Using nothing more than hot water you can soften Instamorph and then mould it with your hands. Once cool, it is about as strong as nylon!
(Note that it is biodegradable however - a section I've had for about 8 years open to air, sunlight and UV, plus a bit of rain, has recently started to degrade)
Instamorph is one of a small group of plastics that can be moulded and remoulded at temperatures low enough to be hand safe. This, combined with the strength of it, makes it great for replacing some parts, such as the stupidly expensive nuts found on taps, or if you need a truly custom medium strength nut for a thread section. Even really really weird threads can be matched to a nut now, and in under a minute!
Step 1: First, Boil the Kettle...
Ok, so to do this, all you need is a kettle with some water, a mug and the Instamorph. Oh, and of course the thing with the thread that you want to create!
Boil the kettle, and add your Instamorph to the mug. You can re-use it, so don't worry. The picture shows some that we already melted and mucked about with.
Once soft, the Instamorph goes transparent. Fish it out with a fork or whatever, obviously not your fingers if it is boiling water!
Step 2: Mould Around Your Target Threaded Object
Simply mould the plastic around the target metal object. I pulled it into a strip and wound it around, but you can do whatever you like if it is still quite hot, as it melts back to itself and becomes one homogenous lump after a few seconds.
If it is starting to cool, once wrapped, pour a bit more boiling water over it to get it to bond to itself. It won't bond to the metal, so don't worry.
Once you are happy, speed up the cooling process by running it under the cold tap, then give it a minute to cool throughout the mass.
Now, you can unscrew it. Yes, it is as simple as that.
The result is a solid lump that will hold the tap fixed in position. If you need a totally flat base to your nut, you can saw or carefully snip the plastic. Don't get it too hot or it will melt, obviously! However, slight melting won't matter, and you can re-thread it onto the form if you need to.
Step 3: Really Weird Threads?
Yes, this works even for really weird threads.
Here is a coach bolt with a really coarse thread on it, for which there has never been a nut. But there is now!
Again, just wrap the Instamorph around the threaded part of the coach bolt, and let it set. We also used an adjustable spanner to add flats to it, and then we cut off the end with the side cutters. The end result was a tough nut that let us thread and hold these three bits of plastic.
Step 4: Thanks
A note of thanks at the end here to Instructables and Instamorph, who, as part of the "Give cool stuff to makerspaces" program sent us some Instamorph for our build nights in April. Cheers guys! :-)