How-To: ShapeLock assistive spoon

How-To: ShapeLock assistive spoon


Gregg at Instructables made this assistive spoon using nothing more than thermoform plastic and, well, a spoon. One commenter points out that the package advises against moulding the plastic around body parts, but I wonder if that’s so that you don’t end up with a permanent (and therefore possibly dangerous to remove) bracelet or worse, collar. Or could it be because of the heat? I’d think that a thick nitrile glove would insulate your skin well enough for this stuff since it’s pretty low-temp. Got your own idea about the warning? Leave it in the comments below.

In the Maker Shed:



ShapeLock Plastic

8 thoughts on “How-To: ShapeLock assistive spoon

  1. Anne says:

    My two thoughts are that it could shrink while curing (so don’t make rings) and/or that as a plastic it could block the pores which can be a health risk if done for long enough over an area of skin.

  2. swit says:

    I’m a bit of a shapelock/polycaprolactone zealot. I use it a lot. When it’s up to temperature (~150F) it is not pleasant to have against the skin. I’ve pressed my thumb into an extra hot lump of it once before and with a lot of pressure it actually bonded to my finger print until I let it cool completely and it just fell right off. The hotter you get the material above 150F the more it bonds to things like other plastics, wood grain, the bottom of a no-stick pot, or your arm hair. Typically I let it sit for 20-30 second before I start to form the clay like material.

    The biggest danger would be making a ring, bracelet, or necklace that hardens and can’t get past your head, wrist, or knuckle.

    When I cut the material with a dremel, drill, or saw there is a bit of a melting factor. I like to toss the part in the freezer before machining to minimize this. But this makes me wonder how a medical saws like the ones use to remove fiberglass casts would fare against a foolish child’s shapelock handcuff.

    Any one experience such things?

    1. Dave says:

      The currently popular oscillating tools like the new Dremel and others are basically the same as a Stryker saw, and should be safe (enough) for emergency removal.


  3. Viadd says:

    If you are fitting this to someone who has compromised sensation in his hand, he may not be able to tell that the hot shapelock is cooking him, so definitely don’t ignore the warning in that case.

    This might be more robust if you drill holes in the handle of the spoon so the shapelock can reach through and make a more solid grip.

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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