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“I want to say one word to you, son – just one word…Plastics.” -The Graduate

The very word means capable of being shaped, molded. Plastic is a cheap, durable, plentiful, extremely adaptable, and variable material that can be put to seemingly endless uses, from product packaging, furnishings, building materials, and machine parts, to tools, weapons, vehicles, to now just about anything that can be extruded from a 3D printing head. The downside of its cheapness and ubiquity (not to mention the polluting nature of its manufacture) is that it leads to a profusion of waste material.

Over the next month here on MAKE, we’ll look at all aspects of understanding and working with plastics: what is is, what the different types are, how to cut, mold, fix, cast, and how to best utilize it in your projects. And, we’ll also talk about creative ways of reusing and upcycling plastic waste materials.

As always we’d love to get your input on the subject. What aspects of plastic would you like to see us explore. Please tell us in the comments.

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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