Plastic, Plastic, and Lasers
Wheelhouse is a newsletter for makers that covers new materials, techniques, and tools.
Very Low Temperature Moldable Plastic
Polycaprolactone is a nylon-like polymer that softens to an easily formable consistency at around 60°C (140°F). It can be used as a simple casting material, a simple mold-making material, and for ad-hoc workholding. It is sold under a variety of brands (Wikipedia mentions “Re-Form, Polydoh, Plastimake, NiftyFix, Protoplastic, InstaMorph, Polymorph, Shapelock, ReMoldables, Plastdude or TechTack”) but it is available in larger quantities on eBay. If you add iron oxide or graphite you can make a microwave-heatable version as well. Note that while it won’t bond with metal, it will bond to some types of plastic.
Dental Acrylic Powder
Scale Model Workshop gives a great tutorial for using powdered acrylic meant for dental use with methyl methacrylate as a solvent and cyanoacrylate as a binder to make a fast-setting paste that can be worked immediately.
Drop-In Flexure T-Slot Nuts
Nick Parker designed some nice T-Slot nuts that can be inserted directly into an exposed side of the extrusion, rather than from a cut end. They have the additional advantage of not sliding around once they are inserted, unlike most metal versions.
Drill Alignment Lasers
The BullseyeBore is a clever drill attachment that optically shows when the bit is perpendicular to the the drilling plane as well as when a set depth has been reached. It looks like they aren’t quite ready to ship, but this idea could also be used in other contexts such as placement, workholding, and so on. (h/t @herf)
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