Polymorph - Custom Neck Joint [Archive] - OSW: One Sixth Warrior Forum

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4dEFCON
06-26-2011, 12:48
After posting a sneak preview of my ‘custom neck joint – in 10 minutes’ earlier last week, I did promise a tutorial if enough people were interested – well, you certainly were interested, so here you go!

Polymorph is a fantastic re-usable thermoplastic that becomes soft and malleable in boiling hot water (60c starts to soften), yet when set, is as hard as nylon. Think of this material as hard as resin cast pieces. You can drill it, machine it, sand it etc… You can also paint it with a variety of paints including acrylics.

It is fantastic stuff for making custom parts with, however be aware it is quite stiff material so it’s not very good for making molds or using as a casting medium, it just will not pick up the fine details. However, it is perfectly suited to technical applications such as making joints, replacement limbs etc…

Polymorph is available from loads of places, including eBay for around 4.99 for 250g which makes quite a lot!

So, to make our neck joint I am using a BBI G1 style body and a poorly painted ‘Roger Moore’ dragon HS.

You will need:

Smooth surface (recommend wooden) chopping board
Glass mixing bowl (easier to see what is going on)
Small tea-spoon (for shaping)
Fork or tongs to remove the material from the water
Large(ish) Philips Screwdriver
Kettle
Water
Knife
And of course, some Polymorph.

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/001.JPG

Begin by boiling the kettle and allowing it to cool for a minute or two before half filling the mixing bowl with hot water. Then add a quantity of Polymorph. It doesn’t matter if you use too much, it’s re-usable remember! You will notice that my Polymorph has been used before, if you’re buying it new it will come in small pellets that when melted resemble fish eggs. You can see that by the time I’d picked the camera up, it had already started to go transparent around the edges.

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/002.JPG

After a few minutes, it will become transparent. Wait until it has entirely gone like this, then using a fork or tongs, fish the material out of the hot water and start to knead it in your hands. Don’t worry, it shouldn’t burn you, but be careful as you squeeze the hot water out of the material.

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/003.JPG

Work the material in your hands and turn it into a small ball like so:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/004.JPG

Then work the material into a ‘sausage’ shape, about the rough dimensions shown below:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/005.JPG

Then using your fingers taper the end slightly as pictured below, at this point it might be starting to harden a little, so don’t worry, just pop it back in the hot water for a minute or two to soften up a little again:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/008.JPG
http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/006.JPG

Now you can start to push the tapered sausage shape into the neck cavity like so:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/007.JPG

Only a certain amount will push in, so if you feel you have too much, cut a little off with a sharp knife/

Again, soften in water if necessary and you can start working the end into a spherical shape using the tea-spoon as pictured. Don’t worry if you mess up, just heat the stuff back up again with some fresh boiling water and start again!

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/011.JPG

At this point you should have something that resembles the following:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/012.JPG

Time to heat the head back up again because you need it as soft as possible to form around the ball-joined neck post on the figure.

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/013.JPG

Using the Philips screwdriver, in a twisting motion make a starter hole about 1cm deep into the Polymorph:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/014.JPG

Now line it up over the ball-joint and gently push it down twisting turn clockwise and then counter-clockwise to work it on easily.

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/015.JPG
http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/016.JPG


Then carefully and slowly remove the neck joint and you should have the following:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/017.JPG

Now using your fingers, slightly (only slightly) close up the hole a little, this ensures for a tighter fit once the material is set. If you find that it is too hard to get the neck joint on once set, you can heat it with a hair-dryer to soften it, or re-dip in hot water.

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/018.JPG

Now, pop it in the fridge and in about 10 minutes it will be set (20 mins to be absolutely sure) and should look something like this:

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/019.JPG

What you will most likely notice is the head is a little bit loose on the ‘plug’ end of the joint we’ve just made. Don’t worry about this, it’s the ball-socket we’re more concerned about. We can always glue the neck joint onto the head-sculpt!

And that is that! (Some other pics below).

http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/020.JPG
http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/021.JPG
http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/022.JPG
http://www.onesixthscale.co.uk/images/misc/023.JPG

Them most important thing to remember is that if you make a mistake, you can either soften it up or start completely again!

If you have any further questions, I’ll answer them as best I can. I hope you found this tutorial interesting and useful. Sorry the photos could have been better, but difficult to do with two hands and hold the item you’re photographing! :)

Take care,

Steve.

uramegak
06-26-2011, 13:16
Great tut!

