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Author: Subject: Transporting Glassware by Car - Melt Styrofoam for Custom Molds?
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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 09:45
Transporting Glassware by Car - Melt Styrofoam for Custom Molds?

if you want to easily transport your glassware compactly by car without wrapping
it in bubble wrap or paper...

is there an easy way to mold Styrofoam to your clean glassware for
bumpy transport by car?

I thought about using a heatgun with a thin head tip to melt styrofoam into shape...

is this the way to go or is there a better method?
heating the glass itself and pressing it into the styrofoam seems to be risky, dont want to shatter it accidentally...
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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 09:56

You'd have to control the heat, otherwise it will melt and smoke up the polystyrene. Generally foam is cut with nichrome wire cutters, that cuts it like a butter. Heating glassware so hot it will melt styrofoam will make you happy times trying to remove the molten plastics from your precious glass.

I get your idea of making unique storage boxes for all of your expensive stuff that fits neatly and looks cool, but these are usually molded directly. One possible option would be to actually make a box frame, wrap your glass in shrink wrap to use it as a counter-mold, and fill the frame halfway with polyurethane foam or other similar porous filler, and make two copies of this and do the final fitting.

My solution has been to wrap all the glassware in paper towels and then shrink wrap them and pack them in boxes or rigid containers. If the ride will be bumpy or you intend to ship it, I'd add a lot of extra cushioning. I have also further wrapped smaller glass items into larger bunches, so they are not free to cling around.¨

I have successfully transported a lot of fragile stuff this way, also in transports that I have to hand over the luggage away to be packed without my supervision, with zero fractures.
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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 10:14

Florists use a sort of grey or green foam whose proper name in english I don't know, this stuff stays in the form you pressed it and it is cheap and available.
But you should put it in a suitcase or the like, and then press each larger piece of glass in the foam so it sits tight.

Oh great, I found its english name: its, quite logically, called "floral foam".
This is the stuff, and its even better than styrofoam, it doesn't squeak, but it looses little crumbles over time.
For a one-way trip, its probably the ideal choice.

Although I moved quite a few times with lots of glass, and I generally just wrap everything in bubble foil and then pack the parcels tight.
You hear the glass clink on itself once in a while, but if you drive a few hundred km's, that could be expected.
I generally r<ther break the one or other item when I'm unpacking from the bubble foil.

But if its something breakable, I recommend floral foam, thats safe for even the most fragile condensers, or an udder adapter or some thing the like?
Floral foam does all these things you have to melt styrofoam for, at RT even :D
It is exactly what you're looking for.

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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 13:01


2 part urethane foam in a sealed bag. Not the cheapest solution, but very good for complex, delicate shapes.

Helicopter: "helico" -> spiral, "pter" -> with wings
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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 13:28

You could try 'builders expanding foam'. Not too cheap though. You will have to wrap the glass in paper or perhaps tinfoil to stop the stuff from sticking to it.
It will be somewhat difficult to unpack as the whole lot is one foam block. You could bury some thin wire or perhaps fishing gut around the glasswear so that unwrapping will consist of pulling the two ends of the wire/gut to cut the foam from the inside out.
Blobs of foam here and there may suffice without having a whole solid block of foam.

If you want to cut/shape styrofoam use steam.

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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 17:40

A lot of my glass is stored in drawers in soft polyurethane(I think) foam that I buy as 3'*2'*2" batts, cut to size with scissors and cut-out in the shape of the pieces with a craft knife. If you're in North America you can get these batts at Wal-Mart for frig-all and it's practically a no-brainer, but otherwise if you can find such foam for a reasonable price (think crafting/upholstery) I'd suggest doing it this way with any old sturdy box, with another layer on top for transport.

[Edited on 4-9-2021 by paulll]
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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 18:56

All my jointed glass is packed in custom moulds I made. I use those plastic storage boxes that are designed for under bed storage and I then constructed moulds to fit. The boxes sit on runners under by bench and I pull them out like drawers.

I have used a few different methods to make the moulds.

1. Carving polystyrene. Then glueing it in with builders' adhesive and covering the whole thing with cloth.
2. Crushed up foil. Copious quantities of glue -- Hot glue guns are useful here. Then covering with cloth.
3. Polystyrene carved out using a solvent. Drip it on and watch it dissolve to eat out the shape you want. Then the sticky dissolved polystyrene can be covered directly with cloth. This method is difficult to control and there is a tendency for parts of the mould to erode away over the next few days.
4. Expanding builders' foam (epoxy). This method works well, provides a very firm hold and seems quick. However, there are a few things to watch out for. Foam continues to expand for several hours and the result can be to make your glassware very stuck. You need to leave the glass in the mould as it sets otherwise it will not fit. The foam is very messy and sticks to everything it touches: especially skin but also including the glassware. It takes a lot to clean up the glass afterwards. When using this method I usually wrap the glass in cling film, then apply a later of foam, cut some cloth strips to cover the foam, set the glasss in position, and then cover with a lid so that the arrangement does not move

In your situation, here is my suggestion. That is, if you only want 1-off packaging for transport.

Wrap the glass with bubble wrap.
Put a layer of foam in the bottom of a cardboard box.
Position yrou glass in place.
Use a combination of foam and polystyrene between the layers. Then add the next layer of glassware. Ue less foam than you might think because it does expand to fill all gaps.
Continue until the box is full.
Seal the box with tape and leave for 24 hours before attempting to transport.

At the destination you can dissect the whole arrangement with a box cutter to retrieve your glassware.

This shoud be quick, tidy and very secure. Alternatively, do a neat job in plastic bins for permanant storage in your new lab.
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[*] posted on 3-9-2021 at 23:30

If your glassware is from a mail order (e.g. ebay, Aliexpress), keep the packaging and use it for transportation. The glassware is delivered to you on a bumpy ride as well.
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