Celastic replacement

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Postby Tom Stone » 03/04/07 12:49 PM

After reading the Benson book, I wanted to get hold of the material Celastic, as it sounded like a perfect material to use when making gaffs and prototypes.

Not that easy to find. But I found something even better: A non-toxic thermoplastic resin called "Varaform". Just heat it up in water, then make any form you want - and as soon as it cools it is rigid again. Just google for the word "Varaform", and you'll find plenty of suppliers.

Here's one place:
http://www.sculpt.com/catalog_98/craft/varaform.htm
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Postby NCMarsh » 03/04/07 02:55 PM

Very interesting...thanks for sharing!
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Postby Guest » 03/04/07 04:21 PM

WOW! That's cool!
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Postby Guest » 03/04/07 10:47 PM

Tom;
Such heat setting thermoplatics are useless here in Arizona. Parked cars easily get way hotter than the softening point. This would ruin anything molded from the plastic material.

Celastic might still be found in taxidermy and orthopedic supply catalogs - usually in two thicknesses. It is nasty to use with acetone or MEK as the required solvents (MEK gives a longer working time). You would not want to breathe vapors nor touch the soaked fabric. Celastic is laid up like paper mache in tiny strips. The solvents eat away latex gloves and probably nitrile (a bit slower) gloves too. It would be safest to use outside with forceps. Cartridge type masks seem to absorb the vapors which can be smelled for a long period of time and are not suggested.

There is a new solvent based "replacement" called Solvoset (alconeco.com) which yields a smoother finish to the item; but does not always stick well to itself - same solvents. Celastic was great; but possibly deadly to use. I'll stick to spun metal :D

The heat setting plastics really are not a good replacement due to their remelting at relatively low temperatures.
Jim
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Postby Tom Stone » 03/05/07 02:39 AM

Jim Riser wrote:
Such heat setting thermoplatics are useless here in Arizona. Parked cars easily get way hotter than the softening point. This would ruin anything molded from the plastic material.
Ah, then I guess it's good thing that I'm in cold Sweden. :)

Still useful for quick prototypes though.
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