How to make a fuzzy caterpillar bracelet with a 3-D pen
Note: This project requires adult supervision and is not intended as kids project as it involves the use of power tools and heat guns. Always be sure to use the appropriate safety equipment such as safety glasses and dust mask.
So first we start with a piece of 2 inch ABS or PVC pipe.
For presentation purposes, I'm showing how to make an adult size bracelet.
You cut the pipe into the desired width , in this case 1 inch. I prefer to use a bandsaw with a miter gauge so that my cuts are even but a handsaw and a steady hand may work just as well. You then make a single cut in the pipe as shown above.
And then heat the pipe section opposite the cut, making sure not to overheat as it usually only takes a few seconds. A heat gun works well for this part of the project, but an open flame torch may also work as long as you do not allow the flame to contact the plastic. Then use a 2 x 4 to hold it open while it cools and hardens into the shape you want. This would be adjusted for making smaller sizes by using a thinner board. In the case of children sizes you may not need to make the cut all and simply heat the pipe so that you can give it a more oval shape. You can use different size pipe or different thicknesses depending on your desired finish results and the sizes you're trying to create. Both ABS and PVC pipes can be obtained at your local hardware store. Keep in mind that as you are working with ABS plastic filament the ABS pipe may work better for adhesion than the PVC.
After the bracelet blank is the correct shape that you want you can then sand away any sharp edges. I prefer to use a Dremel tool with a sanding bit. It is at this point if you're using PVC you may also want to rough the surface of the PVC so the filament will stick better, this is of course optional.
I found that when I was extruding filament I had to first use the tip of the pen (nib) to melt a little bit of the pipe before I began extruding filament. Then working in a small circular motion to make sure the base of the bristle was firmly affixed to the bracelet blank I extruded a small amount of filament. I then extruded about half the length of bristle, then take my finger off the feed button still pulling the pen away slowly so bristle will harden into the desired shape. The end of the bristle will be very thin and will give the bracelet a fuzzy feel. I repeat this until I have the desired number of bristles for the bracelet. The PVC bracelet on the right has the bristles trimmed so that the bristles are even length, but trimming I found made the bristles more prickly so I guess it depends on the look and feel that you're trying to make. Personally I like the soft feel of the bracelet that wasn't trimmed.
The one nice thing about owning a 3-D pen is that if any of the bristles should break they can be easily repaired or replaced. The finished product should look something similar to what we have here.
Whether you're a maker, burner, techno-geek, or just a kid at heart, I'm sure you can have a lot of fun with making and using these bracelets.
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