I have been working with thermoplastic smithing in parallel with producing double knots... As I cut the cases for the synthesizers from sheets of HDPE I am thinking about working with this material and what it means. The more I think about it, cutting the stuff is like pushing a ssslllooowwwlllyyy moving liquid (especially in the heat of summer) endlessly mutable for sure. Having studied sculpture in school some professors learned us to "read materials" as signs in themselves, the medium IS the message. Infinite mutablility of material form and soundsynthesis. Anyway, I got the idea that I would save some chips from the sheet cutting process to be recycled later into other forms, not sure yet what forms but I started saving. I then got married to the idea of an injection molder to experiment with the authority of one of the most prevalent manufacturing techniques and to see if I could know what it's all about... I did a lot of research online and found some different ideas about manual press injection molders, melting temps for the stuff, and saftey info about working plastics. I surfed mcmaster to get my aluminum tube and plunger material and went to ebay for 1.5" band heaters, got a closed loop heating controller from amazon and so built a heated aluminum tube syringe. Pictured below after having tested the heating controller and plunged some small logs from the syringe with a temporary copper loop to retain the two pieces. I needed some way to administer force to the plunger so I gripped from harbor freight in exchange for legal tender a 1ton arbor press and tapped a hole in the end of the rack gear for to the plunger to thread. While I was in the harbor freight I also bought a plastic deadblow hammer. Two-by-Fours (one-and-a-half-by-threes) with glue and carriage bolts will make a stand for the press. A scrappy machine is taking form for testing the idea of reconfiguring plastic waste material from cutting high density polyethylene. Essentially the CNC machine, as its cutting the plastic, has the double duty of being a plastic shredder! The investigation of this complementary additive process to the initial subtractive process may turn to be a quagmire but I will have to find out ! I am too curious about this process which churns endless plastic tchotchkes and lawnchairs.


Will