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Thread: KOMACEL - the other building material

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Pooh corner, Ont. Canada
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    Default KOMACEL - the other building material

    Thats right i finally found out what that white plastic stuff i've been building trucks out of was called.

    I've been getting the stuff sent to me by an uncle in NB for a few years now. He's worked for years making those models of buildings from architectual plans, lots of custom signs and even cool model boats for himself.

    When i was getting into scratch building stuff, i asked him if he had any spare styrene pieces around as i saw that a lot of guys on these RC forums were using the evergreen styrene from hobby shops. He said "no, you should try this stuff for making trucks that youre gonna drive around with, it'll be tougher and its easier to cut, carve and shape". He gave me a couple big chunks of it and i started to use it.

    I'd never used styrene before and figured this stuff was the same, but when i finally got some styrene to compare, you can notice the difference. Its a little softer and more flexible. It also doesn't glue with styrene cement. Its a PVC product and i use medium thick CA glue to hold it together. It doesn't come apart once glued either, and the thicker CA glue sticks in about 10 seconds so you don't really have to clamp it and wait.

    I use mainly 3mm thick sheets but also have some 1mm and 1.5 stuff that i use for smaller things. It comes with a bit of a shiny surface that should be sanded before glueing or painting, but acrylic paint seems to stick to it just fine afterwards. Since its a bit softer that styrene, it sands alot easier too and you can shape built up areas pretty quickly with a dremel sanding wheel. You can also dent the flat surface with some pressure which is good for scribing in lines, but maybe bad cause it will dent a bit on the trails if you run into a rock hard enough. I kinda like that about it though, and its not as soft as i may be making it sound. The bodies still feel strong and ridgid.

    Anyhow, i really like working with this stuff. Thought you may like to try it out sometimes. You could probably get it from the same plastic sheet suppliers that sell bulk styrene sheet, or from signmaker shops. Thats where my uncle gets it and he's my supplier. Ha.

    Here's a description from a KOMACEL supplier website and a few pics of the builds ive done with it.


    An integral skin foam PVC sheet made according to the Celuka process, KOMACEL PVC sheets have characteristics, such as ease of fabrication, that make it ideal for printing PVC sheets for applications in a variety of industries, including advertising, construction, electrical, photographic and others. All KOMACEL sheets are now manufactured in our state-of-the-art facility in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Among the most important KOMACEL features are its high flexural strength and light weight. It is sound- and vibration-absorbent with low thermal conductivity and high insulating value. Weatherproof and light-fast, it is also chemical-resistant and non-corroding. Because it will not absorb water, it resists rot, and it is ready for indoor or outdoor use without pretreatment. The sheets are available in white only.

    KOMACEL PVC sheets are not harmful to your health or the environment in their manufacture, processing, application and disposal.




















  2. #2
    mikevillena Guest

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    Sounds like an ideal material. Also, beautiful work!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Thats the name?... and all this time calling it the other white stuff!
    Great find on the info and medium
    I think I like the non toxic part the best because ABS/Styrene can cause lots of issues in quantity.
    The only downside for me is that it doesn't weld, instead it glues. After all these projects you've done the testing with the CA and glad it's holding.

  4. #4
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    "..not harmful to your health or the environment.."2thumbs Great info, Rick!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikevillena View Post
    Sounds like an ideal material. Also, beautiful work!!!
    Thanks man, yeah i kinda fluked upon the stuff but its really nice to build with.

    Quote Originally Posted by UNGLEWD View Post
    Thats the name?... and all this time calling it the other white stuff!
    Great find on the info and medium
    I think I like the non toxic part the best because ABS/Styrene can cause lots of issues in quantity.
    The only downside for me is that it doesn't weld, instead it glues. After all these projects you've done the testing with the CA and glad it's holding.
    I think i like the fact that it glues instead of welds better. Styrene welds seem to be nice and clean but its no stronger than the styrene itself. You can crack a welded seam quite clean i find. Its alot easier to glue together layers of this stuff when youre building up a big thick flat piece too, and stick quicker.

    Styrene has its place for sure, i think styrene is better for smaller, more detailed and clean looking work. Better for modelling maybe, but Komacel makes for alot less brittle of a truck once the models done. It think it also depends on how you build, i use this stuff the same way i would use wood. Building up and shaping it back. It suits my style better anyhow.

    The bed of the fc170 i made for you is 3mm Komacel if you wanna check it out more closely.

    Quote Originally Posted by alan View Post
    "..not harmful to your health or the environment.."2thumbs Great info, Rick!
    Seems odd that it could be possible with any kind of plastic, but i'd like to believe it.

  6. #6
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    No health hazards? Where's the fun in that?

    I tried to find a supplier for this stuff or even a price, but I can't. I must be bad at internet.
    SBG Junior Vice President RC4WDCASTLEGCM

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pardonmyn00b View Post
    No health hazards? Where's the fun in that?

    I tried to find a supplier for this stuff or even a price, but I can't. I must be bad at internet.
    Did you try Ask Jeeves?

    I have a few strips left and I'm going to experiment with it. Thanks for the info Rick.
    SBG OWNER YOUTUBE AXIAL AMBASSADOR GCM TEAM DRIVER VANQUISH KNIGHT CUSTOMS TEAM

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by imthatguy View Post
    Did you try Ask Jeeves?

    I have a few strips left and I'm going to experiment with it. Thanks for the info Rick.
    I tried Ask Larry. I'll try Alta Vista next.
    SBG Junior Vice President RC4WDCASTLEGCM

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Victoria B.C.
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    Thanks Rick for info...have to try this material out . I found it on the industrial plastics and paints web site. Under a different name komatex
    It says it can be welded with heat . Also it is a PVC plastic so a strong PVC glue like pipe glue would give u really strong hold that sets very quickly .. Think I will give this material a try sometime. But i still like styrene even though I'm not very good at using it lol
    Scale Crawling: all the realism without the pain!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    Abby, BC
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    This sounds exactly like the stuff I use most often but the plastic dealers out here sell it as Sintra: http://sintrapvc.com

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