Bioplastics – the quest for Open Source material production

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Chris Mendel and myself have been involved in a bit of bioplastics experimentation over the past few days, which appears to be generating some interest.

http://www.shapeways.com/blog/archives/371-laser-cutting-bioplastics.html#c2047

We’re doing the research/experimentation for a couple of reasons

1. It’s fun

2. Imagine how cool it would be if you could make plastic products from scratch in your kitchen. This is truly open design, the barriers to entry are minimal.

Now to the meat, what everyone wants to know.

The original recipe we used was http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/08/make_your_own_potato_plas.html but using cornstarch instead of potato starch.

Our recipe then became:

7 parts water
1 part vinegar
1/2 part glycerine
1 1/2 parts starch

With respect to the microwave, the mix was accidental (very unscientific I know), Chris was trying to replicate it on Sunday but without joy. We are going to spend some time this week in a more analytical fashion to establish different material recipes and properties.

From what I can remember the original microwave success came from the following approximate recipe:

1 part water

1 part starch

splash glycerine

bigger splash vinegar

Microwave for too long until you have a gel rather than a liquid. Spread thin and microwave again in 30 second bursts until dry.

The second time around we didn’t cook it for too long, spread the plastic in liquid for and then zapped it periodically in 30 second bursts.

Like I said, not very scientific.

Peel off (nb may still be gooey on underside but this makes it fun for throwing at windows and people – allow to cool first).

We would like to invite you to join us in this experimentation.

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11 thoughts on “Bioplastics – the quest for Open Source material production

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for posting this recipe! Could you tell me whether the parts are by weight or by volume?

    Thanks.

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