Straigtening Plastic (PET) Strip and More



Introduction: Straigtening Plastic (PET) Strip and More

Hello, today I want to talk about PET strip, which is, if you don't know, a strip cut from plastic bottles. It is pretty useful meterial in many ways, and I'm thinking of experimenting with it and showing the results in further instructables. And today I want to talk about straigtening of plastic strip for giving it some new interesting qualities that can widen the variety of usages of plastic strip in DIY projects.

So, what do I mean by "straightening"? PET plastic has tendency to shrink under a high temperatures and then maintain its shape after cooling down, which can be used for forming plasic items into variety of forms in variety of ways, as, for example, I did in my SHAPING PLASTIC BOTTLES INTO SOMETHING INTERESTING instructable. This way, by "straigtening" the plastic strip I imply the process of applying of heat to the strip under a tension in order to change the profile of the intersection... ehhm... it becomes bumpy and kind of more straight than regular flat strip.

How can it be used in projects? Well, the first thing I was thinking about is for making brushes. Bristles in particular. Straight and more ridgid, more rods-like pieces are much better for this job than floppy and soft strip as it goes right after cutting. And if you want to see some brush made this way - there's some photos at the end.

The other thought I had, was about weaving ropes using multiple thin plastic strips. In this case I was wondering, which will perform better: regular or straightened strip. I'll experiment on this later and let you know. (Some time after posting this nstructable, I came acros this video of The King of Random, where he makes the rope with plastic strip, so, once again, I turned out to be not that original with my ideas as I thought I am...)

The third thought I've got after seeing the results of test straigtening. Heat treated strip has much more appealing look that plane one, which can be beneficially used in weaving with plastic strip... like weaving things, like with leather strip or willow... Anyway, I guess, I'll play with it someday too.

Maybe there's even more possible applications for straightened strip out there. I don't know. I didn't think about it much yet.

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Step 1:

Anyway, whether you convinced/interested, or not, I'm going to show you, how I'm processing plastic strip.

And I also made a video. This is my first full video made for a tutorial, so enjoy some 5 minutes of poor ligting, unfocused picture and heavy breathing in awkward silence.

Step 2:

Since the video covers the whole process, it kind of breakes continuity with what I'm going to show with pictures, so take following steps rater like a comment to different parts of the video.

So, first thing you have to do is to find nice plastic bottle and prepare it for cutting. I like these beer bottles, since they have simple cylindrical shape, which great for cutting, so I allways collect them for future projects.

In order to prepare the bottle, remove the lable and rub the remaining glue off with some suitable solvent (I used acetone). Then cut the top part of the bottle off and trimm it nicely with scissors.

Step 3:

Then cut the bottle into strip.

I'm using my improvised cutter. My improvised cutter isn't best cutter, so don't ask me to show how it's made. It does the job, though.

My strip is 3mm wide and it'll become narrower after straightening like for 30-40%. Different width is an option. I didn't try.

I do recommend to wind the strip onto a bobin or spool after cutting, as I did in the video, to prevent it from tangling and creating knots, which will be pretty annoing in the process.

Step 4:

As you can see I made my experimental stripe strightening contraption in a quiet crued way. It consists of: spool holder, tensiton corks and first thick-wire-gide-ringy thing all screwed to the scrap wooden block; my Impovised Heat Gun Substitution and second thick-wire-gide-ringy thing.

At first I wanted to use drill to wind the straightened stripe on some sort of a spool, but afterall it was more convinient for me (atleast at this setup) to pull the thread by hands.

Also I put a piece of wire mesh ontop of the "heat gun" because I had tongues of flame going out of it, which is not good.

You can see how all componets work together on the video, and at this point I want to say, that, in general, I do not recommend to do this if you don't have a propper heat gun. It's a bit more tedious doing it the way I show than it makes sence. But if you have a heat gun, you can process multiple strips at once more quickly. The important part of the process is to visually controll the strip at the airflow. You have to advance it at a speed that allows the change to occur, and you can see it "curls" under the heat.

Regulating the tension of the strip with screws at the tension corks can (as I discovered) influence the result, so it makes sence to play with it. If your strip burns and tears when you pull, reduse the tension.

Step 5:

So, the proces takes a bit more time than I'd be glad to spare for it, but, as I said, it can be fixed with a propper heat gun.

The resulting product is more ridgid than initial strip and it takes a little bit of practice to maintain consistant result throughout whole lenght of the strip.

Step 6:

And as I promissed, heres pictures of a brush, I made with straightened strip. It's really good for scrubbing dishes and other jobs, and I'll show how to make one in my next instructable.

This is it for now, thanks for your attention, and have nice strips.

Also I'm on Patreon and all that stuff...

Step 7: Afterthoughts

After posting the instructable, I've seen a bunch of videos and had some ideas concidering the theme, and here I want to share some interesting and usefull information on working with plastic strip. I'll provide links to particular videos, and almost all of them are in Russian, but for the most part there's enough of visuals to make the idea and the process clear. I want to pay attention to the ways the PET strip can be processed and manipulated, rather then showing different projects involving the plastic strip, although I'll provide links on some examples of practical uses for processed strip along with some my thoughts on topic.

