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Scored some unobtanium

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  • Scored some unobtanium

    Here are some uncommon items I picked up at the sign shop liquidation.

    This first isn't really unobtainium, just a very good deal for free... All types and colours of Plexiglas from hot fluorescent orange to jet black to clear. I also scored about 50sq feet of lexan in sizes from 1/8 to 3/8ths up to 4' x 4'.

    The next is something I haven't seen before. This is some sort of super dense foam. It's just plain heavy. It's about the same density as softwood and nearly as strong. It cuts super clean with no chipping. I haven't tried to identify it yet. I have around 6 sq feet of it up to 3 inches thick.

    This next is some pretty cool material. It's a composite of a plastic core laminated on both sides with thin aluminum sheet. It is strong like aluminum and light like plastic. Most of the sheets are painted with high gloss white enamel and protected with blue plastic. I have maybe 50 sq feet in various thicknesses as well as different types of core materials. Some of the really thin stuff has a solid core of some kind. It reminds me of the material named "Glare" that is used to build the A-380. Some of it is aluminum laminated 1/2 and 3/4 plywood. I suspect I could use it as ramps for a truck.

    This next is some very unusual black vinyl. The top roll is ordinary gloss black. The bottom roll is also black in ordinary lighting. But, it is also a retro-reflector and when lighted in line with your vision it lights up.

    I scored quite a few other items including some very fancy vinyls and a Paasche micro sand blaster. I paid for some of the items but most were free. Oh yeah, I picked up three new neon sign transformers for $10.

    Now I have to figure out some sort of organized storage for this stuff.
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  • #2
    Nice score. I picked up some acrylic sheet a while ago. Several pieces about two feet wide and I thought 8 ft long- turns out one was 16 ft long. I had to hack it in half and still had trouble getting it in the van.

    That foam looks interesting. Must be a specialty application for it-
    I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-


    • #3
      You should look at the priced of the fluorescent acrylic. Plain nuts... But really fun with a laser cutter.

      I cant remember what the foam is called. We use it at work. Kind of a machinable foam.

      I dont know if I would use the aluminum laminated plywood for a ramp. To darn slick. You will be flat on your face before you know it! I suppose you could put some grip tape on it.

      The retroreflective vinyl is made by 3M. Called scotchlite.


      • #4
        The foam is most probably a PU foam made by these guys or similar Its generally carved and/or routered then sealed and painted, its used for 3D signs.


        • #5
          I figured as much by the properties. I plan on trying some in my milling machine.

          As for the retroreflective material I am well accquainted with Scotchlite. I didn't know that they had a visually black type. It's a pretty neat trick because it makes it possible to hide reflectors except when needed. I'm going to use some to make IR markers in the field of view of my security cameras.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


          • #6
            Dangerous stuff!

            Unobtanium is dangerous stuff. The danger lies in finding a perfect application or use for it, and then discovering that you don't have enough to build more than one, or worse, getting almost finished with your project and running out, and discovering that it is genuine unobtanium and you can't get any more, or it is so ruinously expensive that you can only dream of affording it.

            Never mind building the perfect project and bringing it to the forum, and counciling others to build your highly desireable and useful perfect project, only to find that anyone else attempting to build the project stands inches away from completion with the necessary unobtamium tantalizingly just out of reach, earning you their undying emnity.

            Your project is relegated to the category of unreproducable results.

            Dangerous stuff.
            Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
            ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


            • #7
              Hi Evan:

              That dense gray foam looks like what we call "minicell" foam. It's used extensively in canoe/kayak outfitting for seat pedestals and knee blocks etc. Doesn't absorb water, can be glued with Vinabond or contact cement. Machines well but grabs sometimes. Most shape it with a bandsaw.

              Not cheap either.

              My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."


              • #8
                What,no Cantaffordium alloy in the deal?

                That foam is great stuff for making short run casting patterns.
                Last edited by wierdscience; 03-28-2011, 09:47 AM.
                I just need one more tool,just one!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by bob ward
                  The foam is most probably a PU foam made by these guys or similar Its generally carved and/or routered then sealed and painted, its used for 3D signs.

                  The laminated plastic with the thin aluminum is also for signs.

                  *edit* reading the very first sentence I realize you probably already knew this stuff was all for signs. lol


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by macona
                    ....The retroreflective vinyl is made by 3M. Called scotchlite.
                    .... and pretty expensive also.
                    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"


                    • #11
                      Tool board?

                      My plastics prototyping neightbour has what looks to be a very similar foam to yours although it is a bit redder in colour, if your photo colour is correct.

                      His is made in Germany and is used extensively on the CNC mill as prototype fodder. It mills very nicely but can kick up a fine dust!


                      • #12
                        The first thing I thought of was modeling board when I saw the pictures of the dense foam board you found. Here is a place near where I live that carries similar materials.

                        "Work hard. Tell everyone everything you know. Close a deal with a handshake. Have fun!"

                        -- Harold "Doc" Edgerton


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by vpt
                          The laminated plastic with the thin aluminum is also for signs.
                          And for mounting photographic prints, as described here:

                          Evan, maybe your daughter could use it for mounting a giant photo for your wall.
                          Allan Ostling

                          Phoenix, Arizona


                          • #14
                            I also snagged 4 x 4' x 8' sheets of foam board for mounting prints at $8 per sheet. Also got 2 sq metres of ruby red windshield tint which will be excellent for making red light only filters for the windows of my truck for use at star parties. They get really bent out of shape if you show a white light at night. I go so far as unplugging my headlights so there is no chance of them being turned on. The come on automatically when the engine is started because daytime running lights are mandatory here.

                            I am also looking forward to trying the micro sand blaster. It should be excellent for model building and erasing painting errors, which is what it is for.

                            It's a modified Paasche VL-1 airbrush.

                            This is some of the cool sign vinyl I got.

                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here