Customs: Cheap and free styrene

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by anovasinn, Nov 11, 2008.

  1. anovasinn

    anovasinn THE PAINTS MUST FLOW!!!

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    Well i think frenzy rumble has mentioned this several times about using sign material. so i give credit to him for this. anyways if you are going to use signs like this you need to know the diff between styrene signs and vinyl ones vinyl kinda sucks to glue. some one more inept than me can explain the diff please.

    but anyways the reason i bring up this thread is because if you need thin styrene stop paying out the nose at the hobby shop the smallest sign cost 69 cents while the largest one cost 1.79 @ walmart. i use allot of thin styrene and got sick of paying so much for it.

    also you can find styrene for free there is allot of small signs made from styrene so sometimes you can find it just laying on the ground blowing in the breeze no seriously.
     

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  2. Satomiblood

    Satomiblood Prototype Black

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    Interesting. I had no idea these signs were the same material.
     
  3. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    It is a good source if you can't find anything else, places like Rite Aid are usually cheaper than your Home Depot/Lowes too. Many of my early styrene used projects were all from BEWARE OF DOG and FOR SALE signs, just glued up layers to get the thickness I desired.

    In the summer though, people will put up the garage sale signs all over town, and then just leave them there, and you can go swoop them up and not even feel like a jerk for taking them because you are actually recycling the stuff to a further use!

    You can also get styrene sheets for free from store signage that gets tossed out, just ask the manager if you can have a sign or whatever when it's no longer needed, and they will generally take your name and save it for you. Video stores (rare these days, I know) are a great source for it, Blockbuster and Hollywood video etc - most of the signage they use is all made from styrene (grocery stores use it quite often too). Also, if you ride buses, you can find it on there from time to time (this one is kinda sketchy as you may technically be stealing, but I know for a fact they usually toss their signs into the trash when they rotate them out so don't feel too bad if you get the chance to snag some!) as the various signs tacked up inside the bus as well.

    Dick Blick however sells giant sheets of it in various thicknesses for super cheap too, even with shipping it was a better deal to get them online thataway than locally for the quantity I needed.

    Great topic anovasinn!
     
  4. anovasinn

    anovasinn THE PAINTS MUST FLOW!!!

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    how come you say if you cant find anything else? as far as thin goes it is the same quality as standard hobby grade sheets. BTW i am not being a smart a-- by asking this i am just curious if you yourself found a flaw i missed. i mean besides having to sand off the graphics after you have used it.

    also i still need to go to the hobby supply to get the thick stuff ,tubing ,as well as the L and I beams
     
  5. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    I just meant as far as the thin goes since you have to glue it up to get it to match the thicker stuff (and that can be a pitas), it is actually easier to just start off with a thicker grade anyways (although I have seen some pretty thick signs before too). Most of those FOR SALE signs are you know, paper-ish thin, which means added work to get them usable for most customizing jobs.

    I'm still looking for an alternative to buying the tubing and rods as well too, anyone have any tips on that?
     
  6. Superquad7

    Superquad7 We're only human. Super Mod

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    Awesome guys! :thumb 
     
  7. anovasinn

    anovasinn THE PAINTS MUST FLOW!!!

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    ah i see that was implied but i was not sure. yeah it seems if they need a sign thicker they switch to vinyl. thin to me is like marzipan to a fancy cake maker lol.
     
  8. Bruticus82

    Bruticus82 Well-Known Member

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    So, the initial post mentions it's important to tell the difference between styrene and vinyl signs.

    So any tips on how we know the difference? Especially if, say, we've never worked with styrene before?
     
  9. anovasinn

    anovasinn THE PAINTS MUST FLOW!!!

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    if you know how styrene feels you are safe. vinyl signs are more slick feeling than styrene like a milk jug kinda. styrene is also a bit more brittle than vinyl but i think you would get kicked out of the store if you start cracking signs lol. all i mean is styrene will crack when bent faster than styrene
     
  10. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    Yeah, I feel like I may be totally wrong here, but I thought vinyl was more fluid, like banner, tarp or flag material etc. I know it can be more rigid, but that's generally when dealing with higher end manufacturing and is way more expensive right? And even at that level, it's still not anywhere near what styrene is (or any other plastic in that range), as far as rigidity. I'm gonna even go out on a limb here and say any FOR SALE etc sign of this type you'll find in a home improvement store/drug store is almost assuredly styrene.

    Now watch the next poster come along and tell me I'm full of it :D 
     
  11. TF Hunter D

    TF Hunter D Well-Known Member

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    Might have to find these signs. Styrene here is nowhere here. Personally, I have never used, felt, or even seen styrene. Sad, but true. All this time, I've been using junker figures and KOs from Big Lots for my work. Hopefully, I can use these for some of my work.
     
  12. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    just to chime in, I went to Lowes and picked up 10 "no parking signs" which were 18"x24" and 1 mil thick (typical styrene thickness) The larger ones seem to be much thicker than the paper thin stuff and small ones. They were about $3.50 each - bargain.
     
  13. anovasinn

    anovasinn THE PAINTS MUST FLOW!!!

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    thanks i was hoping someone would know where to get some of the thick stuff .
     
  14. frenzyrumble

    frenzyrumble Banned

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    YEAH, home depot and true value seem to carry these also. I checked out rite aid, nothing there, but could be due to location (though the store was huge)

    lot of these stores carried several types, but mostly with rounded corners. Excellent source for late night styrene fits.
     
  15. cefuroxx

    cefuroxx Well-Known Member

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    I'm in Spain right now and I have had a hard time finding plastic to kitbash with at all. But I did notice by accident that thin styrene tubing, some solid, some hollow, was used on the some of the suckers in the candy store the other day. Bought two suckers after that just get the tubes.
     
  16. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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    Yeah, I've seen that as well in the past - good tip!

    I've gotten some from these little cheap-o rubber balloon kits too, I've seen then as cheap as like 2 for a buck and come with 4-5 tubes each, at about 2-3 inches long. Not the best alternative, or cheapest, but it worked for a pinch on a custom I made last year!
     
  17. MECHADOOM

    MECHADOOM I'm Doombot and I know it

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    If we've moved on from just talking about cheap styrene to cheap whatever, I've got to chime in about makeup displays.

    I work at a drugstore with a makeup section can usually find neat supplies and building materials in their garbage. The next time you're in a makup section, take a look. I've brought home shelves for display, materials for cityscape, things that look like "Transwarp-Portals", risers, various lengths and diameters of clear plastic tubing, and holo-foil material(metallic, changes colour?), amongst other things. If you know where the store puts their garbage, quite often these things end up in the trash. Or you could befriend the members of the staff and get them to hold it for you when the display gets rotated out of use.(which sometimes isn't possible,like say if the display has to go back to the company that provided it. But that RARELY happens.)
     
  18. ErechOveraker

    ErechOveraker I'm with Plowking.

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  19. Bruticus82

    Bruticus82 Well-Known Member

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    Okay, so I saw some signs at the local dollar store, mostly the standard sized "beware of dog" types. I've never worked with styrene though so I don't know what it feels like. Any tips on how I can find out for sure? Is the price too good to be true?
     
  20. QmTablit

    QmTablit Disguise: Check. Robot...

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    These threads seem to come up with perfect timing for me. Useful info that I'll defenitely be making use of.
     

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