How to make your own Polymorph - cheap!

Update! Aparently there is a huge difference in the glue-sticks. Take that into consideration regarding everything in this post.

However, I had some of the "bad kind" as well, and did some resaerch: if your glue sticks are not the kind that I have used for the main picture, perhaps you still may have interest in making "shapes" the way demonstrated on these pictures:


Here follows original posting, but I may have been to fast announcing this, not all glues sticks will apply.

Want "Polymorph", or "Shapelock" - that Uh, so expensive and hard to get materials?

Well, here is the news; It it is the same stuff that melt-gluegun-glue sticks are made of!

Yes, it's true. Get some sticks, boil them (erh - do not boil them, they get sticky - keep them below 62 celsius, but get them there.. make sure they are all heated through.. take the spaghetti up, mold it, cool it down.. bingo!

See this thread for more, this is fantastic, I am going to be molding now!


OK - have doe some more testing :)

Strange - different companies glue sticks behave differently; Some will melt again, and some gets sort of tough and hard for ever once melted. If you mic them, you will get hard pieces inside nice mody stuff - so don't


Hot water out of my tap at home has perfect temperature!

Full manual on this on the PDF here!

Holy moldy! This is really fantastic, I always wanted to try this material, and I always used melt glue.. and now I understand it is the same :D Only the melt-to 62 degress in water-trick does the difference!

A better idea

They melt a lot quicker if you put them through a blender first. Don’t use the household blender. Buy one for the garage. I have one which stays with my garage clothes iron, my garage kettle, my garage microwave oven, my garage food mixer and my garage washing machine.

Anyway. The bloken up granules melt more quickly. Be careful when squeezing the boiling water out of them.

I find the finished result is more flexable than the branded polymorph.

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Actually, I’m off to mix some with some polymorph to see what happens.

So with some glue sticks we

So with some glue sticks we can fabricate plastic components to build robots… OMG if this is true I HAVE to try it. Imagine what great things we can make if we can fabricate the plastic components our selves…

Looking forward to some vids & pics concerning the testing!

Nice work!


GobliZ - Check out my robots

My hotmelt glue - Not good


Hmmm. My results with hotmelt glue weren’t good. Sure the stuff gets flexible and sticky in 80 degreeC water (first photo), but it cools REALLY quickly - I couldn’t even get chopped up bits of it to stick back together once removed from the hot water (second photo).

When I pulled it, it sort of “snapped” rather than stretching and after it cooled down, the result was kind of rubbery and not very usable.

My experience mirrored

My experience mirrored BOA’s. The glue stick chops (like in picture 2) stuck together, but it became a rubber rather than the playdough I expected…

Aaargh, I’ve spent the day dreaming about the new anckle joint I was gonna fabricate tonight, and now the dreams are shattered.

/maneuver starts looking for that bottle of brandy


/ vzz-clck-“Maneuver”

THere are different brands

THere are different brands in the glue sticks!

I have some that works lik that as well.

However - I have some that works.

Will get back, must research some more…

I you disolve styrofome in
I you disolve styrofome in gas or acetone and let it dry it works just as well and you have the advantage of being able to set it on fire witch is quite fun.

Must try this
Acetone’s kind of hard to get. What type of gas did you use? Butane? Methane? I have some toluene. I wonder if that would work.

Huh? Styrofoam melted in
Huh? Styrofoam melted in acetone, let it dry and you get… what?

by gas i meen petrol, lead

by gas i meen petrol, lead free, it is incredible how much styrofome (the normal stuff, dont know if packing penuts would work) you can disolve in a very small amount of petrol !!!

O and keep a fire extigusher or buket of water next to you if you decide to light it

**you get plastic like stuff **

you get plastic like stuff


… But what you get is
… But what you get is called styrene. And that is not Polycaprolactone ("Shapelock" / "Polymorph" etc)?

dont know what it is called
dont know what it is called but onece it drys it is solid plasic

But can it be molded in any

But can it be molded in any way?

PS: I just knew the names because I looked it up :smiley:

yea i think so, if you let

yea i think so, if you let it dry a bit

I have very little experience using it ass moldable plastic, I only discovered it when some of the leftover stuff hardened.

