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Unread 03-03-2013, 09:38 PM   #1
firecrackthis
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question about thermo plastics

I originally asked this over in the general construction forum but was suggested to try here sooooo i've been researching materials for the costume i'm working on currently when i came across this stuff called thermo plastics - Wonderflex and Worbla. other than the price what's the difference between the two??
it looks fairly easy to work with, anyone who has experience with these materials care to give some input?
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Unread 03-03-2013, 09:45 PM   #2
Millions_Knives
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there are lots of fun thermo plastics
PVC
ABS
polystyrene
would these be something youd be interested in?
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Unread 03-03-2013, 11:13 PM   #3
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I've yet to work with either of them, but from what I understand, Worbla and Wonderflex are pretty similar. You work with them the same way pretty much, but Wonderflex has a rough, fabric texture to it whereas I believe Worbla is smooth enough to paint directly on. Here'a video demonstration of Worbla by Kamui Cosplay, and another video of hers showing how to use Wonderflex.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 11:14 AM   #4
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"Thermoplastics" are just any substance that softens and becomes pliable once heated above some temperature.

I haven't worked with Warbla, but from what I know, it is quite a bit different from Wonderflex.

Wonderflex is basically High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), the stuff plastic milk jugs are made from, with a fiber backing. The backing is sorta like a layer of cheesecloth, only with a lower threadcount. It serves both as structural reinforcement, and to keep any one portion of the sheet from stretching too thin.

Warbla is a different set of plastics that has a lower softening temperature. It seems to behave a little more like wax. Based on its appearance, I wouldn't be surprised if high-temperature microcrystalline wax was a major component. You can heat up scraps of it and squish it together, effectively recycling the stuff. Without some tests, I'd be concerned about using it for structural pieces, especially on hot sunny days. I suspect it's better suited to be used for adding decorative aspects that lie overtop of sturdier materials.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 12:12 PM   #5
firecrackthis
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Cool!
and thanks for the info... video links were quite helpful too. i like the idea of sandwiching the craft foam between the 2 pieces of plastic seems like it'd be sturdier, however i'm not using it to make a complete prop just yet (although i'm sure i will be sometime soon!)
right now im just using it for some detailing on a prop im making

and just for future reference anyone know if just body heat is enough to start warping it? im thinking of making a gauntlet/vambrace type piece out of it for another costume. but if its going to start warping after a day wearing it at a con i think i might try another material for that particular piece.

thanks for now
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Unread 03-04-2013, 12:42 PM   #6
AbsoluteApril
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firecrackthis View Post
Cool!
and just for future reference anyone know if just body heat is enough to start warping it? im thinking of making a gauntlet/vambrace type piece out of it for another costume. but if its going to start warping after a day wearing it at a con i think i might try another material for that particular piece.

thanks for now
No, body heat is not enough to warp it, the wonderflex needs to be 150-170 degrees to shape. Also, do not try to shape the wonderflex directly on your body, it's quite hot! I use a heat gun (wall paper stripper) to shape mine. There is a great FAQ at cosplaysupplies here: http://www.cosplaysupplies.com/tutorials/wonderflex

I'm currently making armor from craft foam sandwhiched in wonderflex (based on Kamui's tutorial), it's very strong and durable, I've dropped a few pieces standing up and there is no damage.

good luck!
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Unread 03-05-2013, 01:58 AM   #7
Inertiaticc
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i've used wonderflex for a few cosplay pieces. i just got in some worbla and i'm really looking forward to trying it. it seems a lot more versatile than wonderflex. wf has the mesh that helps its durability but it can also interfere with working with it. i've also had some issues with wonderflex unsticking from itself when using the foam method, with the foam between two wf pieces. that's probably due to my own mistakes though.

worbla seems to be able to be used for a lot more. others mentioned kamui using it, her work with it convinced me to try it. i like that she can use it to directly form the cups for her chest pieces, since thats where almost all my construction issues are. check out lightning cosplay's facebook page too, she just made these awesome skull pieces by shaping them out of clay first and then using worbla on them.
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