Bloominglabs makerspace in Bloomington, Indiana was given the opportunity to host an Instamorph build night this April. Instamorph is a fun material that becomes moldable like clay when heated to temperatures well below what would burn you. When it cools, it again becomes solid and firm.
Needless to say there are a million possibilities for this, and one I came up with was modifying an iPhone tripod I bought to do stop motion animation. It was meant for an older model of iPhone, and my new iPhone 6 was too thin - it flopped over and was unstable in the tripod. I decided to use Instamorph to create an insert that would give my phone a perfect fit.
Step 1: Heat That Stuff Up
You will need to heat water to approximately 150 degrees, per the Instructions on the Instamorph site. This could be done it a microwave, but I used a pan on the stovetop. As the water heats, the material becomes clear and it starts to stick together. I poked at it with a knife to get a sense of how malleable it was. When it's ready, take it out of the water very carefully. For a while, you will have very moldable plastic.
You may notice in this case I was not heating pellets. I was re-heating an earlier attempt I wasn't happy with. This is another nice feature - if you're not happy with your results, try again.
Step 2: Mold and Trim
I squished the Instamorph into the slot that holds the iPhone, then I pressed the phone down in it. I squished the edges very thin, so it would be easy to trim it when it cooled.
As long as the parts you want to trim are thin enough, you can do that with plain old scissors. You could also use sharper tools if necessary (but be careful).
Step 3: And That's It!
This whole process was pretty simple and did not take long. As I mentioned, my first go at it was kind of crummy, but Instamorph proved to be remoldable, which is ideal for the experimental nature of maker projects. I had to borrow my wife's phone to take a picture of my own phone, so you can see how things ended up. The clay dog 'Clayda' stands by, ready to be animated. Stay tuned for future details on that project.