Heat press machine
Hello fellow humans,
I have recently brought a heat press machine, I have seen a few people using these to make sheets and now want to have a go myself.
I’m really excited to make a start at this see what I can make with it.
If anyone has any pointers or tips they would like to share that would be amazing.
Stay safe and keep up the good work.
I think ‘plastacs’ has the same machine and posts from time to time something on instagram.
Looks like this machine could get some upgrades, judging at the surface finish of plastics coming out. I’d weld some extra metal on each corner to enable fast tightening bolts (no idea how its called in english) but possibly the entire structure isn’t made for more pressure.
Cant wait to see your results Adzie, someone donated us an old ironing press, I modified it a bit so it wouldnt switch off when it got ho and made some half decent sheets in a quick experiment.
My only suggestion would be, use thin tin sheets to sandwich the shred inside the press and then when you take it out, put it under a flat weight. The thin sheet wont take much extra time to heat up but it will help the plastic cool slower. This worked in my little experiment (wish I took pics now!) to stop it curling/buckling as it cooled.
Thanks guys for the tips,
I checked these guys out that’s amazing what they are doing.
Thanks mate I will give it a try, I’m just trying to make a 1cm thick sheet anywhere from 20cm2 to 35cm2. Hopefully after a little r&d I’ll have this.
As for the machine it’s amazing, I think once I have worked out the mold this will be able to start a small production for sheets.
Once I have some update I’ll let you guys know.
Keep up the good work guys.
Hi Adz, @adzie23
We have been using a heat press at our regular Plastic Playgroup events, and have figured out a few tips though we’re far from totally figuring it out.
– We use silicone baking mats to prevent the plastic from sticking to the press itself, initially we used parchment paper but it crinkles the surface when it cools
– As Morethantencents suggests, we put the hot sheet straight under a flat sheet to prevent warping as it cools. We use a big book but have been donated a book binders press and are going to try that next time since it can also give us some control over thickness. Ideally you want equal cooling rates on top and bottom, so if you place it on a cool surface but insulate it using a book above (as we initially did), it is likely to warp. Better to use two books, or something else of equal temperature and thermal conductivity, then wait longer for it to cool.
– Because this type of press is hinged at the back, the sheets will be thicker at the back and this effect gets quite significant even aroud 2m thick. To get around this we chock up the front underneath the bottom plate. On ours it has two bolts at the front, which can be loosened and washers or other stops can be wedged in to raise the bed at the front. We haven’t got a science for this but in time we imagine we’ll know if 3 washers suits 4mm sheets, 6 washers for 7mm sheets for example.
Attached are pics of PP and PLA sheets made using the press – we’ve got up to 6mm by doing it in layers, adding flakes that melt to add less than 2mm at a time. I’d be interested to see how you reach 10mm without it being super labour intensive. The one pictured has warped a little when cooling.
Hope that saves you some time. Can’t wait to see what you make!
Thank you so much for sharing your insight and tips with this, I haven’t had the time to test it the way I want to yet but will this coming weekend, so I’m very happy to gather notes beforehand.
I will try to make some kind of squishy machine for the sheets in time but for now I will try that tin sheet idea.
I have found that it doesn’t seem to take too long once it is heated up to start to melt. I would love to try molds in this as well.
I will keep this page updated once I get to it.
Thanks again guys.
My first real test and I’m happy with the results.
A lot to learn from this but just happy to have a start.
Test #1 200g of mixed plastic (I think it’s hdpe)
200 degrees Celsius for 20min.
Inbtween aluminum tubing to make a 30cm by 15cm by 1cm sheet.
This seem to almost work, the tubes are not welded together so they moved to easy.
Once I have the mold welded together I am going to try again, however after 20min I waited 10min for the sheet to cool in the machine still pressed then took it out and placed a large stone tile on the sheet to weight it down.
Over all happy with the first test and can’t wait to see what I can make.
Nice work – pretty thick!
I forgot to mention that we flip and rotate the sheet during the press so that it gets a nice even melt on all sides. Although the rougher surface could be a design feature in some applications 🙂
I cut my first sheet down into a 15cm2, this was the smoothest part of my first sheet.
I got 2 silicone baking sheets (thanks for the tip) molded with aluminium tubes again this time to the length and width of the baking sheets. 21cm by 38cm. 20min each side then 10min under a large weight.
The mold moved and didn’t keep the plastic in the spot as you can see. But over all very happy with it. Smooth and strong, wanna try and build with this soon.
200c for 20min each side, cooled down under a concrete slab.
Shiny finish, smooth to touch, very strong.
21cm by 33cm by 1cm. More to come.
Hello fellow humans,
Here is an update on my progress,
With my first two sheets I made a little table that is quite sturdy and looks really cool. As I did very little to pretty it up.
I then made a cool af looking sheet out of pp and hdpe bottle caps, with a new cooling technique just squishing it between two concrete slabs, about 15kg each.
I just made a mold for my heat press that is easy to fill, flip and pull apart to clean or get stuck plastic out. It’s just aluminium cut to fit my silicon sheets with a threaded bar through it held together with butterfly nuts. This seems to work so far. This makes a 34cm by 26cm sheet.
My first test in this I used 550g of abs plastic.
200c for 20min each side. Then cooled down between slabs of concrete. It’s super smooth and not as shinny as the other test but still nice to touch. Quite strong but could of gone hotter.
I am going to try and make other things with these sheets, if you guys have any ideas that you think might be easy to make please let me know.
I am looking for things around offices and schools as I work in a uni.
I need to look into different ways to join plastics as well but so far very happy with my progress.
Thanks everyone and keep being cool.
Test 1 new mold.
Black and- 550g.
36cm by 26cm by 1cm.
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