Archive for April 21st, 2015

T1-MMT Polymorph sidetrack

More sidetracking – Polymorph pellets

Mat from madmat3dprinting.com.au sent me some polymorph pellets and flexible filament to try. I started with the polymorph pellets. These are thermoplastic that melts at around 60° C and can be moulded by hand.

Sidetrack sample p1-5 Can I make a multi-coloured plastic lump, roll it out and shape or emboss it?

Sidetrack p1-5 Materials

Sidetrack p1-5 Materials


Polymorph beads and tubs ready to go.
Sidetrack p1-5 In dyed hot water

Sidetrack p1-5 In dyed hot water


Beads in tubs with hot water. Some drops of old silk dyes in a couple.
Sidetrack p1-5 Result

Sidetrack p1-5 Result


Basically the colour was unsuccessful. The colour was squeezed out with the water. There is a slight trace of the pink visible, but I suspect that is more trace “foreign matter” remaining in the plastic (just as there are smears of dirt in the plain sample – the garage is partially open, so always dirty.)

Sidetrack sample p1-6. Can I remelt and remould plastic no longer in beads?

Sidetrack p1-6 Remelted in hot water

Sidetrack p1-6 Remelted in hot water


One part back in hot water. It went transparent, suggesting it had remelted.
I quickly kneaded it and rolled it flat with a rolling pin, working quickly as it was already turning white. I pressed in a plastic shape (originally the side of a peg basket, I think)
Sidetrack p1-6 Embossed

Sidetrack p1-6 Embossed


The embossing worked. I think my palm-print is in it – not visible, but the roughness can be felt. The plastic is slightly flexible.
Sidetrack p1-6 Backlit

Sidetrack p1-6 Backlit


Backlit the pattern is very clear.

Sidetrack sample p1-7.
Can I print with it?

Sidetrack p1-7

Sidetrack p1-7


I rolled on acrylic paint using a foam roller, and tried to print onto cartridge paper.

The first two prints (on the left) weren’t successful. The first had too much water in the roller. Both the first two were on a hard surface.
The third and fourth were printed on a softer surface and are more successful, but I think I can see the influence of my palm print.

Sidetrack sample p1-8
Can I clean the paint off and reuse the plastic?

Sidetrack p1-8 Cleaned and re-embossed

Sidetrack p1-8 Cleaned


A toothbrush and cold water got rid of most of the paint. I might have got more with soap and warm (not hot!) water, but I wasn’t too fastidious – I’m curious as to how much colour sticks around after reuse.
This time I remelted, kneaded and rolled, then back into the water for a soften. Then out, roll and emboss – pressing with the rolling pin rather than my hands.

The plastic is beginning to look rather grubby and there are some bubbles in it. Air? Water? A reaction to impurities?

Sidetrack p1-8 Prints

Sidetrack p1-8 Prints


On the left I pressed down by hand. On the right I tried to keep the pressure more even, by putting a piece of 3 or 4 mm perspex on top and pressing on that. Although not at all “clean” I rather like the one on the right – it seems to have some character.

Sidetrack sample p1-9
Can I use the original object and combine the prints?

Sidetrack p1-9 Overprinted

Sidetrack p1-9 Overprinted


The first attempt, top right, I didn’t think about where I’d put the paint on the stamp. Quite a lively, interesting result. I like the unintended inclusion of the second underprint (the one to the left). It all seems to work together.

Lower down is the second overprint. I thought much more about placement, and the underprinting was my favourite. I find the result a little dull. Too predictable?

Sidetrack p1-9 Stocktake

Sidetrack p1-9 Stocktake


I now have a rather grubby stamp and two other pieces – one faintly pink, the other faintly yellow.

Sidetrack sample p1-10 I want to try some inclusions, and make a lacey, fluttery shape.

Sidetrack p1-10 Inclusions

Sidetrack p1-10 Inclusions


A rather amusing interlude later, and I have a flower-like shape firmly attached to some pvc pipe, and little bits of colourful foil all over my work area.
Sidetrack p1-10 Top view

Sidetrack p1-10 Top view


The inclusions work quite nicely (although the leftovers are going into a secure bin as soon as I can track them down).

I was trying to mould around the pipe and it was a nasty shock when it wouldn’t come loose. Still, this is very useful information. The molten pellets bond very firmly to pvc.

Sidetrack p1-10 Backlit

Sidetrack p1-10 Backlit


Backlit looks good, and there is a clear sense of layers in the inclusions. I think this has a lot of promise – always being careful of the application (no hot water anywhere, and probably not any heat).

