I received an email this morning from a friendly fellow Australian named Keith. He had googled his way to a short post on my site Jaymis.com looking for a source of Friendly Plastic/Shapelock/Polymorph in Australia. After a couple of emails back and forth I figured out that he’s Keith from plasq/Comic Life/Rax, and he figured out that I’m Jaymis from CDMu/CDMo, but we still didn’t have an Australian source for useful thermoplastics.

Update!: Paul wrote in to tell us that he’s found a source of polymorph in Australia, at the soldergeekly favourite Jaycar! It’s reasonably expensive at $10/100g, but the material is infinitely reusable, and if you have an ABN you can get it through Jaycar’s wholesaler, Electus.

How is this relevant for CDMu readers? Well if you’re able to browse a few pages of CDM stories tagged “DIY” and not end up with a brain full of custom controller ideas, then you must have a much more focussed brain than I do. I’ve been working on a more visually focussed prototype, and as I couldn’t get my hands on any thermoplastics I ended up using casting resin.

LEDs and ocean-ground glass embedded in casting resin

Resin gives you a very pretty result but it’s not much fun to work with. Unless, of course, you enjoy inhaling noxious fumes, getting dizzy and spending the rest of the afternoon on the sofa with a headache (I’ve purchased a proper fume mask for my next batch). For a prototype it’s way too time consuming and permanent, so I’m still looking around for thermoplastics. The fact that Keith found my site and has had similar troubles locating any in Australia indicates that there may well be others out there in our situation.

So if there are any Australian readers who can help us find please hit the comments. If you’re also looking for this stuff leave a comment too and we’ll notify you when we’re successful in tracking some down.

Ed: I definitely want to make sure Jaymis gets some of this stuff in Australia because then he and I can work on DIY projects using it and share the results with you loyal CDMers! I’m also interested in hearing if any of you know about this material or alternative materials and want to tell us about your experiences with it, so non-Australians, please hit comments, too! -PK

  • keith

    Well, I did a bit more research on the web. This is all just google info so far, and I'll talk to my local bunch when they wake up, but essentially it seems that shapelock is reselling a plastic called polycaprolactone – of which there are different types – heat vs rigidity etc. (I'm no chemist!).

    As far as I can tell, there are two companies which make this stuff, one is solvay, a UK company, http://www.solvaycaprolactones.com/docroot/capro/

    They sell the stuff in 20kg bags, and it goes for USD $9 a kilo, which is a lot cheaper if you can find some friends who need some too. They also advertise a 1kg free sample if you get 'your courier company' to pick it up.

    The other is the reasonably well known DOW corp, who are all over the world. Apparently Dow's 'TONE P-767' is the stuff which shapelock resell.

    So I'm yet to get my hands on this stuff, but I'll let people know when i do.

    This stuff looks pretty damn good. It's re-usable, biodegradable, FDA approved and strong enough to drill.

  • keith

    Well, a little update,

    I called my local Dow office, and the (really nice) people there said they usually sell stuff in 200kg drums! but maybe a 'sample' could be arranged – if they have it in stock in australia.

  • keith

    well, at the risk of creating my own soloquay, Dow has got back to me in Oz and said they don't stock it here. any other ideas people??

  • Rozling

    These guys in the UK sell Polymorph and ship to Australia, but it'll cost you…

    Product Page:
    http://www.mutr.co.uk/prodDetail.aspx?prodID=576

  • Rozling

    This eBay store ships worldwide:
    http://stores.ebay.com/Consilium-Designs-Ltd

    - and I didn't really look around much so there's probably others. Happy hunting!

  • phlavor

    I've never personally worked with the stuff (or any of this sort for that matter) but at the Make Magazine Maker's Fair I saw a demo of Alumilite that was very impressive. I checked and they do appear to have an Australian distributor. I hope this helps.

    Alumilite
    http://www.alumilite.com/

    International Distributor Page
    http://www.alumilite.com/index.php?page=dealers_I

    Australian Distributor
    http://www.cardstone.com/

  • Adam

    HEllo,

    I am looking for this stuff as well cuz i have a few DIY projects i love to do, I found this ebay seller which sells the same stuff,

    http://search.ebay.com.au/_W0QQfgtpZ1QQfrppZ25QQs

    hope this will help you guys :)

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  • http://instamorph.com Brian

    I don't know how much it costs to ship stuff from Amazon.com to Australia, but this might be a good option:

    http://www.amazon.com/InstaMorph-Moldable-Plastic

  • Plastimake

    Just a quick heads up, we’re now selling Polycaprolactone in Australia under the brand name Plastimake. Check out our site: http://www.plastimake.com

    We’re posting new example uses on our site every day – yesterday we posted some photos that a customer sent in of the ergonomic stands he had made for the various gadgets in his music production studio.

    Hopefully you’ll find this useful, get in touch if you have any questions!