Monday, July 24, 2017

Making ABS Paste (cheap and easy!)

Something I learned from building my ATA lid is that it’s really handy to have some ABS paste on hand to use at a moment’s notice.  And I never did.  I’m avoiding this hassle by being proactive and making the stuff NOW.

A few weeks ago, I had some minor surgery on my jaw, which left me in a state where I couldn’t eat anything solid.  I ended up eating my share of baby food (lost a lot of weight, too), and I saved the jars.  Empty cleaned glass baby food jars have a gazillion uses!  One way to use them is to store ABS paste.   Keeping the paste in an air-tight glass jar ensures that it will last for a very long time.


I first did some minor trimming on different areas of the armor in order to gather some scraps, making sure to not use any ABS that had pencil marks on it.  Don’t want to alter the color in any way at all.


I cut the ABS into tiny pieces with some tin snips (easier than using Lexan scissors), and put them into the jar.


I labeled the jar with the armor maker, because I expect to have an ATA kit here in a few months.  I don’t want to mix or confuse which ABS paste to use on what armor.


I happen to have a bottle of Pure Acetone on hand from Sally Beauty, but any kind of pure acetone will work just fine.  I poured some in, and stirred it all up with a coffee stirrer.  How much to pour?  Good question!  I poured enough in to not quite entirely cover up the pieces.  I sealed it up, gave it a good shake, and left it alone.


A few hours later, the acetone has melted a good part of the ABS, but it’s still too thin.  I stirred it again, sealed it, shook it up, and left it for a few more hours.


And voila, ABS paste!


It should be completely smooth.  If it’s not, leave it, and give it some more time to cook.  If it’s too thin (I prefer mine to be the consistency of play-dough), leave the lid open and stir.  Acetone evaporates quickly, and your ABS paste will thicken up in no time at all.  Too thick?  Add more acetone, stir, and wait.  Running low on ABS paste?  Dump more ABS scraps and some more acetone into the jar and repeat the process above.  Too much ABS paste?  What’s wrong with you?  You can never have too much ABS paste around. You never know when you’ll need it!

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