Thanks for the ideas.  I also make carrying sheaths for hand saws, axes, etc.  PVC sure solves a lot of problems quickly and easily. 
cart5622 years ago
I think it was Phil B's instructables i was looking through and one of them consisted of him putting small pieces of pipe in a pyrex cup with water in it and putting in a microwave. It was great for making small, flat pieces and I was just wondering if you have tried using a microwave before. Btw, apparently the newer Pyrex glass may explode from cooling too fast so either experiment with an old one or be cautious when removing it from the microwave for those of you who wish to try it.

to my knowledge, ANY GLASS that is cooled too fast will break....be it Pyrex or not. when heating things up in an enclosed area(like a microwave oven), it is ALWAYS best to err on the side of caution....heavy leather gloves, fire resistant apron, clear face mask/safety glasses/goggles, etc. That way if anything should happen, you're covered & less prone to injury.

kirnex2 years ago
LOVE this I'ble. I'm going to have to set up a good ventilation system in my workshop just so I can try some of these ideas out!

in my case, my workshop is an old garage made of cinder blocks & HUGE windows...it was originally built about 1936 or '38....

anywo, my point is, I have a exhaust fan replacing one window....the fan is about 48 inches in diameter & will do a complete air change in the garage about 3 or 4 times in about 1 - 2 hours. Fumes? what fumes?

so there's an idea for you for ventilation....when deciding what size fan, bigger is often better....especially with flammable or toxic fumes...

Figure the size you need, then add about 15% more to the size.

Thinkenstein (author)  kirnex2 years ago
Good luck. Have fun!
ludenwick5 months ago

brilliant post. lovin it. Many thanks

I_StarkGuy6 months ago

I'm just getting into PVC since the moment I wanted stronger lightsabers. And I plan on making a bow. Thanks for your tips.

By the way, you have an interesting lifestyle :)

fkenneth made it!7 months ago

Experimenting with DIY PVC pipe projects. I always use my hairdryer to make curves.

2014-03-21-3114_1.jpg2014-04-25-3260.jpg2014-04-25-3261.jpg
kwongniyom12 months ago
Very Nice Idea
bfk1 year ago
Not pretty, but man, you are intense. You've made everything except pipe... But you've made pipe fit together, so I guess that counts:)

I spent my career designing, inventing and patenting vinyl products and never considered the opportunities that you've explored. You've pretty much covered PVC pipe (and impressively). Why not try your hand with some other common extruded shapes, like vinyl siding?
Thinkenstein (author)  bfk1 year ago
Thanks for the enthusiasm. As far as the vinyl siding goes, I've never seen it used here in Puerto Rico where i live. The pipe I can get in any hardware store. I have mixed feelings about promoting any plastic, but PVC solves too many problems to ignore.
Saitu1 year ago
I love this! It has opened me up to an awesome world of PVC! I have loads of scrap pipe bits in my backyard, and was gonna throw it out. But now, I can turn them into a project! I was wondering. Can I use a flatiron(aka clothing iron. You know, used to iron out clothes and remove creases) to heat the PVC? is the heat generated enough?
Thinkenstein (author)  Saitu1 year ago
I'm glad you are so enthused. You can try the iron, but I think you would be better with a gas stove for opening up and flattening pipe. A propane torch for detain bending.
Schmidty161 year ago
check out this http://www.instructables.com/id/Everlasting-Solar-Camping-Night-Lite/
sheilablake2 years ago
Will PVC withstand the heat of a curling iron?
Thinkenstein (author)  sheilablake2 years ago
I'm not familiar with curling irons, but if it is for curling hair, you might be able to stick it inside of some pipe sections to heat them from the inside. I don't know if it would get hot enough, or if being inside a pipe the curling iron might overheat and burn out.
ballardst2 years ago
How strong/rigid is flattened PVC? DOes it retain strength similar to its pipe form?
Thinkenstein (author)  ballardst2 years ago
Changing form changes strength. For an example, a domed egg shell doesn't break as easily as a flat cracker. If you need something that flexes, flat PVC has got to be more flexible than pipe. It flexes a lot before it breaks. If it doesn't surpass its permanent deformation point, it's strong enough. It is usually strong enough for my needs.
cart5622 years ago
So I knew PVC could be used for a lot of things but this is amazing. I might have to start by making some tool handles. I will never ever throw away PVC again.
Thinkenstein (author)  cart5622 years ago
High five! Another convert!
justjimAZ2 years ago
I have had god success using a heat gun rather than flame. I find it is easier and less likely to burn the PVC too.
Thinkenstein (author)  justjimAZ2 years ago
I'm sure that a heat gun would work just fine for many projects. I think that propane torches are more common tools for people to own and use, however. The more experience one gets with the torch, the less likely things are to burn. Some scorching does happen sometimes, but I have never had work catch fire.
lilygist3 years ago
How'd you get that flanged end on the knife holder?
Thinkenstein (author)  lilygist3 years ago
The part of the handle that stretches over the knife blade was just heated to soften it, pressed over the end of the blade, and pinched with pliers to grab tightly. Heat forming is one of the special tricks that PVC can do.
Oh I should have been more specific, I meant the thing you called a knife holder, the cup with the flanged end, not the knife handle. Did you press it against something? Can the PVC stretch, or will it just tear?
Thinkenstein (author)  lilyology3 years ago
Oh, I see what you are talking about. It is a piece of 1 1/4 inch PVC, I think. The bottom was closed by cutting tabs and heat folding them to the center, still allowing water drainage. The flared top edge was heated up and pressed over a rounded something to stretch it. Yes, the PVC can stretch, which lets you even mold complex curves into it. Stretch it too much and it will tear.

