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Is it possible to solidify PVC glue in a mould?

I am in my 4th year of Secondry school, and for my technology project I would like to make a PVC "boule" set and my school has not got up-to-date facilities. I would like to know if it would be possible to make a crude mould, pour PVC glue into it, and then cool it till it solidifies. I would be very greatful if anyone could tell me if this is possible or just point me in a better direction.

Will T.
Student - Plymouth, Devon, England

In practical terms, no. A better shot would be to mix in as much fine pvc dust as you can and still have the dust mostly dissolve and put that in a mold. The results will be poor as there is still a great amount of solvent to evaporate and it will take a long time and will have serious pores in it.

Now, tell me what a "boule set" is and I might have a better idea on how to get there.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

First of three simultaneous responses -- 2004

Thanks for your response, Boule or Boules is a French ball game that involves any number of people throwing tennis ball sized metal/wood/plastic balls to try and get as close as possible to the "jack"-a smaller ball thrown at the start of each round (by the previous rounds winner). My objective is just to be able to cheaply (and hopefully easily) make a solid plastic object with a mould. Any suggestions are welcome.

Thanks muchly,

Will T.
- Plymouth, Devon, England

Second of three simultaneous responses --

Hi there Will, What James says particularly about the solvent taking a long time to dry is l00% correct.

And I, too, wonder what in the hell a 'boule' is. Must be something to do with Drake? After all, he came from Plymouth, didn't he? .... playing at boules, perchance?

What you could do is NOT to pour in the 'heavy' cement but to apply it a layer at a time ... otherwise it will take aeons to dry. Get some small pieces of PVC, dust would be totally ideal but probably not available, try lathe turnings. Mix with the PVC solvent. Only use THF solvent. Go for a consistency of around 20% solids.

Lastly, don't do this at home. Your parents won't like the smell !

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


Third of three simultaneous responses -- 2004

Boules are spherical balls, usually weighted, used in games. This explains better than I can:

Good luck on your (GCSE?) project, I wish I could be of help!

Nicola Wilcox
Planner for a lock manufacturer - Willenhall, UK

Thanks everyone, yes it is GCSE and we have to "Develop" our idea in several stages-which you good gentlemen have greatly assisted me with. Cheers

Incidentally, are lathe turnings lathe bearings? If so where can I get them?

Will T.
- Plymouth, Devon, England


William T !

Lathe turnings mean them thar slices of plastic that are peeled off the plastic dohickey during the turning of the lathe head.

Where would you get them? Ask any thermoplastic fabricator ... they'd chuck those into the garbage bin normally.

And thanks go to Nicola for explaining what boules are. Have a boule, guys !

P.S. Another tack you can take is to approach a Company that moulds Polyethylene ... particularly what we call the Engel Process where a female metal mould is heated up and an amount of Polyethylene powder is poured inside ...the powder then fuses into a solid shape ie. typically many Pe tanks are made this way AND buoys, too.

The Pe thickness would be max.max. 1/2" but you could drill a hole and insert, say, lead shot ... that would sure give it an off-balance.

Food fer thought, especially with zum zider.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


Hey there, I realize that this response might be a little late for your project, but I thought I'd write just inc ase.

Sounds like a boule set is simply Bocce Ball, the Italian game played exactly the same way. As far as your spheres go, it sounds like the methods you and others are suggesting are quite involved and results could vary, not only that it sounds quite difficult. My uncle started experimenting with making clear spheres for juggling-- he had great luck using a lacquer type mixture that can be purchased at any crafts store (here in Nevada). It is basically a 2 part epoxy, you mix the two chemicals, pour it over or in whatever you want and let it _cure_ (it doesn't 'dry' it is a chemical reaction so it cures). The result is a very durable, very hard, perfectly clear plastic. You can color it with food coloring, or other inks, you can ad things to it or cast things in it; it is really quite versatile. Now the sphere part, he used the large glass Christmas ornaments (also available at most craft stores (clear too)). He poured in his epoxy, let it cure then cracked off the glass into the trash. The result is an almost perfectly spherical, clear ball. It will have a little 'nipple' where you poured it in, just shave it off carefully, buff it up a little and you're done!

Your comment about the lathe bearings reminded me, here in Nevada there is a lot of mining, the huge mining drills that they use have enormous motors. I was able to get some very very large, hard-chrome plated ball bearings from a place that rebuilds them (they were used and free, but still beautiful!). They were about the size of a tennis ball and quite dense (heavy).

Good luck!

Logan Needham
- Reno, Nevada, USA

Willian T,

What Logan said was very interesting ... but if you were to make two round HALVES from epoxy, they'd break unless you also used some fibreglass mat and cloth.

Re PVC ... and I don't know why I didn't say this before, but ABS would be far better, cheaper, improved impact resistance and it, of all the plastics (I think) has one excellent property, namely you can make up a heavy mix and have it 'dry' much faster than PVC ... ie. it has superb gap filling properties.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton [deceased]
(It is our sad duty to advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


Congratulations on your attempt to make something uncommon. I have gotten quite an education about boule reading this posting. I tend to follow Occam's Razor when breaching a problem. Have you considered using a combination of the advice. ABS, PVC etc are just not easy materials to work with unless you have the equipment. Could you use the glass ornament and a hot glue gun to simplify your venture. You will not exceed the softening point of the glue stick (use the white, not the amber colored ones)and it will give you many games of boule. Use a hot knife to carve off the nipple from the ornament mould. For a more durable one use the ABS or recycle a couple of milk jugs and use your oven at home. Glass is able to take the temperature.

John Schrock
Barker Inc. - Fort Wayne, Indiana, US

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