I thought it would be nice to make a wren house, birdhouse, out of material that would not rot in a few years. I have several blue bird houses that only last 3 to 5 years before they need repairs. For the first test I thought a wren house uses less material and I could see how well it held up to the environment.
I have experimented with hdpe before and written instructables about what I experienced. https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-Dimension...
Step 1: Collection of Hdpe to Make Dimensional Stock
I wanted to make a colorful wren house, but only had one purple container, so I cut it up into flat pieces and placed it on the bottom of the 14x22 sheet cake pan I use for melting the hdpe. I then prepared 8 hdpe buckets to supply the flowing material to make the board.
A heat gun us used to heat the labels for removal, if the label doe not come off cleanly mineral spirts is sprayed on the label and it usually releases then.
A vibrating saw is used to cut up the buckets into pieces that will fit in the pan. the bottom is cut off and the remaining cylinder is cut into quarters.
Step 2: Melting the Hdpe
The non flowing hdpe was placed on the bottom of the pan and heated at 350 degrees for an hour. The purple shrank and relaxed to a flat. Then three buckets of cut up pieces was added and heated for another hour. Then another three buckets were added for another hour. Finally the last two were added and the melted hdpe was allowed to heat until the air bubbles surface and pop (3-4 hours). The oven is then turned off and left to cool over night.
Step 3: Surfacing the Blank
The blank distorts when cooling and needs to be surface so that the part does not rock when sawed. Since this is just a bird house I did not surface the blank to a standard thickness, just enough to stop rocking.
Plans for the surfacing jig are in the instructable:
The hood to control the chips is made from 1/2" pvc pipe fitting available at most home center. It is covered with paint drop clothe plastic sheeting. The plastic is held in place with spring clamps.
Step 4: Wren House Plans
I found these plans on the web, the bill of material:
2 pc 5-1/2 x 5-1/2"
1 pc 8 x 7"
1 pc 8 x 6-1/2"
1 pc 6 x 5-1/2"
1 pc 6 x 5"
the material thickness is 1/2 to 3/4"
The hdpe parts were cut on a table saw and a sliding compound miter saw using general purpose blades.
The hole is 1" diameter.
Step 5: Assembly
The sides were aligned,clamped together, and screwed (glue does not stick well to hdpe)
A standard combination drill countersink for #8 wood screw (1-1/4" long) drilled the holes.
Then the roof was aligned, clamped, and screwed together.
The front and back were then located separately, clamped, and screwed together.
Finally the roof assembly was located, clamped, and screwed together.
2 eye screws will be installed to hang the house in a tree, zip ties will go through the eye screws and around a branch.