Fig 1. Dennis, Natasha. “Sorting + Shredding Plastic” Vimeo. n.d. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://vimeo.com/235132404
Prior to sorting and melting the plastic it was essential to first research the material safety data sheet (MSDS) and apply a risk assessment for working with HDPE and LDPE plastics. Considerations for workshop include:
- PPE must be worn at all times, leather gloves, eye protection, filter mask, apron.
- Melting and machining plastic within an exhausted booth to allow for good ventilationin case of harmful fumes.
- Dust and off cuts are collected with vacuum whilst working to ensure material does not enter environment.
- Melting plastic well below 300 degrees Celsius.
Initializing an environmental waste processing system will take some time so, I would first like to a experiment with different effects and shapes I can create with the plastic waste collected from my family home. I will begin experimenting with high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE).
Fig 2. Dennis, Natasha. “Melting #1” Vimeo. n.d. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://vimeo.com/235131431
- Sort plastic into different categories (the different types of plastic will not be mixed to ensure re-recycling at the end of the products life)
- Shred plastic down into finer pieces making sure to remove glue and paper residue (making re-fusing more successful).
- Place shredded plastic in a mould with weight applied to the top.
- Place mould in heat source.
- Once melted remove mould from heat and allow plastic to cool.
Fig 3. Dennis, Natasha. “Melting #2” Vimeo. n.d. Accessed October 23, 2017. https://vimeo.com/235131164
Initially I would have liked to use an oven source to melt the plastic, however I was provided with a microwave to use within the workshop. The first issue I had was with the plastic sticking to the glass as it melted which I tried to rectify with a release agent, second, was that microwaves do not work at heating the plastic to the point of re-fusing.
Moving forward I will need to source a different type of heat source which will resolve the issue. However, looking at the parts that did fuse, the piece gives an insight into the great textures I can create when the melt is right.