Polymorph, The Next Best Thing to Plywood for Building Robots

Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,348
edited 2015-09-24 - 15:17:06 in Robotics
I mentioned using Polymorph in another thread and was asked about its properties. I made this video to show some Polymorph's properties and some of the techniques of using Polymorph I've come up with.

My camera kept stopping as I filmed. I thought when the camera stopped the video it had taken up to that point would be saved. It wasn't. So when I mention a previous portion of the video, I assumed I'd be able to post the earlier section.



In the missing portion, I mentioned learning about Polymorph (or Shape Lock) from Crabfu. I also mentioned Gareth's great tutorials on Let's Make Robots.

I'll add links to these and other Polymorph tutorials in the future (I don't have time right now).

I'm going to reserve three other posts for adding additional links, picture and videos.

Please feel free to post your own links to tutorials you like about how to use Polymorph. I'm also hoping people will include links to cool Polymorph projects.

Polymorph Sources:
SparkFun 250g
SpakFun 1,000g

Tutorials:
Gareth's LMR Tutorials
Making Trivots
Polymorph Finger or Scorpion Tail
Adding Color

Making and using sheets of Polymorph (pdf)

Edit (24 September, 2015): Gareth's tutorials are no long at Let's Make Robots (LMR). Many of LMR members have left and the content created by these members has been deleted.

Comments

  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,348
    edited 2012-11-19 - 14:05:21
    Hrre are a couple of pictures of the landing gear I made for my hexacopter.

    attachment.php?attachmentid=97103&d=1353200877

    attachment.php?attachmentid=97102&d=1353200859

    I'll take some pictures of the mold and upload them later.
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,348
    edited 2012-11-19 - 14:05:46
    Reserved for other Shape Lock stuff.
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,348
    edited 2012-11-19 - 14:06:41
    Last one reserved.
  • ercoerco Posts: 19,798
    edited 2012-11-19 - 14:25:34
    Cool landing gear, period.

    That said, wouldn't one made from medium-heavy music wire (same general shape) work as well and perhaps be even lighter?
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,348
    edited 2012-11-19 - 14:48:26
    erco wrote: »
    Cool landing gear, period.

    That said, wouldn't one made from medium-heavy music wire (same general shape) work as well and perhaps be even lighter?

    ProbablyMaybe. I think I was in a "plastics" frame of mind when trying to decide what I wanted. The ELEV-8 has plastic landing gear so I was thinking "inside the box" and looking for something similar.

    Now that I think about the music wire option, I don't think I like it any better than plastic. Music wire seems more likely to "poke" someone on something. I can lean my hexacopter against the wall without worrying it will scratch the wall with these plastic gear. I think I'd have to be more careful if I had used music wire. (Even with scratch safe landing gear, my wife still want me to find a different storage location, than the living room, for the hexacopter.)
  • Martin_HMartin_H Posts: 4,050
    edited 2012-11-20 - 10:51:03
    Cool video Duane. I've been curious about polymorph, but fabrication techniques using hobby plywood and sheet metal are more familiar to me.

    Can you use polymorph to take impressions of parts? For example melt it and then embed a motor shaft or servo spline into it? I could see that as a handy way to join wheels to motors or servos.
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,348
    edited 2012-11-20 - 11:14:19
    Martin_H wrote: »
    Can you use polymorph to take impressions of parts? For example melt it and then embed a motor shaft or servo spline into it?
    Yes, you'd probably want to make sure the Polymorph was really soft in order to capture the detail.

    I mentioned "canned air" in the video. What I didn't say was I used the canned air upside down to cool the Polymorph really fast. It might be useful to cool an impression quickly so the Polymorph's own weight didn't deform it as it cooled.
    Martin_H wrote: »
    I could see that as a handy way to join wheels to motors or servos.

    I've used it to attach Lego gears to servo horns. I don't recall ever using it to attach a wheel, though I think that's a great application for Polymorph.

    Polymorph binds really well to some plastics. So well that you may never be able to completely separate the two plastics again. I avoid using it on plastics I might want to use in other ways in the future. The small blue servos from HobbyKing uses a plastic that seems to merge with the Polymorph.
  • rwgast_logicdesignrwgast_logicdesign Posts: 1,464
    edited 2012-11-21 - 11:12:11
    Great video thanks a bunch for making this, love the apron!!

    Im wondering if im missing something though, you mention sugaru in your video.. these products arent the same at all right, sugaru drys in a soft flexy silicon style right? I mean you couldnt use it to make these landing gears right?
  • Duane DegnDuane Degn Posts: 10,348
    edited 2012-11-21 - 13:04:30
    Great video thanks a bunch for making this, love the apron!!

    What do you say when your significant other (wife in my case) asks if you want your name embroidered on your lab apron with her new sewing machine? "Yes, dear, that would be great!" I now have three aprons with "Duane" embroidered on them, each with a different font (and color). One is in glow-in-the-dark thread.

    Suru isn't as flexible as silicon sealant. I'm not sure how it compare to Polymorph in flexibility but I think I could have used it to make these landing gear. I might have needed to adjust the thickness of the landing gear if I had used Sugru.

    I don't see many examples of Sugru use where the Sugru is unsupported. The closest thing I could find to free formed Sugru was this ring mounted on a pepper mill.

    Most of the examples I see with Sugru uses very small amounts of the stuff. Probably since it's relatively expensive.

    I'm sure these landing gear would have cost much more to make if I had made them with Sugru.

    I think a combination of music wire and Sugru would probably work well.
  • davejamesdavejames Posts: 4,014
    edited 2012-11-22 - 08:07:28
    Duane - thanks for posting about this polymorph stuff. I would have never heard about it otherwise. :thumb:
  • TigerTiger Posts: 105
    edited 2012-12-13 - 02:53:39
    Duane - Awesome video. Never heard of that stuff. Thanks for sharing!

    ...Tiger
  • GarethGareth Posts: 278
    edited 2013-02-07 - 07:01:40
    Here are a few more tricks........ yes i swear by the stuff.

    How to "Glow" your own polymorph :-

    PolyMorph extrusion techniques (featuring yours truly) :-

    Polymorph Playlist :-
    [video]
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