So I needed an ice-pick and an awl for a couple of projects. I quickly jumped onto SneezeBay (you know what I mean) and ordered them for $2 shipped, you can't beat that! But of course they came without any tip protectors on them. Which really tickled me because it gave me an excuse for a project! YAY!
I should also mention that "I made this at TechShop". So I had plenty of cool tools at my disposal. But I didn't end up needing them, so anyone can do this at home.
However I imagine you can use this technique for just about anything that is sharp and pointy that you want to protect from being damaged and damaging someone else (or most likely yourself, or myself in this case!)
- A Boba straw (more on that below)
- a razor blade or sharp knife
- Your sharp pointy tool/object (an ice pick and an awl in this case)
- Some epoxy putty
A word on the Materials used:
First off is the Boba Straw. Boba Straws are these thick straws that you get with Boba Tea. What's Boba Tea you ask? Well it's served in many asian restaurants or cafe's. It's usually some type of milk tea with tapioca pearls in them. The straw is wide so you can suck up the tapioca pearls and chew on them. I really like it and my nephews think it's a blast, so we get them every so often. I save the straws, because they come in handy for many projects. However the darn things come in so handy that I finally broke down and bought a pack of 50 of them at my local asian market for something like $1.50. But I always tell the wife that I'm almost out of them so I can still get my Boba Tea.
Second is the epoxy putty. You can find this at any hardware store or even WallyWorld (you get what I mean). It's a two part putty in a stick formation, the center is one material and the outer shell is another. So you slice off how ever much you need from the stick, mash it together until the color is uniform, then mold it to whatever your purpose is. 30 minutes later it's solid, 24 hours later it's ROCK SOLID.
This stuff is so handy that I keep some of this stuff with me everywhere I go. It's a must in my Camping gear. It's come in handy to keep in the fishing gear. I even carry some with me to some friends parties because they've always got something broken that I can fix right then and there. Which usually earns me big points and keeps me getting invited back!
I had some of the AS-SEEN-ON-TV "Mighty P*TTY" on hand for this project. It's the kind that comes 3, 4oz tubes to a box.
I imagine that you could use polymer clay just as effectively instead, but the straw would melt a bit during baking.
Step 1: Measure and Cut Our Boba Straw
So let's begin!
I slid the boba straw over the tip of my ice-pick and awl until it rested snugly against the handle. Then I marked (with a marker) the point at which I wanted the epoxy putty to come up to at the top (the end which ends at the handle). I then sliced the straw off 1/4" below the tip of the point. So there's some buffer between the end of the point of the object (ice-pick or awl or whatever you have).
I removed the boba straw piece and now we are ready for the epoxy putty.
Step 2: Fill Our Boba Straw With Epoxy Putty
Look at your straw and estimate how much putty you are going to need. In my case it was about half of the 4oz stick. Mix it together in your fingers (you should probably wear gloves for this part), until the color is uniform. Then stuff it in the bottom of your boba straw until it reaches the mark you made earlier at the top. You only have about 15 minutes before this stuff hardens enough be become difficult to work with. And this is different for every type of epoxy putty, so make sure you read the directions on yours and adjust times accordingly.
In the pictures I'm using Polymer clay to simulate expoxy putty, I forgot to take pictures when I was doing this project.
Step 3: Insert your sharp pointy object into the top until you've got it all the way in. Try to keep it as straight in the center of the straw and putty as you can. I kept a finger loosely at the bottom to give some resistance to the putty as it was coming back out. This way I'm sure I have a solid mass of putty inside the straw. Next, just wipe off the extra from the bottom. The extra that I had, I put on the top of the putty container as you can see the green stuff on the top of the jar.
Step 4: Let the Epoxy Putty Cure
Step 4: Leave it alone for 10 minutes. The Epoxy Putty is beginning to harden. Now here's an important thing to note. Epoxy putty will bond to just about anything, and we don't want the sharp pointy object to become permanently fused to our cover. So 10 minutes into the curing, I twisted the ice-pick/awl to make sure it wasn't sticking to the putty. Now 20 minutes into the curing, remove your sharp pointy object slowly and carefully. The epoxy putty should be cured enough at this point to hold it's shape on it's own. Then just leave your new tip protector straw to fully cure. Most putty's say it's in an hour it's permanently set. But I've found it takes 24 hours to reach full hardening. And that's it, well you gotta clean up your mess now, but your sharp pointy object tip protector is all done!
NOTES: I had the idea that I could put a small neodymium magnet at the bottom of the boba straw to keep the top protector on the tool. But it turns out that these sheathes end up being pretty snug and i didn't need to re-think my initial design.