Let's Make Robots!


Building Material

**UPDATE** Added 2nd video with a little more "how-to"
I spend a lot of time in hobby shops. I have walked past the rack of "Plastruct" stuff many-a-time but until now, have never played with it. Typically, it is used by model train guys and many of the pieces they sell are to scale (i.e. HO scale). I never knew just how great this stuff was...

The package says that it is either white styrene or grey ABS (even clear) and is ideal for vacuum forming and scratch model building. I have not vacuum formed yet, but I have built a few models from scratch and so far, I ADORE this stuff.
The concept is pretty simple, score and snap to cut to size, and “weld” together via a solvent-based “glue”. Both curved and straight cuts seem to snap equally well and after dry, the joints seem to be of one piece --just like a real weld. The finished product is light as a feather and with some careful construction (I.e. gussets in the corners) is quite strong. I can’t say enough for this stuff, it is a real dream to work with.



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Thanks for the video, Chris. This comment wouldn't have even occurred to me if you hadn't mentioned it a couple of times. You can reduce the burn-out of white parts by videoing over a white background (is it underground when you're videoing straight down). The problem is at least partially the contrast between the white and what is on the rest of the screen.

Thanks again for sharing your Plastruct find.


   Thanks for the follow up video.  I really appreciate it.  I wasn't sure if the material would "remember" a curve if bent by hand.  This stuff has some amazing potential. Can't wait to give it a try.

   The lighting looked better to me in the second vid.  I like Anres' idea of bouncing the light off a white surface.  That or toning it down with a difuser or "soft white" bulb equivalent.  Maybe frosted glass overtop the bulbs at the end of the metal cones...

   In any event, thanks again for the quick follow up.  I finally got a chance to watch it today.  Plastruct should be paying you!

Changing bulbs (provided they have a standard E27 thread) would be even easier.

The next step for you: take your time while recording and then edit down to 10:00 min. Although that would probably take time away from making bots, eh?


I was thinking the same. I actually have a rig I made for Kari to take macro pictures of some of her products. It is just a metal frame with some thin white sheets covering it. The sheets form the backdrop as well as to diffuse the light coming through --the same as you tissue paper idea. Now, I just gotta find it!

Also, I actually looked into the fixtures themselves --ever heard of a 200 watt bulb?!? I hadn't either but that is what is in there! 400 watts of light is probably why A) everything is washed out and B) why everything is so friggin' hot!

I'll get this guy dialed in...



I have studied filmmaking. About your lights, there are 2 cheap tricks that will solve your filming problems.

1) Put some tracing paper over them. Far enough away so that it doesn´t catch fire. You can put as many sheets as you want to soften the light up.

2) Don´t shine the light straight down. Shine it out to both sides and reflect it back with a white surface. Plywood painted white or a sheet of polyurethane will do. 

Good luck, fellow carpenter!


Well, I think I may have dropped the ball a bit here. My intention was to simply say, "Hey, I found this stuff, I like it --it works". It seems now, I should have spent a bit more time showing HOW to use this stuff.

I heard you guys loud and clear.

Gimme a couple days and I will video tape some proper examples of how I have found to work with this stuff. I have actually been playing with it quite a bit now and I actually have some tips to pass on.



   Thanks so much.  I, for one, would really appreciate more how-to, if you have the time.  Just the knowledge of Plastruct's existence and how cool you've found it was great.

Thanks again,


The casing you made looks really good, this stuff looks really promising.

Thanks for the advice,

Really cool stuff, Chris.  If you get time, I'd love to see a bit more on bending and shaping to do the curves.  You have a professional hand; I have a computer programmer's hand.  A vid of that would help a lot. :-D

Thanks for sharing!

I ordered some of eBay just now as I have been searching for this type of material for a long time.  Thanks!