Sidetrack sample p1-11. Can I colour the polymorph plastic using disperse dyes?
I ironed the back of the relatively flat embossed piece with a paper of disperse dye – between baking paper to protect iron and surface.

Sidetrack p1-11 Plastic still warm with disperse dye

Sidetrack p1-11 Plastic still warm with disperse dye


It looked great when still warm. Above it is still on the paper and the view is actually through the warm plastic to the back.
Sidetrack p1-11 Dyed plastic

Sidetrack p1-11 Dyed plastic


Once cool the paper was removed with just a little patience. The baking paper hadn’t stuck at all when ironing.
Sidetrack p1-11 Remelting plastic

Sidetrack p1-11 Remelting plastic


A little colour floated away in hot water, but most stayed.
Sidetrack p1-11 Cool remoulded plastic

Sidetrack p1-11 Cool remoulded plastic


Strong colour remained in the moulded, cooled plastic!
Sidetrack p1-11 Backlit - striations visible

Sidetrack p1-11 Backlit – striations visible


The backlit view shows striations where the colour isn’t completely mixed through. Rather a nice flower petal effect.

Sidetrack sample p1-12. Will adding another colour lead to colour mixing?

Sidetrack p1-12 More colour - still warm

Sidetrack p1-12 More colour – still warm


It’s hard to judge what’s happening with colour when the plastic is still warm and transparent.
Sidetrack p1-12 Stuck paper

Sidetrack p1-12 Stuck paper


Patience failed, and some disperse dye paper was left stuck to the plastic.
Sidetrack p1-12 Cleaned

Sidetrack p1-12 Cleaned


It was easy to rub off the paper in cold water.
I had softened and partly flattened the plastic before ironing with the dye, but the surface was still rough and uptake of colour uneven.
Sidetrack p1-12 Part mixed

Sidetrack p1-12 Part mixed


Part-mixed the plastic shows a lot of colour variation. Of particular interest are some thicker edge parts which remained pink and didn’t soften a lot when remelting. This suggests all sorts of possibilities for colour variation.
Sidetrack p1-12 Result

Sidetrack p1-12 Result


The final, cooled result was a rich purple – the mix of the pink and dark blue dyes added.
Being able to add strong colour like this really opens the polymorph to all sorts of applications, especially with the ease and flexibility of mixing colours.

Sidetrack sample p1-13. I decided to return to earlier crumpling experiments with ribs – see for example sample p1-13 (30-March-2015). Very happy with the result.

Sidetrack p1-13 Ribs

Sidetrack p1-13 Ribs


Sidetrack p1-13 Reverse

Sidetrack p1-13 Reverse


Sidetrack p1-13 Backlit

Sidetrack p1-13 Backlit

Unfortunately this session was cut short. Some ideas to continue with next time :
* Adding powdered colour. Not my dyes – bad / hazardous to use in powdered form. Other pigments.
* inclusions – How far can you go? What happens as it loses cohesion or structural integrity?
* Apply heat in other ways than immersion in hot water? Can one work more precisely?
* Tendency to catch to itself – avoid by wide / flat container
* adherence to other plastics -especially ABS filament?
* Can I write with 3D pen on to /from it?
* how would it react to scraps of filament included in it?
* would a stainless steel bar work better than a wooden rolling pin?
* can one cut/ pierce the hardened plastic – hot needle; awl; various knives?
* if it adheres to carrier plastic, can I smear it on to use as shaping support?
* I wanted to get lacey effects, but it pulls more like toffee. Accept this and go for gothic? Fight it -say use tools (awl?) while moulding?

T1-MMT-P1-p3-e2 Using a heat gun – third session

For my third session I choses two focus points – a quick test of a range of materials, and some experimentation with colour in fabrics.

Sample p1-65. The gridded foil shelf liner.

Sample p1-65 Before

Sample p1-65 Before


Sample p1-65 After

Sample p1-65 After


After heating the shiny side

Sample p1-66. The same gridded foil shelf liner.

Sample p1-66 Before

Sample p1-66 Before


Before, on the reverse side.
Sample p1-66 After

Sample p1-66 After


Sample p1-66 After - detail

Sample p1-66 After – detail


Sample p1-66 After - reverse of reverse

Sample p1-66 After – reverse of reverse


After heating the reverse side. The plastic backing dissolved, giving a distressed effect, and a textured foil material that isn’t super shiny. The front (or reverse of the reverse) has a potentially useful unstructured grid effect. The material is quite strong and I think would survive stitching. A useful result.