In the opening photo with the black background, see the domed shapes above the knife to see the kind of stretch you can get from it. You can make male and female molds out of wood, or other materials. Heat up some PVC and squish it between the mold halves to stretch the material to the shape you want.
That's great, I'm going to try to make a curved horn shape out of a 3" tube. I was originally going to either vacuform or cnc fabricate it, but both are complex and expensive processes for a one-shot thing.
Thinkenstein (author)  lilyology3 years ago
When you say "curved horn shape", I suspect you are biting off a lot to chew for a first PVC heat forming project. When I bend pipe, I usually fill it with sand to keep the center hole open. Trying to maintain a conical taper at the same time would be difficult. For me, next to impossible, given my basic workshop. That said, go for it! That's one way to learn something, if only to not try it the same way again.

What is the curved horn for? A musical instrument? If so, you can get useful straight conical horns by using x-ray film. (Free for the asking sometimes at hospitals.) Once you clean the image off with a metal scouring pad and water, and let it dry -- silicone rubber sticks it together very well.
I have access to a hossfeld bender, so I'm going to give that a try when I get the chance. For the cone I'm carving out the shape first with a lathe. Not the most instructablesish way to go, but it's a nice luxury. :)
Thinkenstein (author)  lilyology3 years ago
I would consider sculpting the curved horn in clay and then putting a layer of fiberglass, or something over the clay to make the horn. Then, just remove the clay.
That's a good idea, but it's a bit big. I could use chicken wire and plaster cloth and lay it over with plasteline and then the fiberglass, but that's a hell of a workflow and I want a fairly controlled curve on a budget. The horn is for a sculpture, part of it is based on a megaphone. I'm epoxying this bent pipe to a cheap storebought horn, since I don't think I could make the shape. And I'm a little excited to try working with PVC, it's so cheap(!), stable and durable, and seems pliable enough though I've yet to have a great result. I was hoping that sand alone would work to smooth out some of the bends, but the plastic expands and sand collapses. I imagine it's better than nothing. Definitely need a grooved rig to get a smooth curve, unless you've got another clever suggestion :)
I've never done anything with PVC, but I'd think that it might be a bit easier to fabricate your horn in stages. I.e - heat the PVC and bend it to the curve you want. Then cut it down and heat the PVC again, joining the edges to form your cone. Might be easier, but as I said, I've never done this kind of stuff before. :)
Thinkenstein (author)  jdougherty23 years ago
The problem is that PVC has a sort of memory. If you heat up straight pipe to give it a curve and let it cool in that curve, and then heat it up again, it tends to straighten out again as it was originally. Combining two separate steps in one is tricky.
Could you use a jig to bend the curve and then keep it in the jig when you cut it down and make the cone?
Thinkenstein (author)  jdougherty23 years ago
Sounds tricky to me. I wouldn't bet on success, but give it a try. You might learn something new.
Thinkenstein (author)  lilyology3 years ago
No more ideas offhand. Hope you find a good solution.
Vinsu3 years ago
Truly inspiring. Now I have some use for all those tools I have with no proper handle/no handle at all. Thank you!
finton3 years ago
Excellent stuff Thinkenstein! I recently discovered the joys of PVC moulding myself and seeing your innovative ideas has fuelled my enthusiasm. I particularly like the high-reach pruners.
Thinkenstein (author)  finton3 years ago
Thanks. Glad you like it. It does seem like a material everybody should know how to work with so they can invent solutions to their own problems.
n0ukf4 years ago
Could we get more info and photos on the boat? How long are the pipes? What is its carrying capacity? Are you planning to do an i'ble on it?
Thinkenstein (author)  n0ukf4 years ago
The boat is long gone.  It must have been about 25 years ago.  Pipes a full 10 ft., if I recall correctly.  That's the standard length they come in.  It carried me OK.  I didn't test it for more.  

