The 3rd Dimension – So little to say and so much time!!!

(Not So) ABS Sludge…
November 9, 2009, 7:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Update Nov 09th, 2009:

This post is outdated due to the fact I found out that Mega Bloks are made out of Polystyrene and NOT ABS plastic. So much for inference. Apparently ABS is a close  cousin of sorts to polystyrene (both have styrenes) and I infer (though I may be wrong again) that any styrene based plastic will melt in acetone. Polyethelene I guess is a bastard cousin since it’s unaffected by acetone at all. Given what we know above the following post refers to making Polystyrene sludge or what I like calling it – “WTF Sludge” – as I mixed Megabloks, Enlighten, and KNEX bricks and god knows what all of those are made of. Megabloks is confirmed Polystyrene. K’nex rods and such are from googling made out of “a proprietary brand of acetyl copolymer”. Enlighten chinese bricks not even god knows what they’re made of since they’re the Chinese brand.

As I continue to collect lego’s I must find a use for those ever annoying clones of lego bricks such as Mega Bloks, K’nex Bricks, Enlighten bricks, cheap mexican building blocks, etc… that show up every so often. One very interesting method I run across while looking for a way to melt the ABS plastic so that I can use it for other strange things. The most promising is “ABS Sludge”. Apparently this was one hack by car enthusiasts to replace broken plastic in their cars. You mix simple pure 100% acetone with ABS plastic and keep it sealed and as long as it is sealed the acetone will chemically “melt” the ABS plastic into a goo which you can apply onto surfaces. Once the ABS sludge is exposed to air the acetone starts evaporating quickly and eventually it will dry forming a plastic chemical weld if you will. The remaining acetone in the sludge will melt the plastic you are welding it to if it’s the right type slightly and chemiaclly bond with it – then when the acetone evaporates the sludge should harden again forming a chemical weld that’s as strong as if you’ve made one solid plastic piece.

As an experiment I wanted to see if my lego clone bricks would work so I took a sample of a Mega Blok, a Knex brick, an enlighten chinese military brick, and a cheap mexican dollar store brick and put them into a cup and swiped some simple nail polish (not pure acetone) onto each one. 4 hours later I checked them.

Mega Blok, Knex, Enlighten – all started to dissolve and chip – mega blok being the softest then a tie between Knex and Enlighten. We can be sure Mega is at least made of mostly ABS plastic and the other two being so also or mostly.
Cheap mexican brick – NO MELT. Damnit these are the worst. If it wasn’t enough that they did NOT fit onto ANY OTHER BRICK except their own they can’t even be melted down to form ABS sludge. I guess these bricks are made out of something other than ABS plastic (which I hear is the most expensive – most durable plastic airsoft guns use ABS plastic – that gives me an idea – actually none of my plastic guns have broke only the metal ones 😦 )

The uses of ABS sludge seem promising though. One I am planning on is using the sludge to weld a lego axle holder to a 5$ 24,000 or more rpm electronic supermotor to use in some lego electronic creations. broom broom!!! Yes I know lego has geared down motors but if you do research they have LOTS of internal friction. As for my own testing I put up one of their oldest 2400 or so RPM motors against their new Power Functions XL motor which supposedly has more torque in my 1 to 65,000 lego geartrain. The old motor spun the geartrain’s last wheel’s FASTER than the XL motor. The XL motor uses most of it’s power as internal friction during it’s gear down process so the older motor is indeed more efficient. The XL motors are still good though if you can’t fit a huge drivetrain in your creation. Sadly though I find the XL gear power ratio compared to the old motor is only about 12.5 times more torque (between 5 and 25 in my tests) since it could spin the 5 to 1 gear but not the 25 to 1 gear next to it (whole drivetrain is 8 tooths driving 40 tooth gears).


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