The Luck-Key experience: PRECIOUS PLASTIC!!!
February 13, 2018
I heard about precious plastic in the science café, and I was engrossed instantly to making plastic trash into a useful material. I signed up for precious plastic in the one day survey, and luckily, I am here in the FAB LAB and made 3 projects in total. We gathered a lot of plastics before one day, the types 2, 4, and 5 because 1 and 3 were harder to control the melting points. We put a box near the room 2638 (Ms. Boardman’s room), and told our friends to bring plastics. Like that, we successfully gathered tons of plastic. In the FAB LAB, there were two different kinds of extruders, one shredder, and an oven. Among those machines, I used the extruders because there were already a lot of shredded plastics, and I had no time for the oven. The first project was all about plastic bags, cutting and ironing. The second one was about using the extruder machine, making coils and lines. My last project was carving on top of plastic tiles.
My first project was a wallet made by plastic bags which was ironed together. I first cut the useless parts of a plastic bag such as the handle, and I cut the bottom to split the plastic bag into two pieces. I used only one piece and cut it into 3 pieces to make the sheet thicker, and put baking paper on and under the sheet to iron it. When I pulled it out, the 3 sheets had stuck together and was wonderful. Then, I made a net out of that 3-sheets-combined sheet. A net is to fold and cut the sheet to make it into a wallet by only using one sheet instead of ironing more pieces. The drawing of a net is in the bottom. So, I folded the edges and ironed it and also ironed the back and the front of the wallet, and to not let the hole stick together (because I needed to put money inside), I inserted a baking paper inside the hole and ironed it. That way, the plastic bags don’t stick together. This wallet was my second try, and my first try failed because I didn’t make the net and just tried to stick the separate pieces together, and I didn’t used the baking paper. But as soon as Mr. Frank told us about the net, I was successful.
My second project was kind of a failure, but at least I experienced the extruder machine. I firstly chose the shredded plastics which were the color of black and white because they were my favorite color and both were the same type, PP (remember, when you’re extruding, you should only choose the same type). Next, me and my friends, James and Matthew helped me dump the plastic in the hole and stick the coils together. Before you dump the plastic in and start the machine, you need to see if the extruder machine has heated up. When we dumped the plastic pieces in and started the machine, the thick, melted plastic lines came out from the end of the machine. My job was to wrap it around the tin bowl to make a coil plastic bowl. The first 3 lines stuck together, but the next didn’t even stick. Mr. Jerry turned the temperature higher, but it still didn’t stick well and keep falling off. And when we finally messed up, we stopped the machine. The color was rather not monotone, but different variety of colors: light grey to grey to darker grey to black. Even though the result was not good, I experienced and learned how to handle the extruder machines, so I think it was a nice encounter for me.
My last project is carvings on the plastic tiles. The plastic tiles were not melted by us, we only carved on it. But carving was hard too. We used the pushing tool, and pushed the surface. But if you didn’t measure your power well, you just push too deep or push all the way to the end of the tile. And it was hard to see clearly from a far distance, so I had to trace it with a sharpie. I sanded off the sharp edges of the tiles by a sanding machine which has a sandpaper twirling really fast. This project was rather the easiest project I did and the simplest.
Precious Plastic was a great experience for me and it felt good to change plastic rubbish into something useful. Mr. Frank, Ms. Boardman and Mr. Jerry helped me and taught me a lot and I am thankful of that. Precious plastic is not regrettable one day and it was perfect for me.