Instamorph Build Night at Arch Reactor Hackerspace, St. Louis, Missouri Answered
On Tuesday, April 21st we held a build night at Arch Reactor (in St. Louis, Missouri) with Instamorph. There was a very excited turnout of over 15 people being introduced to the moldable plastic product. Some members incorporated their creations into existing projects, such as a loop to hold a weather balloon safely onto the quick release pipe during the pre-launch filling in order to measure the total lift without losing any of the gas. Another member created a diffuser for a LED project that used RFID tags to cause different combinations of colored LEDs to turn on when a tag was scanned. Others experimented with the product to discover ways they might use Instamorph in other projects in the future.
The big discoveries of the night were that any unused portions or failed creations could simply be placed back into the hot water and reshaped into version 2.0 or something new entirely and that once it cools Instamorph is virtually indestructible. See the photo of a flat sheet of it being bent into a taco shape.
We used an electric kettle to heat up our water to the correct temperature of 140 degrees F / 60 degrees C, and then poured it into small bowls. I had initially thought that each person could start with 3 ounces of the pellets, but the measuring cup that I brought only held 2 ounces. After heating that portion up in the water, we discovered that 2 ounces was plenty for most projects being considered.
The member in charge of our workshop had asked those who did not have an idea for the Instamorph to consider making a hanger to hold individual shop safety glasses. He molded a piece into a design for that. Later it was discovered that the hearing protection holder dome in the shop was exactly the size to hold shop glasses. Attempts may be made later to fashion a "nosepiece" and "earpieces" from Instamorph and attach them to the dome to hold several pair of safety glasses on it instead of on the wall. It was also discussed to place a safety glasses holder at various stations throughout the shop to make them more accessible for users in the shop, and thus more likely to be worn.
The bowls that I had brought were plastic, so if the heated pellets were pressed into the bowl hard enough they would stick a little, but could be pushed off with just a little effort. In retrospect, I would use glass bowls the next time. I would also consider using a crock pot to keep the water at a near constant temperature for any personal projects, but the electric kettle and bowls worked well for the build night. We also had an issue with the warmed Instamorph sticking to an acrylic roller and a plastic mold meant for cake decorating. It worked fine if the Instamorph had been allowed to cool while flattening it out by hand, then rolled. However, when it was removed from the water and immediately rolled, it cooled quickly and adhered to both the acrylic roller and the plastic mold. Much scraping, reheating, and elbow grease were applied in order to remove the Instamorph from those tools. Tools made from other materials might work better for this process.