Straightening the Strip

1) There's one method of straightening PET strip, that is commonly used in DIY projects. It applyes winding the strip between two distant points, like on some sort of a frame or just two nails, hammered into wood board, and then applying heat to it by, either usage of a heat gun, baking the coil in the owen or submerging it into boiling water. Here's two videos demonstrating this technique:

Метла из пластиковых ПЭТ бутылок (A Broom From Plastic PET Bottles) - Heat gun is used

Выравнивание ПЭТ ленты (Straightening the PET STrip) - Boiling water is used

As you can see this method works well if you need straight strips of certain lenght. In the result, you'll get a coil that has two sharp U-shaped kinks on both ends, which can be used with advantage in some projects.

2) But if you want to use the PET strip for weaving you'd rather prefer not to have any bends on it. At the same time you, don't neccesserally need it to be strictly straght, like for bristles. Here's my suggestion on straightening plastic strip for this porpouse. You can use the method, similar to the previous one, but instead of using two distant points, wind the strip on round basis, like, for example, a tin can or large glass jar. This way, you'll get nice decorative "domed" strip (I suppose, I didn't try this method yet) without a lot of tedious work.

And if you wonder how exactly you can use plastic strip for weaving, here's a link to El Rincón del Soguero Youtube channel, where you'll find a ton of great tutorials. The leather strip, he uses can be easyli substituted with plasic one.

3) And finnaly, if you need a continuous strand of straight strip of indefinete lenght, or you don't want to create any waste by cutting of the bendes sections (first method), use me technique, presented in this instructable. With continuous straight strip you can make place mats, bamboo/straw type window blinds, or use it in weaving if straighter and firmer material is needed.

4) Wide strip is a bit of a different story and I hvan't work with it, but here's a video on straightening (flattening) it:


Step 8:

Other Manipulations with Plastic Strip

1) Making straws. It's an interesting technique, similar to mine on straightening the strip, that alows to turn flat plastic strips into continuous straws/tubes. It's pretty easy to accomplish and here's two wariations on how it's done:

TрубКогиб Скомороха! Как сделать ТРУБКУ из ленты БУТЫЛКОРЕЗа (Skomoroh's TubeBender! How to Make a TUBE out of BOTTLECUTTEr Strip)


In the last video author demonstrates an example of posible usage of the plastic strip straws, and here's a couple more examples from his channel:



СЕТКА РАБИЦА ИЗ ПЛАСТИКОВЫХ БУТЫЛОК (Mesh netting from plastic bottles)

I believe the's a lot more of possible implementations of this technique and ut's a wide field for experimenting.

2) Twisting the strip. Here's another technique on processing PET strip that produces more decorative results. One or multiple strips can be used. First video shows simple manual version, and the second gives more automated process:

СКРУТКА ПЭТ ЛЕНТЫ (twist pet tape)


3) Making plastic fleece. Yet another tutorial from Левша Уральский channel. He has a bunch of other interesting projects involving PET strip on his channel, so do recommend to check it up. I tend to believe that he's original author of represented ideas, although with all that plagiat going around the internet I can't really be sure (I guess, I'll write on it some other day)

волосы из пластиковых бутылок часть 2 (hair made of plastic bottles)

He suggests using this fleece as thread sealler for water pipes, as hair for custom made dolls or a decorative hairdressing pieces.

Step 9:

Other Useful Stuff

And here I want to share some links on different useful videos concidering plastic strip cutting.

Master Bobrovon his Youtube channel has a lot of videos on his experiments with various bottle cutter constructions and their improvements. I want to highlight these particular videos:

Бутылкорез для ровных широких лент (Bottlecutter for Straight Wide Strips) - Cutting wide straight plastic strips

Бутылкорез плавная и точная регулировка на любую ширину ПЭТ ленты (3) финал (Bottlecutter Gradual and Precise Tuning for Any Width of PET Strip) - Allows cutting down to 0.3mm wide strips.

Бутылкорез резак рельефных и фигурных пластиковых бутылок (Bottlecutter for Relief and Irregular Shaped Plastic Bottles) - Cuts odd and irregular bottles.

Edyak K. Another obscure channel from my countryman. Contains videos on weaving ropes from plastic bottle strip, some other DIY projects and random stuff.

Как убрать рельеф с пластиковой бутылки - выравниваем пэт для бутылкореза (How to Remove Relief from Plastic Bottle - Straightening PET fro Bottlecutter) - The name speaks for itself.

Как сделать крепкую веревку из пластиковой бутылки - How to make rope from plastic bottles diy - The process of making rope from cutting the strip to final product with some scarry looking contraptions involved

... And this is kind of it for now. If I'll find some new interesting information on the topic in the future, I'll try to share it in some way. WIth all the links I've provided I tryed to searcg down to the original author of the idea or atleast to somone, who takes original approach to it, but, as I said, I can't be quiet sure with this. Anyway, I wanted to share some information I discovered during my research and I hope it'll be usefull for somebody.

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