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ship69

What are the best materials for an inventor to build prototypes

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Hello

I am new here. I am more of an 'inventor' than a model-maker.

I am looking for the best materials with which to do quick prototypes in order to test the functional qualities of various designs of new/inventive products.

I recently watched this video:

"Tutorial: The Basics of Working With Styrene" by CustomsByZ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3gabIJ3Ono

And I was rather inspired by it - I had forgotten how quick it is to knock up designs in styrene!

However, given that I am more interested in mechanical function than in appearance (e.g. the ability to take paint), is there a better material for me to work in?

i.e. I know styrene is rather soft so I am wondering if there are any other plastics that are available in reasonably cheap sheet and extruded form, that are similarly easy to work with (particularly to quickly form a very strong bond) but which have better/stronger mechanical properties?

For now I will not be vacuum forming (unless wait, can I do that at home in my oven??), but will be cutting (with sharp X-Acto blades or similar / hack saw), filing, sanding, drilling.

e.g.

I just bought:

A. Plasticard
a small pack of Plasticard white styrene sheets "a quality virgin grade material" (from Station Road Baseboards )

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00TWOHJE0/ref=pe_385721_37986871_TE_item

B. EMA Plastic Weld
And I am planning to bond it with

"Plastruct EMA Plastic Weld - Liquid Polystyrene ABS Cement"
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/121672870352
(as I couldn't find any "Ambroid Pro Weld" described in the US-based video - but I understand that they are both Methyl Chloride based, yes?)

C. Plastic Fusion
For stronger bonds I have also bought Plastic Fusion epoxy glue from Super Glue which apparently sets in 10 minutes http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/261508621516

but obviously it's slight pain mixing it up.

QUESTIONS:

- How does ABS compare to Styrene, mechanically?

- HIPS (High Impact PolyStyrene) vs. regular "styrene"?

Are there any other plastics I might consider if I need something stronger/more springy etc but which are reasonably easy to machine and easily available

e.g.

- Polypropylene sheet

- PE (Polyethylene High Density)

- Nylon6 sheet

- Acrylic ??

Also what are the pros & cons if/when I need some thing transparent:

- Polycarbonate

- PETG (Poly-Ethylene Terephthalate Glycol)

- Perspex Acrylic

- Acetate
- Axpet Polyester Sheet Acrylic

??

And how well do all the above respond to extremely strong quick-setting glues/solvents/cements?

On reflection, I think I need quick primer on material for model & prototype building...!
Any quick thoughts?

J

Edited by ship69

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Apologies. Too many questions?

OK try just one:
- How does ABS compare to Styrene, in terms of ease of machining and mechanical properties?

Thanks

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I know a number of small manufacturers make their prototypes/masters from high density foam. We also use this material to machine articles for use in our wind tunnels. We also use ABS for prototypes produced in our 3D printers. Both materials can take paint, as long as they are primed first and sand easily, yet are strong enough to be used in the preliminary stages of investment casting.

In reference to your solo question, ABS is easier to machine and is generally stronger all round than styrene.

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In reference to your solo question, ABS is easier to machine and is generally stronger all round than styrene.

Intereresting. OK so it sounds like I might be better migrating to ABS in that case.

While I'm here, where would you recommend that I go to purchase fairly small amounts (say c. £10-30 orders) of these kind of materials?

(Looking for: wide range of stock, fast reliable delivery, good product information, able to cope with small-ish purchases, reasonable prices...)

Many thanks

J

Edited by ship69

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No Dan, we use araldite or CA, but for masters or prototypes it's fine. There are specialist ABS glues available. I've printed some bits for Mike if you want to see the material we use.

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No Dan, we use araldite or CA, but for masters or prototypes it's fine. There are specialist ABS glues available. I've printed some bits for Mike if you want to see the material we use.

Fwiw, EMA Plastic Weld does *claim* to stick ABS:

http://www.ema-models.co.uk/index.php/plastic-weld-cement-12x-57ml.html

"Known to experienced model makers as EMA Plasweld, this solvent sticks all normal model making plastics, i.e. perspex, ABS, butyrate, styrene, acrylic etc. "

Re Tamiya Extra Thin

On this page

http://www.hobbyfanatics.com/index.php?/topic/24128-gluing-abs-plastic/

MatX claims to be able to glue ABS

...however maybe the bonding isn't very reliable/strong.

Tricky... maybe I'd be better sticking to styrene (/HIPS) even though it's relatively weak stuff?

Are there any other plastics (other than ABS) that are good for building quick prototypes & models? (i.e. that glue easily, are easy to machine but which are more robust than styrene/HIPS ?)

Many thanks

Edited by ship69

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