Saturday, 7 January 2012

New year, old stuff, aka: Short intro to Polymorph

With all interest to 3d printing I've been neglecting some other ideas way too long. So now is high time to start introducing some older stuff. And I think Polymorph is a good start.

Polymorhph, as sold, white granules
Polymorph: Also known and sold with names like Friendly Plastic, is a relatively new plastic polymer that softens at the hot water. At room temperature it's while and feels a lot like Nylon, a bit flexible and not at all brittle.

When heated to 70 Celsius (or so) it becomes clear, a bit sticky putty that can easily be shaped by hand. There are many ways you could do the heating but I prefer pouring some freshly boiled water atop and let it melt for a while.

Home made phone-tripod adapter
One of the first things I did with Polymorph was a tripod adapter for my smartphone. For some reason, even though most of today's phones have video recording capabilities, there seems to be no way to connect these to tripods.

Making my own  tripod adapter was quite simple: Firstly I covered relevant part of my phone with clear packing tape, so I can be sure the melted pastic don't take too much hold.

Attached to desktop tripod
Then I took the heated, flexible polymorph, removed the excess water of it and started to shape it around my phone while making sure I don't cover anything important, like touch screen, connectors or buttons. 

As soon as polymorph was at the desirable shape I pressed it (along my phone) atop of my tripod head, so that plastic got around the 1/4" bolt that's used for fixing the camera, and I let the plastic cool back to room temperature.

After some wait, I then removed camera from the now white solid part and removed the protection tape of the phone.

The adapter works well, and keeps phone steady for making videos. At the same time: This adapter was/is a quick hack, so there's definitely not much hope winning any industrial design awards with it. ;-)

All in all, I have used Polymorph quite few projects so far and I like the speed I can use it to make the unique objects I need. It's also good for making low temperature molds of existing objects and repairing things.

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