James Britt

Maximum R&D

Upcoming stuff: Leap Motion; polymer clay and thermoplastics

January 2013

I’m in the Leap Motion developer program; I received my device a few weeks ago and it is very slick.

I’ve been writing some Leap code using JRuby, exploring some ideas. I’m planning an EBook on Leap Motion hacking with JRuby as well.

On Thursday, January 31, I’ll be giving a demo at the Phoenix Ableton Live user group.

I’ve also been playing around with assorted polymer clay and plastics.

Sculpey is a brand of polymer clay. This is stuff that’s soft and pliable at room temperature, but when heated for a period of a time it solidifies. It’s quite handy for making vinyl art toys as well as holders and cases for assorted electronics.

G+ plus post showing the first thing I made; I’ve since glued the missing hand back on.

I first got some “Super Scuply III” which when baked becomes really quite solid. Then I learned of some of the other kinds of Sculpey and got some Sculpey Premo. This is the coolness because when baked it retains some flexibility. This works much better if you’re making, say, an enclosure for a smart phone ( or the Leap Motion) so you can mount it someplace.

There’s also InstaMorph and Instant Mold

It’s a polyester thermoplastic, kinda-sorta like Sculpey but kinda-sorta in reverse. It’s a hard (though somewhat flexible) plastic at room temperature but soft and pliable when heated. This is also very useful for making holders and cases (and art toys). Unlike Sculpey, though, it’s reusable. Drop it into some hot water and it gets all goopy again. The downside: molding hot plastic is awkward.

There are are few people in the Phoenix area doing interesting things with polymer clay and thermoplastic, and at the next Tiny Army meeting (Wednesday, February 6 at 6pm, Art Institute of Phoenix) I’ll be part of a show-and-tell presentation on uses and techniques. You should come if for no other reason than to learn about kit bashing