Sample p1-67. Polyester fill

Sample p1-67 Before

Sample p1-67 Before


Sample p1-67 After

Sample p1-67 After


Sample p1-67 After - detail

Sample p1-67 After – detail


At first it seemed to be dissolving away like fairy floss, but it ended with a deep texture effect.

Sample p1-68. Thick acrylic felt, leftover from a sound-reduction project.

Sample p1-68 Before

Sample p1-68 Before


Sample p1-68 After

Sample p1-68 After


The effect is more apparent to the touch than the sight. I would like to try printing off this.

Sample p1-69. Non-slip liner.

Sample p1-69

Sample p1-69


No photo of after – there was no apparent reaction at first. I put the heat up, but could see fumes so stopped working with it.

Sample p1-70. Some thin acrylic felt, two colours, layers partially overlapped.

Sample p1-70 Before

Sample p1-70 Before


Sample p1-70 After

Sample p1-70 After


The melting them together idea went nowhere. Treated separately I got some nice distressing of the surface plus variation in colour. It could make a good concealing/revealing layer. Alternatively the mottling could help texture an area.

Sample p1-71. Polyester satin

Sample p1-71 Before

Sample p1-71 Before


It took a lot of heating to get this moving.
Sample p1-71 After

Sample p1-71 After


Some nice texture, and it really breaks up the shine to give a much more interesting – and less cheap – look.
It still doesn’t feel nice for hand-sewing – if you spend a lot of time handling a material you want it to feel good. However it should be fine for machine stitching.
It could be effective to combine this texture with colour from disperse dyes.

Sample p1-72. Synthetic velvet.
A small sample – I only brought one piece out with me, and I want to try heating from both sides. First the front (textured) side.

Sample p1-72 Before

Sample p1-72 Before


Sample p1-72 After

Sample p1-72 After


Very hard to get moving, de-lustred, hard and nasty where it shrunk most.

Sample p1-73. Synthetic velvet.
I’m very not keen, but going ahead with the plan. This time heating from the knit side.

Sample p1-73 Before

Sample p1-73 Before


Sample p1-73 After - knit side

Sample p1-73 After – knit side


Sample p1-73 After - pile side

Sample p1-73 After – pile side


A much quicker response to the heat. The result is not so hard and plasticky, except where the edges rolled a bit. The lustre is still there, and because it is now dimpled it is not as harsh a shine as the original fabric.

Sample p1-74. A light, synthetic silver lamé thing.

Sample p1-74 Before

Sample p1-74 Before


Sample p1-74 During

Sample p1-74 During


Sample p1-74 After

Sample p1-74 After


Sample p1-74 Backlit

Sample p1-74 Backlit


A nice textured and disstressed look. The fabric is a bit crunchy and fragile, so would probably be a pain to work with.

Sample p1-75. Pink synthetic crystal organza.

Sample p1-75 Before

Sample p1-75 Before


Sample p1-75 During

Sample p1-75 During


Sample p1-75 After

Sample p1-75 After


Sample p1-75 Backlit

Sample p1-75 Backlit


Some interesting texture. It’s lost some shine, which I consider a good thing. It provides some variation in colour and transparency which could be useful. Ridiculously coloured rocks???

Sample p1-76. Pink and blue synthetic organza.
I want to try colour mixing, also whether I can get the two fabrics to join at all. I’ve used the kinetic sand for at least a little control – the pink on its own was very flighty.

Sample p1-76 Before

Sample p1-76 Before


Sample p1-76 After

Sample p1-76 After


Sample p1-76 Layers separated

Sample p1-76 Layers separated


The fabrics didn’t bond at all, but they fit together with related shaping, which could be useful.

What I’m really attracted by is the protection and shaping given by the sand.

Sample p1-77. Purple synthetic organza.
Areas covered by sand. Is this too detailed for the reserving effect to work?

Sample p1-77 Before

Sample p1-77 Before


Sample p1-77 After

Sample p1-77 After


Sample p1-77 Sand removed

Sample p1-77 Sand removed


Either that was a different kind of material, or the weight of sand and amount of material available for shrinking was the wrong mix.

Sample p1-78 Green synthetic organza.
A simpler set of sand shapes, and lots of spare material available.

Sample p1-78 Before

Sample p1-78 Before


Sample p1-78 After

Sample p1-78 After


Sample p1-78 Sand removed

Sample p1-78 Sand removed


That worked better.
I think this technique could be useful.

T1-MMT-P1-p3-e2 Using a heat gun – third session
Textiles 1 – Mixed Media for Textiles
Part 1: Surface Distortion
Project 3: Heating and fusing
Exercise 2: Using a heat gun


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