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View Full Version : Shapelock Low-Temp Thermoplastic: First Impressions



cclark1985
05-20-2008, 08:37 PM
http://www.lonestarairsoft.com/forums/photopost/data/503/bag.jpg
Shapelock (http://www.shapelock.com)


Preliminaries

What is this stuff?
Shapelock is a "Ultra-High Molecular Weight Low-Temperature Thermoplastic" that becomes easily moldable around 160F and returns to a rigid, tough state at room temperature. It can be machined/milled and is reusable—if you are not happy with what you've created, throw it back in hot water and cablammo, a fresh start!

What are its uses?
It has infinite uses.

Is it fun to play with?
Totally. It's like play-dough, but more awesomer!

How much does it cost?
The .5 kg bag I ordered was $24.95 USD plus $7.49 shipping.


Hands on

My order arrived in a couple days directly from shapelock. Shapelock comes in pellets, and here is an image comparing the size to a dime.

http://www.lonestarairsoft.com/forums/photopost/data/503/pellets.jpg

The steps to use shapelock are quite simple. Bring some water to a boil; let it come off of a boil for a few moments; add the pellets and then wait for them to become clear.

http://www.lonestarairsoft.com/forums/photopost/data/503/clear.jpg

Use a spoon or other utensil to get the plastic out of the water, and then mold whatever shape is needed before the plastic cools to a hard, opaque state.

After playing around with the stuff for a few minutes, a multitude of uses came to mind. The first thing I did was to use a small amount to fix the unplugging issue I had with my icom/otto headset.

http://www.lonestarairsoft.com/forums/photopost/data/503/radio2.jpg
http://www.lonestarairsoft.com/forums/photopost/data/503/radio3.jpg
http://www.lonestarairsoft.com/forums/photopost/data/503/radio1.jpg

I also created a simple, albeit non-functioning, magpull. This is a plausible idea, and I plan to experiment with it more.

http://www.lonestarairsoft.com/forums/photopost/data/503/magpull.jpg

I plan to use shapelock in an effort to fix the feeding issue I have with the G&P M14 mid-cap magazines. There is too much lateral movement in the feed tube at the exit point, which causes one bb to jam against another. I will mash some shapelock into the feed tube, and then use a dremel to mill out a smaller exit path.

Conclusion

I foresee that I will have many uses for this stuff in the future. After it hardens, it seems very durable. I have experimented to see how it handles stress, and taking a thin, elongated piece and doubling it over upon itself several times does not crack the plastic and leaves little remnants. Some situations may need a stiffer plastic, but I believe this material is great for most general uses. It will be interesting to see how it holds up on the field.

My initial impressions are favorable.

Mir
05-20-2008, 09:34 PM
Few Questions:
How smooth / rough is it?
Do you think you could mix in food dye / ink? Black would be nice!
How does it bond with metal / plastic?
Which is better and how do you think it will hold up?

otang
05-20-2008, 09:46 PM
Looks cool.
Would a rubber band looped around the antenna and Otto be of help? :cool:
I can see some neat applications, reminds me of a mouthpiece from football.

cclark1985
05-20-2008, 10:20 PM
Few Questions:
How smooth / rough is it?
Do you think you could mix in food dye / ink? Black would be nice!
How does it bond with metal / plastic?
Which is better and how do you think it will hold up?

The smoothness depends on the shape of the plastic when it cools. If you let a blob of the stuff cool, then it will be quite smooth. However, if you rough it up by making lots of indentions before it cools, it will be relatively rough.

I do not think mixing in food dye or ink into the water will have the result you are looking for. I am not very knowledgeable in the subject, but I believe colored plastics need to be manufactured with a specific chemical structure to add color. As an alternative, the manufacturer of shapelock states that it is paintable.

I have not used it with metal, but I can foresee no adhesive or cohesive forces that would cause the two materials to bond together. I believe force-fitting or adhesives would be required to bond shapelock to metal. However, it is a different story with plastics. It seems that shapelock readily sticks cohesively to soft/squishy plastics (such as the Otto headset plug), but does not stick to harder plastics (such as the Icom radio's case).

I'm not sure what you are asking with your final question. Which what is better? I referred only to one product in my post, shapelock. I will have to see how it will hold up, but it seems durable.


Looks cool.
Would a rubber band looped around the antenna and Otto be of help?

I thought of a similar solution, but I came to the conclusion that adding a prolonged compressional force to the headset input area would cause an unfavorable result (which is what happened to my previous radio). The plastic bracket adds no force and only prevents the headset from coming unplugged.

patmann90
05-20-2008, 10:29 PM
Thats pretty cool stuff. Thanks for the mini review clark.

otang
08-22-2008, 09:10 PM
CClark, any updates from field use? I'd like to try this on a magwell.

BlackHorse432
08-22-2008, 10:41 PM
Let me know how the M14 magazine modification works...my bro and I have experienced what you have and also problems with it feeding at all...so your experiment in that area would be awsome.

cclark1985
08-23-2008, 12:05 AM
CClark, any updates from field use? I'd like to try this on a magwell.

So far I've only used the material in creating the headset clip, and it has operated as envisioned. Albeit a radio in a pouch does not elicit an appreciable amount of wear, the clip shows no sign weakening.


Let me know how the M14 magazine modification works...my bro and I have experienced what you have and also problems with it feeding at all...so your experiment in that area would be awsome.

After opening the G&P M14 mag', I deemed it unnecessary to add material by using shapelock. Instead, I decided to use a dremmel to make a small, curved channel that keeps the bbs in-line and helps prevent jamming. I've fielded the solution twice, and it seems to have done the trick.

BlackHorse432
08-25-2008, 05:09 PM
Hmm, very interesting. I myself hadn't had a problem that wasn't fixed by checking the wind up on the mag, but my brother has been having feed problems on 3 or his 6 mags.

cclark1985
08-25-2008, 05:52 PM
Hmm, very interesting. I myself hadn't had a problem that wasn't fixed by checking the wind up on the mag, but my brother has been having feed problems on 3 or his 6 mags.

Please note that I am referring only to the G&P 160 round mid-cap's—not high-cap's.

BlackHorse432
08-26-2008, 03:09 AM
Thanks for clarification.