This is a PVC handle for a metal scouring pad. It was inspired by the periodic task of cleaning out a rather gross container for kitchen scraps. The container builds up an impressive bio-film after a while. I wanted to keep my hand out of it. Thus, the handle.
Step 1: Sketch and Cut
This handle is made of ½ inch CPVC (hot water use) pipe. You could use 1/2 inch PVC just as easily. It has four springy “fingers” that are pried apart for inserting the scouring pad. The finger tips are pointed and bent inward to grab the pad.
Make the four parallel saw cuts to create the fingers first. Sharpen the tips of the fingers with a saw, or aviation snips, which is a little faster.
Step 2: Safety While Heat Forming PVC
We love plastics for what they do for us, but plastic manufacture and decay tend to pollute the environment and negatively affect our health.
Vinyl Chloride, one of the components of PVC, is carcinogenic. When it is locked up in the polymer, however, it is much safer to be around. In my years of experience working with PVC, I have not noticed any adverse effects on my health from being around it.
Always work in areas with good ventilation. If you do get caught in a cloud of smoke, hold your breath and move to clean air.
When heating PVC with a gas stove or propane torch, try not to let it burn. Smoke from burning PVC is bad. With experience one burns it less and less. Don't panic the first time you do burn some. It scorches, but doesn't immediately burst into flame. Move the material away from the flame and try again. Don't breathe the smoke. Smoke avoidance comes naturally for most people.
While heating PVC over a gas flame, keep the plastic an appropriate distance from the flame to avoid scorching the surface before the inside can warm up. It takes time for heat to travel to the center of the material being heated.
Keep the plastic moving, and keep an eye on the state of the plastic. When heated, the PVC material is flexible, like leather. Beyond this stage, you risk scorching it.
A word from James, the plastic engineer -- "Just a word of warning, PVC can handle some high heats but if it catches fire, you wont be able to put it out, it does not need oxygen to burn so don't do this inside".
I do work inside, but my house is made of cement and has good ventilation. MAKE SURE THAT YOU HAVE GOOD VENTILATION. PLAY WITH FIRE -- CAREFULLY.
Step 3: Bending the Finger Tips
I used a propane torch to heat all four finger tips at the same time. I bent them inward simultaneously by pressing them against a flat surface.
Step 4: Loading the Scouring Pad
The fingers are springy. Open them up and work the scouring pad between them. Release the fingers and the tips will dig into the pad, firmly securing it in place.