Heat Press Machine
The Heat Press machine was developed in conjunction with Godrej design lab for the purpose of producing Recycled plastic slabs for our workstation’s surface. It was an idea to take our small home experiment to a bigger and more commercial level, and for trying evolving different application with the plastic sheets. For it’s merely a prototype machine, built for experiment purpose, it has its own advantage and disadvantages such as high energy consumption and lack of cooling system makes it slow to cool down. The advantage being that it was relatively easier to replace heating coils at the time of shot circuit or heater over burn failure, compared to its previous iteration kept it on sustainable front for experimenting. The heat press consists of certain important parts such as Structural plate with manual vertical screw movement, polished top plate which will be in direct contact with the plastic granules, polished travelling tray which can be slide out to collect or refill the material, heating coils, heat controller module, chassis, leg structure etc.
The shredded plastics are put into the travelling plate where human engagement is vital as placing the granules/shredded plastics should be even in order to avoid any major overflow from the travelling tray. For producing one sheet, the process it time consuming, as it takes approximately 3 hrs. From heating to baking time and final cooling. The series of experimentation depended a lot on the way we insert raw materials, the time factor and the even heating throughout the time of baking the sheets.
this is pretty nice!
Amazing work guys! Nice!
Great finish! looks great in bigger sheets.
The results are awesome, nothing to envy to industrial heat presses
I wonder if it’s possible to DIY a MASSIVE heat press!
‘Stormboard‘ is a sheet material exactly like what you’ve made. It’s manufactured by Protomax, a UK company with factories in Belgium and Poland (I think!). They pour plastic chips onto massive heat presses! Check out their YouTube Vids. They also build cool furniture.
Or perhaps instead of building a massive heat press, somebody could build a small press that moves along a conveyor belt type setup, or perhaps plastic chips on a conveyor belt move under the heater, to make infinitely sized sheets!
Basically like a large laminating machine.
Heat press would definitely come in handy when it comes to furniture design or even to help with a bunch of basic housing solutions if you combine it with a beam extruder. Definitely next on the list
We created a medium-sized version of this on the cheap ($45) using old cooking griddles
To create the device we bought two cooking griddles (Amazon link to exact model). One is flipped and placed on top to create two independently heated plates that can be pressed.
The following modifications were made:
The bottom plate is unaltered other than cutting out the top left corner to prevent the top plates electronic housing coming into contact with the bottom heated plate when pressed fully.
The top plate also has this modification to prevent the same happening with the bottom electronics.
The top plate has had all the handles removed and been angle grinded smaller removing the rim of the plate so that it fits snuggly inside the rim of the bottom plate. We then drilled several holes around the outside of the plates, with bolts, nuts and washers that we could tighten with a spanner/wrench once heated to create the pressure.
Fundamentally that is the list of changes. It creates near perfect sheets from most plastic types but the temperature control is not very accurate and we would recommend modifying to use the PID controller and sensors. (Should be easy)
We would also recommend to build/weld a steel rig that can better apply pressure to the plates in the centre without compressing the heating ring as we tend to find the plates bow a little in the centre when placed under high levels of stress.
We are happy to answer any questions. For us, this was our first “PP machine”.
I’m currently building one using electric hobs to create the heat, will show you the progress soon.
I see that a big heatpress takes time to get to the right temperature and consumes a lot of electricity. Now I saw a machine somewhere where they use liquid to heat. When they need to cool down they suck it out. Is there anyone who knows more about this technique?
This is wonderful! I’m hoping to build something similar and hope you can answer some questions!
Any idea of what sort of pressure you are able to exert with that screw mechanism (also, what is it technically called)? Would welding on longer arms (or even just putting pipe over them as “cheater bars”) make sense? Is it even important in your experience?
Do you have an idea of what went wrong with the failure sheets?
What sort of thicknesses have you produced?
Do they seem like they would be viable for building things – furniture, etc…?
Hey man for the past time I have spend some serious time in building heat presses for plastics. The point is that you need a heating surface that makes sure you equally heat the plastic (flakes-granes) equally. If this layer becomes really thick like heating it in a pot (layered 8cm high) the inside will not melt often and the outside wil form a liquid layer closing of the heating of the center/core.
For the pressure you need a serious amount of strength. For this you need a hydraulic press preferably an automatic one! Lets say you want to make a 1 by 1meter sheet you already need a serious amount of pressure, of actually already (very roughly) said 15 tons or higher since you have to divide all the surface to the individual kubic centimeters. Don’t under estimate that a press becomes very heavy in metal parts and power very quickly! If you do manage to build this you can make anything awsome you want! check out Dirk van der Kooij
And definitely Mark bachrach in the community
We are looking into producing sheets from recycled plastic to build houses for the people who have been left homeless by the natural disasters in Indonesia and we are looking for an engineer to help us build a heat press together with a group of local engineers and students as well as electricians and iron workers. Please leave us a message if there is someone interested! Thanks!
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