It was fairly heavy, in part because of the wood.  Not very easy to row.  About the best thing about it was that it only needed a few inches of water. 

A fine experiment, but not worth repeating. 
Did the (essentially) grooved bottom (between pipes) tend to act like a keel to help stay straight? What was the hard part of rowing? I've been half thinking of trying this but hesitating because of the $10 cost of each 4"x10' S&D pipe available locally.
Thinkenstein (author)  n0ukf4 years ago
It was not real easy to turn, because it is more like a raft than a boat.  So, the grooved bottom may help one stay straight, or it may hinder one from turning -- depending on how you care to look at it. 

This was a fun experiment, well worth doing, but maybe not worth repeating. 

It was OK to play around with in flat, quiet water, but waves and wind made it hard to make any progress.  It would probably be better to just buy a kayak. 
Looking more into this, if I make one, I'd use nine 4" S&D instead of the six 6" (maybe SCH40?) for the main raft and pontoons. Also, in Minnesota, unpowered boats 9' or less don't need to be registered. Over 9' or powered do. So I'd be cutting a foot off each 10' pipe. I'd just have to gather up enough money for the pipe (SCH40 is cheaper 100+ miles away than S&D is locally).
Thinkenstein (author)  n0ukf4 years ago
I'm not suggesting you continue with the project, but if you do these are some further thoughts.

I heat formed the front of the pipes like boat prows to cut the water better. I sealed them with epoxy. Then, the pipes were stuffed with Styrofoam as insurance if any leaked and filled with water. The back ends were then plugged with heat-formed PVC plugs I made and sealed with epoxy. PVC cement sticks pipe together well only if there is a good socket joint. Butt joints are weak, because the cement doesn't stick that well. I felt that epoxy stuck better, and filled gaps.

I made other boat designs, including one kind of like a log-shaped boat cluster of pipes that you sat on like a horse. Nice idea, but didn't work all that well. The flat raft configuration worked better. Any pipes that are out of the water are not supporting weight, just adding to it. A raft is a raft, not really a boat, and is not as maneuverable as a boat.

I did another pontoon boat idea that came apart in fairly mild sea conditions. The kind-hearted, and who knows maybe drunk, boat captain who came to rescue me could have chopped off my feet with his propeller if he came any closer -- another risk of boating.

This row raft with a seat idea was good for very shallow and calm water, but in other situations it was not very good.
blowbyblown4 years ago
 can pvc be melted down and poured into a mold though?
Thinkenstein (author)  blowbyblown4 years ago
There are techniques for casting PVC in molds, or we wouldn't have PVC faucets, etc.  Probably in a home workshop one would not be successful, for lack of special equipment.   Perhaps it needs high pressure and absence of oxygen?

I talked with someone at a PVC factory once about getting second quality pipe cheap.   He said that any defective product just went back into the process again and was extruded anew.  

