Introduction: Post Consumer Knife Handles
After watching videos and reading online articles about the ease of molding post consumer #2 plastics, I decided to get in on the act. I am a pro mobile knife sharpener/ amateur Knife maker. So I'm always looking for related, outside of the box projects. My goal was to craft knife handles out of post consumer plastic in a repeatable way,
The process is fairly straight forward, however the devil is in the details. I had a great deal of trouble making a mold out of aluminum, so I won't go into detail about this as I'm sure there's a much better process.( feel free to share it if you have one, please) I essentially cut 3 layers of my decided shape out of thin aluminum and glued them together. Messy and ugly, but it works.
Rather than throwing away the bottle tops for my soda and milk I started saving them for supplies. You can also find suppliers for suitable plastics online, search "Precious Plastics". I also got friends and neighbors involved, so their helping collect bottle tops too. You can find multiple ideas for how to mold plastics all over the internet. Nothing on molding knife handles though, so here you go.
A mold of some sort. I used aluminum( this was difficult for me)
#2 plastic( bottle tops in my case)
An oven(I bought a toaster oven to set outside my shop to avoid smells)
A vise and some clamps for pressing the molten plastic
A vented place to work(the plastic doesn't reach temps to cause fumes, but it does smell a bit)
Step 1: Heat Oven to 250-300, Preheat Mold, Add Plastic
There's no real need to grind up the plastics for this project as long as it fits in your mold. I simply placed the lids in the mold and set the timer for 20 mins. After time is up add more plastic until quite molten and enough to protrude above the mold. This process takes about an hour. Don't be afraid to add too much plastic as it can be reused again and again.
Step 2: Smashin' Time
Put on some heat protection for your hands now.
Place a top on your mold and move it quickly to your vise. I also added a few clamps to disperse pressure evenly. You must plan ahead and work quickly as this stuff cools fast.
Let the plastic cool for at least 30 mins, this way through shrinkage it will release from the mold.
Step 3: Get Creative
You can also simply make a mold for knife scales if you'd like. I wanted something I could swing into production with and make many knives. The colors are nearly limitless and the finished product is easily machined and shaped. Just watch the heat during processing, it will melt.
I hope I've inspired my fellow knife community with this, as well as anyone else. Stop tossing out that plastic and get creating!
Participated in the