small-scale, home polycarbonate casting/fabrication
November 11, 2004 12:44 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone here ever done small-scale plastic (specifically polycarbonate) casting/fabrication at home? What are some good resources for getting started?
posted by casarkos to Technology (8 answers total)
Lindsay's has some books on the subject; I don't know about these books specifically, but the Lindsay's books I have built projects from are excellent. Hope this helps.
posted by Mark Doner at 1:38 PM on November 11, 2004

try your local "tap plastics". All their employees go through training with each one of their products, so they're uniquely helpful.

I've suspended objects *in* resin, but haven't had a lot of luck creating resin/plastic pieces from forms (form-building is tough). it might be helpful to have a better idea of exactly what your project is. How exact do you want it to be?
posted by fishfucker at 1:51 PM on November 11, 2004

I wrote up a short process guide in a previous question and I still recommend these guys for their materials and helpful how-tos (plus they are great for pre-sales advice over the phone).

Tell me if you hit any specific problems and I might be able to help, although it's been a while.
posted by milovoo at 3:14 PM on November 11, 2004

I have used Smooth-On products (mold materials and plastics). They have a good how-to section. They have many distributors. My local one (Reynolds) is excellent with advice and troubleshooting. They (Reynolds) also have training seminars (though not free).
As ff said telling us more about what you want to do will be helpful. There are some materials and methods better for certain castings.
My friend uses Smooth-On for his big and small castings.
posted by sailormouth at 3:57 PM on November 11, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help and links. Basically I've been tapped to design and make the casing for a friend's electronic invention-gadget-thingy and they didn't want the whole injection-molding machine setup until they could be absolutely sure of mass production later. We're aiming for about half the size of an Altoids tin.

So, any advice?
posted by casarkos at 5:28 PM on November 11, 2004

Just to clarify, why would you not want to use a pre-made project box for the prototyping? Radio Shack has some that are quite small and you can usually dremel off 1 dimension without problem. Is the shape odd / complex ?
posted by milovoo at 7:38 PM on November 11, 2004

Response by poster: Well, it's supposed to be wearable, and the final shape will probably be sort of complex. Sawing off parts might work for prototyping though - I'll see what they think. Meanwhile, I'd like to go with the casting idea for as long as possible, especially as it's closer to the projected mass-production method. Mold-making experience and all that.
(Thanks for tip about boxes - I'm not an electrical engineer and don't visit Radio Shack nearly as much as I should :P)
posted by casarkos at 9:03 PM on November 11, 2004

Why not do SLA which you can do fairly cheaply and via a CAD program?
posted by plinth at 5:46 PM on November 12, 2004

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