Casting Plastic Parts for Robots

Chuck McManis

July 21, 2002



If you are building robots, large or small, you generally have two choices in terms of supplies. 

First you can go with a toy/hobby "kit" such as the Lego Mindstorms robot kits or the Robotix robot kits.  Then you can build robots based on parts that the designers of the kits thought up.

Second you can build your own, and in that case you need to be a bit creative in what you use to build your robots...

Enter Plastic Casting

This is where plastic casting comes in handy. 

Most small robots are already made out of plastic but tooling up a mold is expensive and daunting. Plus if you don't need a zillion of something it seems kind of like a waste. However, if you don't have access to a machine shop and you'd like to make something with some complexity, casting can be a solution. Make your "part" out of clay, create a mold for it, and then cast a plastic version. Since most people learn to play with clay at the age of 5 (or whenever you stop eating what you touch :-) its usually something you're comfortable doing. 

Initial Impressions 

This page describes my initial investigation using a cool plastic called "Alumilite" and the Super Casting Kit that you can buy from the Alumilite corporation. Read More ...

Making Better Wheels

Of course if you read the previous page you know that my first "wheel" didn't look very wheel like. I changed the initial mold and my second go was much better. Read More ...

Making New Switch Handles

Let's say you want to buy switches that have handles like an old PDP-8. Impossible? Not quite. Bob Armstrong has put so much effort into creating the front panel, I had to see if I could help him out with some switch paddles. Read More ...

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