What is Hand-Molded Plastic?
Hand-moldable plastic allows a designer to create real plastic objects with bare hands. Simply heat up the plastic with hot air or water, allow it to cool slightly to the touch, and mold away! Think of it as play-doh for big kids. After setting, the materials can be machined with conventional machining methods.
What can it be used for?
At Disher, hand-moldable plastic has been used for several prototyping projects, including:
+ Making a custom electrical harness (made a harness to fit a device with a highly customized female-receiver harness because the male harness was not readily available).
+ Made a rod-end bushing for a lawnmower because the part wasn’t readily available (and the lawn needed to be mowed!)
+ Made a custom bracket for a prototype. Molded around a bolt, and then removed the bolt after the plastic cooled leaving a clean tapped hole!
When should you use it?
When making quick and dirty prototypes, iteration can occur much quicker by heating plastic and molding it than by traditional means of creating CAD geometry and using a 3d printer.
There is nothing magical about hand-moldable plastic; it is simply plastic with a lower melting point. The thing that’s unique and inspiring about it (along with other modeling clay) is that it is a real rigid engineering material. Having it in your toolbox when doing prototyping or development work is extremely beneficial.