I am almost certain that it will work

I have two recipe’s for make

I have two recipe’s for make your own plastics, both require 2 ingredients.

1 styrofoam melted in acetone or gas

2 milk boiled with vineger.

I havent tried either one yet but both say they are moldable and the milk one says it don’t stink either.

I cant vouch for them yet but I believe if the styrofoam one can be poured into a mold and let harden it is probably the winner in my book.

the vineger/milk one in the instructable looked like cheese kurd so it probably be better hand formed like playdoe

1 there is also two other idea’s I have using “bakey Clay” .

2 I want to try shredding a plastic frisby to see if it will melt uniformly into a pourable solution

I know alot of other folks use poly morph in their products too but how would you identify it on sight?

that is a good question for everybody…

if you could then you could just feed it to a blender and remelt it in a microwave.

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thermoset plastics DIY info

here is what I found online, maybe we can find a suitable material for a do it yourself method. I think recycling is an awesome idea myself, this post explains alot and tells a bit about possible materials too. Now I know this is a bit much info but if we could use say old drink bottles to mold robot parts for your self or to sale it seems profitable I mean polymorph is $15 per ounce old drink bottles are free. That is a good markup for any business man and it lightens the load on our landfills and planet too. And I am sure not all info is here either so it will need some trial and error to.

colaboration anyone we can each try a few different matterials!


A Thermoplastic is a polymer in which the molecules are held together by weak secondary bonding forces that soften when exposed to heat and return to its original condition when cooled back down to room temperature. When a thermoplastic is softened by heat, it can then be shaped by extrusion, molding, or pressing. Ice cubes are common household items which exemplify the thermoplastic principle. Ice will melt when heated but readily solidifies when cooled. Like a polymer, this process may be repeated numerous times. Thermoplastics offer versatility and a wide range of applications. They are commonly used in food packaging because they can be rapidly and economically formed into any shape needed to fulfill the packaging function. Examples include milk jugs and carbonated soft drink bottles. Other examples of thermoplastics are:

• Packaging
• Electrical insulation
• Milk and water bottles
• Packaging film
• House wrap
• Agricultural film

• Carpet fibers
• Automotive bumpers
• Microwave containers
• External prostheses

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):
• Sheathing for electrical cables
• Floor and wall coverings
• Siding
• Automobile instrument panels

Thermoplastic and Thermoset Processing Methods

There are a variety of different processing methods used to convert polymers into finished products. Some include:

Extrusion - This continuous process is used to produce films, sheet, profiles, tubes, and pipes. Plastic material as granules, pellets, or powder, is first loaded into a hopper and then fed into a long heated chamber through which it is moved by the action of a continuously revolving screw. The chamber is a cylinder and is referred to as an extruder. Extruders can have one or two revolving screws. The plastic is melted by the mechanical work of the screw and the heat from the extruder wall. At the end of the heated chamber, the molten plastic is forced out through a small opening called a die to form the shape of the finished product. As the plastic is extruded from the die, it is fed onto a conveyor belt for cooling or onto rollers for cooling or by immersion in water for cooling. The operation’s principle is the same as that of a meat mincer but with added heaters in the wall of the extruder and cooling of the product. Examples of extruded products include lawn edging, pipe, film, coated paper, insulation on electrical wires, gutter and down spouting, plastic lumber, and window trim. Thermoplastics are processed by continuous extrusion. Thermoset elastomer can be extruded into weatherstripping by adding catalysts to the rubber material as it is fed into the extruder.

Calendering – This continuous process is an extension of film extrusion. The still warm extrudate is chilled on polished, cold rolls to create sheet from 0.005 inches thick to 0.500 inches thick. The thickness is well maintained and surface made smooth by the polished rollers. Calendering is used for high output and the ability to deal with low melt strength. Heavy polyethylene films used for construction vapor and liquid barriers are calendered. High volume PVC films are typically made using calendars.

Film Blowing – This process continuously extrudes vertically a ring of semi-molten polymer in an upward direction, like a fountain. A bubble of air is maintained that stretches the plastic axially and radially into a tube many times the diameter of the ring. The diameter of the tube depends on the plastic being processed and the processing conditions. The tube is cooled by air and is nipped and wound continuously as a flattened tube. The tube can be processed to form saleable bags or slit to form rolls of film with thicknesses of 0.0003 to 0.005 inches thick. Multiple layers of different resins can be used to make the tube.

