Easy to Mold Plastic Makes Robot Prototypes Possible (Video)

Doing some further research on the innovative chopstick spider robot, I realized that the plastic material used as connectors and spacers is actually "polymorph". Polymorph is surprisingly easy to work with. All you need is hot water and some patience. Of course it shouldn't be used for applications where the plastic will be exposed to any heat higher than room temperature. But for quick prototyping and one-off designs, it's  great - especially if you can't afford a 3D printer like the Makerbot.

I was first introduced to the wonders of polymorph by I-Wei, the creative genius behind Crab-Fu Steam Works and Motion Works. He used polymorph (Shape Lock) for the body and shell pieces of his cute Swashbot 3 robot:

I actually have a small bag of the Shape Lock polymorph plastic, and now that I've been inspired by the chopstick robot, it's time to put it to good use.

 

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2 comments

  1. This is such a cool idea! I have a son who loves robots. I bet if I start him with this flexible plastic it may inspire him to think of bigger and better robots as he grows older. I can probably find polymorph plastic online?

    • Lem Fugitt

      Jane: It is a cool idea, and usually triggers a lot of creativity. One big advantage is that mistakes can quickly be softened with hot water and remolded, so people, especially kids, don’t get dejected when they make a mistake.

      You should be able to find polymorph plastic online. It’s sold under quite a few different brand names.

      Good luck and let us know how it works out for you and your son. :)

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