Anyway, I wouldn't attempt trying casting like that.  You might set it all on fire by accident. 
 well i live on a farm, so i've got plenty of room to not to burn anything down
Thinkenstein (author)  blowbyblown4 years ago
I was thinking more about the plastic burning.  Someone wrote that once it catches fire it can continue burning without oxygen, and would be hard to put out.  I've never had that experience, but it pays to be cautious.  Burning PVC makes some nasty fumes. 
Plastic doesn't continue burning without oxygen in my experience. The only thing that I've had do that to me was thermite and that's because it's supposed to do so.
Thinkenstein (author)  mettaurlover4 years ago
I tend to agree with you. It doesn't seem like anything would burn without oxygen. I thought that perhaps chlorine in the PVC might be the oxidizer, to explain the supposed burning. The thermite brings its own oxygen to burn.
Yeah, though oxidization, by definition, requires oxygen to occur.
Thinkenstein (author)  mettaurlover4 years ago
Maybe. Quite likely. I vaguely recall that in a chemical reaction it has something to do with which one provides the free electrons as to which one is considered to be the oxidizer. That is something like a 45 year old vague recollection from high school chemistry. I am probably wrong.
Yep, you are-oxidation is called that because it always involves oxygen. Burning is just another name for that process.
Thinkenstein (author)  mettaurlover4 years ago
From my dictionary: "Oxidation reduction, n. Chem. a chemical reaction by which electrons are transferred or shared by atoms forming a compound." As I recall, the oxidizer need not be oxygen. Of course it can be. -- Maybe "burning" is an oxidation reduction reaction that always involves oxygen. Maybe it isn't. Maybe chlorine could be the oxidizer in PVC burning, the same as iron oxide is the oxidizer in a thermite reaction with aluminum. -- Anyway, I'm no pro chemist, but I do vaguely recall that detail; that the oxidizer need not be oxygen. -- The important question is whether or not PVC can keep internally reacting under heat in the absence of outside oxygen once a reaction is started. The one who first mentioned that sounded like one who knew. It's an experiment I don't really want to run myself.
True, but that generally assumes that oxygen is present as it is in almost every case except for a vacuum, in which case you shouldn't be trying to oxidize anything in the first place.
Thinkenstein (author)  mettaurlover4 years ago
Anyway, it is misleading to non-chemists to use "oxidation" for a process that doesn't always use oxygen as the oxidizer. It's part of specialist jargon for chemists. -- That reminds me of an aluminum house siding salesman who guaranteed to all his customers that the siding would never rust. -- It would oxidize of course, but it wouldn't rust, since technically rust is iron oxide, not just any oxide. It was misleading in a way, which leads into business ethics and advertising.
Exactly. I'm just coming out of a chemistry class from before the summer and have this stuff fresh in my mind.
Yeah but it's a high melt. IOW you need a steel die mold. I've been hunting alternatives but can't find any. 350 F is the melt point. You do it in a double boiler pot or with a heat gun until it becomes clear. Another alternative is to buy hot melt vinyl (Vinyl is PVC and vice versa). Vinyl fumes are highly toxic. A safer way, if you have the cash, is smooth on polyurethane resins. It's a soft, rubbery type plastic as well and not as fragile as the acrylic resins.
SSmithers5 years ago
You have just opened up a whole new world for me. I don't have the proper tools to work metal, and sometimes wood just doesn't work. this also appeals to the inner pyromaniac in me!
Thinkenstein (author)  SSmithers5 years ago
I'm glad you are learning what a great material it is. Start asking around construction sites for scrap pipe. It's an especially good way to get thick-walled and large-diameter pipe free.
Oh, great idea. I definitely will stop and ask now.
seakrakken4 years ago
Terrific 'ible and it looks like you have put a lot of brains on overdrive!
Well done Sir.
ppsailor4 years ago
HI !  Thinkenstein  !
 Easy, very funny and ingenious.
Please, it sends but photos of the boat.
My mail:   ppnautica@msn.com
Thanks
PPSAILOR
sharlston5 years ago
no offence but have you got a fungal infection of someind?
Thinkenstein (author)  sharlston5 years ago
No offence taken. Not that I know of.
oh ok
panks5 years ago
Brilliant! thank you. My mom will love the big handles for scissors b/c her arthritis.
Thinkenstein (author)  panks5 years ago
You're welcome. I hope the idea works for your mother.
Obediah5 years ago
This is all so cool...now tell us about the kitchen wall and counter top...do you live in a cave? or is that too one of your designs?
Thinkenstein (author)  Obediah5 years ago
Check out my webpage, www.angelfire.com/in2/manythings . I live in an irregular, dome-like structure made mostly of recycled nylon fishnet and cement.
PVC is great fun to work with and have come in very handy when doing all sorts of projects, but my current favorite plastic is ABS. when heated it is very soft, and can be stretched, bent and done all sorts of things to its almost like a sheet of rubber. And if things dont work out, just reheat it and it returns close to its original form so you can try again!
Thinkenstein (author)  crystallattice5 years ago
I have a little experience with ABS. It would be good to explore it more. I think the ABS adhesive fuses ABS together in butt joints, better than PVC adhesive does PVC, for one thing. Unfortunately, where I live hardware stores don't normally have ABS pipe. PVC is what I can get, so PVC is what I play with. Thanks for reminding me of ABS, though. I took an impression of a penny once with hot ABS and it came out perfect. PVC doesn't make such a good mold.