Injection Molding - This process can produce intricate three-dimensional parts of high quality and great reproducibility. It is predominately used for thermoplastics but some thermosets and elastomers are also processed by injection molding. In injection molding plastic material is fed into a hopper, which feeds into an extruder. An extruder screw pushes the plastic through the heating chamber in which the material is then melted. At the end of the extruder the molten plastic is forced at high pressure into a closed cold mold. The high pressure is needed to be sure the mold is completely filled. Once the plastic cools to a solid, the mold opens and the finished product is ejected. This process is used to make such items as butter tubs, yogurt containers, bottle caps, toys, fittings, and lawn chairs. Special catalysts can be added to create the thermoset plastic products during the processing, such as cured silicone rubber parts. Injection molding is a discontinuous process as the parts are formed in molds and must be cooled or cured before being removed. The economics are determined by how many parts can be made per cycle and how short the cycles can be.

Blow Molding - Blow molding is a process used in conjunction with extrusion or injection molding. In one form, extrusion blow molding, the die forms a continuous semi-molten tube of thermoplastic material. A chilled mold is clamped around the tube and compressed air is then blown into the tube to conform the tube to the interior of the mold and to solidify the stretched tube. Overall, the goal is to produce a uniform melt, form it into a tube with the desired cross section and blow it into the exact shape of the product. This process is used to manufacture hollow plastic products and its principal advantage is its ability to produce hollow shapes without having to join two or more separately injection molded parts. This method is used to make items such as commercial drums and milk bottles. Another blow molding technique is to injection mold an intermediate shape called a preform and then to heat the preform and blow the heat-softened plastic into the final shape in a chilled mold. This is the process to make carbonated soft drink bottles.

Expanded Bead Blowing – This process begins with a measured volume of beads of plastic being placed into a mold. The beads contain a blowing agent or gas, usually pentane, dissolved in the plastic. The closed mold is heated to soften the plastic and the gas expands or blowing agent generates gas. The result is fused closed cell structure of foamed plastic that conforms to a shape, such as expanded polystyrene cups. StyrofoamTM expanded polystyrene thermal insulation board is made in a continuous extrusion process using expanded bead blowing.

Rotational Molding - Rotational molding consists of a mold mounted on a machine capable of rotating on two axes simultaneously. Solid or liquid resin is placed within the mold and heat is applied. Rotation distributes the plastic into a uniform coating on the inside of the mold then the mold is cooled until the plastic part cools and hardens. This process is used to make hollow configurations. Common rotationally molded products include shipping drums, storage tanks and some consumer furniture and toys.

Compression Molding – This process has a prepared volume of plastic placed into a mold cavity and then a second mold or plug is applied to squeeze the plastic into the desired shape. The plastic can be a semi-cured thermoset, such as an automobile tire, or a thermoplastic or a mat of thermoset resin and long glass fibers, such as for a boat hull. Compression molding can be automated or require considerable hand labor. Transfer molding is a refinement of compression molding. Transfer molding is used to encapsulate parts, such as for semi-conductor manufacturing

The formation of plywood or oriented strand board using thermoset adhesives is a variant of compression molding. The wood veneer or strands are coated with catalyzed thermoset phenol formaldehyde resin and compressed and heated to cause the thermoset plastic to form into a rigid, non-melting adhesive.

Casting – This process is the low pressure, often just pouring, addition of liquid resins to a mold. Catalyzed thermoset plastics can be formed into intricate shapes by casting. Molten polymethyl methacrylate thermoplastic can be cast into slabs to form windows for commercial aquariums. Casting can make thick sheet, 0.500 inches to many inches thick.

Thermoforming – Films of thermoplastic are heated to soften the film, and then the soft film is pulled by vacuum or pushed by pressure to conform to a mold or pressed with a plug into a mold. Parts are thermoformed either from cut pieces for thick sheet, over 0.100 inches, or from rolls of thin sheet. The finished parts are cut from the sheet and the scrap sheet material recycled for manufacture of new sheet. The process can be automated for high volume production of clamshell food containers or can be a simple hand labor process to make individual craft items.

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Does this really work?

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