Now, I just have to find some Polymorph.

Thanks!

praedane
06-26-2011, 13:50
Great tut!

Now, I just have to find some Polymorph.

Thanks!

Here you go:

Polymorph (thermo plastic, Buy 250gram, Get 50g Free) | eBay (http://cgi.ebay.ca/Polymorph-thermo-plastic-Buy-250gram-Get-50g-Free-/270758118903?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f0a7105f7)


I think I'll be ordering some myself!

k9cop33
06-26-2011, 13:55
Thanks alot for the tutorial, really helpful!!!

Ninjadolemite
06-26-2011, 16:05
Excellent mate,

Already got mine off ebay after you posted first time round about it.

time to get to work on a troublesome medicom body.

Wish me luck.

ActionMan
06-26-2011, 18:00
Great tutorial - thank you!

I bought some of Polymorph from Maplins when I was back in the UK 4 years ago. I've used it for all sorts (including moulds to make some 30-round SLR mags) but not for this so I will give it a go.

Scimitar
06-26-2011, 18:21
Very nice tutorial. This is very interesting stuff that has apparently been around for awhile. I'm going to have to get some. After doing a Google search for more information on the product I can think of lots of uses both hobby and non-hobby related. Polymorph seems to be a UK/AU/NZ brand mame for Polycaprolactone also known as PCL.

Polycaprolactone - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycaprolactone)

The Polymorph brand seems to be very hard to find in the US other than from HK sellers on eBay. Other brand names are:

Hand Moldable Plastic Hand Moldable Plastic (http://www.inventables.com/technologies/hand-moldable-plastic)

Mold-Your-Own Grips McMaster-Carr (http://www.mcmaster.com/#catalog/117/3718/=cx6m7p)

InstaMorph InstaMorph - Moldable Plastic (http://www.instamorph.com/)

Shapelock SHAPELOCK (http://shapelock.com/)

Friendly Plastic: AMACO Shopping - Purchase Arts & Crafts and Friendly Plastic Modeling Material products and accessories online! (http://www.amaco.com/shop/category-85-friendly-plastic-modeling-material.html)

Friendly Plastic makes both pellets and metallic colored sticks:

Pellets AMACO Shopping - Purchase Friendly Plastic Modeling Material Friendly Plastic Pellets products and accessories online at AMACO.com! (http://www.amaco.com/shop/product-430-friendly-plastic-pellets.html)

Metallic Sticks AMACO Shopping - Purchase Friendly Plastic Modeling Material Friendly Plastic Metallic Sticks products and accessories online at AMACO.com! (http://www.amaco.com/shop/product-426-friendly-plastic-metallic-sticks.html)

I haven't checked yet but I wonder if this stuff might be found in craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michael's.

The stuff can also be colored using powdered paint:
YouTube - ‪Polymorph Workshop 3 How to add Colour - letsmakerobots‬‏

4dEFCON
06-27-2011, 00:47
Ah thanks there Scimitar for finding the other brand names! That will certainly help all the non-UK readers. The only one I recognise on that list is Instamorph from hearing about it previously. Great stuff.

Ninjadolemite
06-27-2011, 07:22
Gotta say, this stuff is the dogs bollocks!

Just used it to fix the shoulders on my medicom snake, ive tried using milliput and the likes before, but the time it takes to set and stick is just far too long for such a job.

This stuff is so easy to use and its easy to shape it as its softening.

here's a couple of pics...

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/SoopaVillian/Customs/th_100_7802.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v707/SoopaVillian/Customs/?action=view&current=100_7802.jpg)http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/SoopaVillian/Customs/th_100_7801.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v707/SoopaVillian/Customs/?action=view&current=100_7801.jpg)http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v707/SoopaVillian/Customs/th_100_7800.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v707/SoopaVillian/Customs/?action=view&current=100_7800.jpg)

Also did a neck joint and an attempt at making a mold....

On the lookout now for other uses!

4dEFCON
06-27-2011, 11:10
Great job there Ninjadolemite! Handy stuff isn't it? It has so many uses in the 1/6th world - you'll wonder how you ever lived without it! :)

degil88
06-28-2011, 02:21
thanks bro for awesome tutorial, i must try it

Lynkhart
06-29-2011, 18:27
Gah, it really is as easy as you said it was! :o I'll definitely need to bear that in mind for future projects!

boomer
06-29-2011, 18:39
Great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.