Yes, think PVC is a bit hard for the adhesive to disolve it enough for a butt weld. Welding with hot Air works very well , though haven't tried it myself. ABS is great for "deep drawn" molds or creations, and if done even semi right, it will still maintain it's "shine". I don't even know if I can get ABS pipe here where I live, I just have some sheet left over from some party platters I had to make for a friend.
ShapoopiAGr5 years ago
Excellent work. I love your safety page, but you may want to make it a bit clearer that burning Pvc is extremely bad. It leaches chlorine, not good. Think about adding that in there, element and chemical names will ussually scare some sense into people. But really, nice work.
Ninzerbean5 years ago
Brilliant work.
Thinkenstein (author)  Ninzerbean5 years ago
Thanks. I see you did find your way to this instructable. Good luck with projects.
heathbar645 years ago
thanks for the inspiration! I always knew pvc was heat formable, but never really tried it. now I will. Do you have any way to weld it together, or do you just use pvc solvent glue?
Thinkenstein (author)  heathbar645 years ago
Good questions. I know that it can be welded with a hot air gun with a special tip, but I have never had success doing that. The glue is really only good in socket joints. Butt joints are not very strong.
OMG i just saw the boat, too!!! details PLEASE !! :D
The front end of the pipes heat formed for streamlining. Water passes between the pipes -- less resistance. Tail of pipes plugged with heat formed PVC. Insides filled with Styrofoam, just in case one leaked. It was rather heavy, because of the wood. Could be broken down for transporting. Not easy to maneuver, especially in choppy water or high winds.
oh my freakin lord. man, you are AWESOME!!! do you know how LONG i've looked for PVC ideas? you're an absolute marvel!!! i've always known i could do a lot with PVC if i only knew how to -manipulate- it!!! rock on, and keep those instructables coming!!! if you could do at least one that involved the basics of PVC manipulation, it'd be great!! like, a few pics and explanations of: cutting flattening, folding and attachment to knife handles, i'd be indebted forever!!! also, a little more detail on the fold-and-bind method you used on the dust pan. thanks so much for all the inspiring work - i know what my next tangent will be now!!!! (my wife is going to kill me when she starts seeing all the little plastic stuff i make now - all the soup can lanterns and other things i make are already piled around the house...!)
whiteoakart5 years ago
RE: removing the printing. A less toxic way to remove the printing is with a little emory cloth and water. The type comes off easily with a little wet sanding. The water flushes any dust away so you don't wind up breathing it in. Also, obviously, no solvent fumes.
whiteoakart5 years ago
These are really great thought starters, Thinkenstein. I like the trowels. It seems like I am constantly breaking the cheap Chinese ones you buy at True Value Hardware. I also like the specialized clamps and attachments you've made. This always seems to be a problem when I am inventing some new tool or musical instrument. I don't know why I never thought of using PVC to craft a bracket.
Flashflint5 years ago
Great Ideas. The knife handles particularly intrigue me.
Thinkenstein (author)  Flashflint5 years ago
Thanks. Yep, no need to ever throw out a broken knife again. Even blade pieces are useful as scrapers.
I use broken blades to make specialty tools. I make a lot of tiny knives, gouges, chisels with the grinder and a discarded kitchen knife for making Native American Flutes. Once you have the piece of knife, you can make any weird shape with a grinder and a couple of files. I have been making handles from wood, but now I see PVC would be a whole lot easier.
mikeasaurus5 years ago
Whoa! Loads of different applications, pretty neat! Have you noticed if the PVC change properties if you cool it quickly? I imagine it may become more brittle than if left to cool on it's own, but wondering what your experience has shown.
Thinkenstein (author)  mikeasaurus5 years ago
Thanks. As far as I can tell, there is no property change from quick cooling. It's not like tempering steel.
baken4115 years ago
I saw another one that used boiling water from a microwave to make the PVC mailable, seems like it would be easier so it doesnt burn but not as versatile. but question...do you live in a cave? lol just asking
Thinkenstein (author)  baken4115 years ago
The PVC heats faster if you avoid the water "middleman". I vaguely recall trying boiling water many years ago, and not being successful. Large pieces would be impractical. The trick with flame heating is just experience and sensitivity. My house does include a tunnel. Check out my website. www.angelfire.com/in2/manythings
mefromliny5 years ago
What a great idea, Instructable, and great photos. Thanks for posting it. KEn
Thinkenstein (author)  mefromliny5 years ago
You're welcome, and thanks for the feedback.
8bit5 years ago
How did you make the ball joint for the lamp?
Thinkenstein (author)  8bit5 years ago
A neighbor's pipe and tarp car cover was deteriorating. To hold the tarp on the pipe, bungee cords with balls on the end are used. I mounted one ball on a bolt, using the hole in the ball. Next step, heat the PVC and jam the ball into the soft end. It conforms to the ball, but when cool, you can't pull the ball out. Next step, saw through the PVC over the ball to make flexible fingers. The saw-damaged ball will pop out now. Replace the damaged ball with a new one.