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Tymtravler
11-26-2007, 07:09 AM
I am interested in building a custom exterior body shell for my robot. I was wondering if anyone has had any luck with poured resin or plastic molds. I have seen a few things on the internet, however it seems you have to get into alot of hardware before you can even start. I started making a white styrofoam shell that is easy to form however it would not hold up with prolonged use, I was going to put a skim coat of auto body putty over it that would give me a finished and paintable shell. But this would increase the weight of the robot and I want to keep it light. Any suggestions would be great. :)

LLRB

Tymtravler

JonHylands
11-26-2007, 10:35 AM
Look into vacuum forming - you can build a mold with styrofoam, and then use a vacuum former to make a lightweight strong thin shell of clear Lexan or whatever they make them from these days.

Most R/C cars use shells like that...

- Jon

Alex
11-26-2007, 03:37 PM
I agree, vacuum forming is the easiest and probably most cost effective way to go. There should be plenty of local shops around you that'd be willing to work with you. Just build your own mold though, else they'll charge you an arm and a leg.

I took quite a few plastics courses way back in high school, and from what I remember, making a shell like what you're talking about with resin molds would be a pain in the ass. Pours are not really meant for that sort of thing. They're meant more for encasing rather than shelling (is that even the right term?).

If you have access to it, fiberglass can be really fun; Expensive, but REALLY fun:)

kdwyer
11-26-2007, 04:51 PM
I'm partial to the shiny metal look myself. At a local hobby store, with a focus on model trains, I've got nice thin sheets of aluminum. They even stock up to 3/32 thick, which is pretty darn stiff. The thinner sheets are light and strong enough to hold shape, and will look great when I get around to making a shell. I don't have a brake (metal tool for making good crisp bends) but I'll figure something out. Standard tin snips for cutting to size, and some large diameter pipe (PVC plastic for making smooth curved bends), and a drill with some sheet metal screws pretty much covers the tools. Perfect for that retro '50s boxy robot look. Also makes a good mount for LEDs.