Plastic Welding Workshop

We have been told that 3d printing was supposed to revolutionize manufacturing.  It has done nothing of the sort, of course.  A 3d printer costs a lot of money, breaks constantly, and requires specialized software with a steep learning curve to use.  Furthermore, it uses expensive plastic (relatively speaking) which must be constantly re-bought to keep running the 3d printer, and the products created often have limited functionality, with holes and roughness that prevent them from being used for containers that can reliably hold liquid.  And once a part has been printed, there is not viable way to "edit" that part after printing to change it as needed for new use or to repair it.  In other words, 3d printing has all the disadvantages of modern manufacturing(expensive, designed to be thrown away, requires extensive expertise) without any of the advantages (it doesn't scale, quality is poor).  

Hand-welded HDPE plastic (the stuff milk bottles are made of) offers an alternative which is more of a craft than a technology.  The only tools required are tweezers, a candle, some basic art supplies, and imagination.  The things you can make this way include a huge range of interesting 3d art, electronics enclosures, practical tubes and chambers for fluids of various kinds, containers for various objects, simple machines, decorative coverings for other projects, etc. etc.  I have been using it to make the spool for wire coils in the trash-built motors i've been developing which I'll bring some examples of.  

I will show you how to build this stuff, and provide the basic tools needed to get started (the right set of tweezers, a candle, and a big pile of plastic trash).    No prior knowledge of any aspect of plastic works or 3d design is required.  This is a unique skill, which I've found out how to do by trial and error, and it doesn't really fit into the category of any existing technology that I've seen.  I'm hoping that if people like this technique that we can start to build up a community library of free designs which can be shared on the Internet in the public domain much like how 3d printing files are shared on various websites now.  Note that unlike 3d printing, these can be shared without digital files as well, since they're just patterns--just like sewing project patterns.

Instructor: Lafe Spietz, PhD is an itinerant applied physicist who has worked on precision thermometry, quantum computing, haptic technology, motor design, and a variety of very strange projects.  His work on building things from trash can be found on Instructables at http://www.instructables.com/member/lafelabs/ .  Having worked in the Federal government, with big tech companies, started small tech companies, and worked at universities, and being dissatisfied with all of them he now freelances primarily in the quantum information field.  He lives in Arlington, VA.

WHEN: Saturday April 22nd, 2-5pm
COST: $45 (includes all materials)