Flexible Thinking: The Wonderful World of Mouldable Plastics


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When things break, our first instinct is to replace them, or throw them away. Anything more complex than changing a fuse or sewing a button has become a thing of the past.

Fortunately, there’s a number of people trying to buck this trend. Sugru and Formcard are two products empowering people to fix all the broken items in their lives.

Sugru is far from the new kid on the block. With a range of colours and bundles, it’s established a thriving community and a range of uses. Describing itself as ‘mouldable glue,’ it’s a playdough-like material that can be squashed, rolled and moulded into whatever shape you need. It comes in a sealed packet, and once opened the material inside solidifies into a robust silicone material. Waterproof and insulating, it can be used to install bathroom fittings, repair wiring, and even customise toys and gadgetry.

Indeed, what’s interesting is how Sugru can be used to augment or improve things that aren’t necessarily broken. One of our favourite uses for the material is adding bumpers to your phone to protect it from harm.

Sugru can be moulded into practically any shape that's required of it. Image source: Sugru

Sugru can be moulded into practically any shape that’s required of it. Image source: Sugru

However, it looks like Sugru might have some serious competition very soon. British designer Peter Marigold has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for FORMcard, a piece of reusable bioplastic.

For on-the-go fixes, Peter Marigold’s FORMcard is sure to turn some heads. Each FORMcard consists of a sheet of plastic that softens when immersed in hot water. Once softened, the material can be quickly moulded into any shape that’s required: the Kickstarter campaign shows it being used to repair broken tools, create an impromptu phone stand, or even fashion a makeshift spanner. The FORMcard solidifies as it cools, and can be resoftened in water if it’s ever needed for something else. It’s designed to be easy to use and portable like Blu-Tak or Sellotape: other mouldable plastics exist, but may be tricky to use quickly, cleanly or effectively.

FORMcard is designed as an easy-to-use form of mouldable plastic. Image courtesy of Peter Marigold

FORMcard is touted as an easy-to-use mouldable plastic. Image courtesy of Peter Marigold

There are some downsides to each one. Sugru’s modelling clay aesthetic makes using it an appealing prospect, and the website shows off its many applications. However, each pack has a use-by date, and once the plastic cures, it can’t be melted down or easily used again. Similarly, Formcard’s credit card format means it’s easy to use, but the need for hot water might make it a little messy or impractical for certain tasks. And while different colours of Sugru can be mixed together, it’s not clear if something similiar can be accomplished with FORMcard. This might be a issue if you find the colour too garish.

Still, these are minor complaints in otherwise great products, and we wish Peter every success with his Kickstarter campaign! Check out the Sugru website here, and take a look at Peter’s Kickstarter campaign, which concludes on Sunday the 6th of December.

(Header image courtesy of Peter Marigold)

 

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