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Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut




UK

So many brands (not GW exclusive though they are likely the biggest) in our hobby have sprues; chunks of plastic that are waste after you cut the model out. Waste material that is basically that, waste. There's also the even more invisible rubbish from things like blister packs or plastic packaging.

Unlike many optional parts the sprue is of far more limited use and whilst there are ways to use it for terrain and features, by and large, I suspect the greater bulk of people's sprue heads into the bin.

So I got to wondering if there's anything we as gamers could do within the hobby or which we could encourage companies who produce our models to do in order ot try and reduce the volume of plastic waste entering the rubbish system and instead have it going into recycling or other re-use avenues.



Ps I'm fully aware that taking ones trash to a recycling centre in general is an option in some localities; but for this I'm really just thinking of the hobby itself and the hobby rubbish that it generates.
   
Made in us
Courageous Space Marine Captain






Asides from using the spures to make terrain or silly ork or skaven stuff, there probably isnt much you could actually do with it.

I remember seeing this exact thread like a year ago i hear in the uk you can ask your local waste management or recycling center and see if they take styrine.


its not like metals where often those centers will buy it from you so its not like you could do a big sprue collectaton at your LFG then go sell it and buy like snacks for your group.


 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

 
   
Made in ca
Rough Rider with Boomstick





London, Ontario

I can appreciate that this is a looking to help the planet post... but there are other, much wider, more impactful issues regarding environmental protection that this is really small potatoes.

If you intend to put effort into this, perhaps look at something with a larger scale, higher energy usage, or otherwise greater bulk of material to be concerned about.
   
Made in ca
Purposeful Hammerhead Pilot






Theoretically sprue plastic is re-useable, as I don't think it undergoes a chemical change during extrusion into the molds - just melted using a combination of heating and friction. The problem is the cost of shipping and processing it is probably higher than the worth of the plastic - otherwise GW stores would be accepting empty sprues for re-use. Another problem with re-using sprues is being sure of the consistency of what you're getting, leading to terrible results if two different kinds of plastic are mixed. That's why processing the plastic would be so expensive, from a labor standpoint.

That said, plastic gets recycled all the time, only not back into the same product. For example, food grade plastic gets recycled into lower grades to make things like pallets or plastic fiber fill, because we won't risk putting it back into food grade without all the extra expensive sterilizing.

   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

Here in Chicago we have recycling pickup so my sprue just goes into the blue bin. However, I don't remember who did it, but there was a company that made it's metal sprue in usefull shapes. Rubble, IIRC. I think this is a great idea.

In fact, why not make all plastic sprue in an I-Beam or u-beam shape? It probably couldn't be perfectly in-scale (would have to be a bit bulky) to have the plastic moving through the mold quickly, but we're used to heroic proportions and that would make all the sprue useful.

While they're at it, why not have some of the sprue have the outline of keyboards, gauges, switches, etc on it? Then you can chop it up and greeble with it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/15 17:33:57


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 Eilif wrote:
Here in Chicago we have recycling pickup so my sprue just goes into the blue bin. However, I don't remember who did it, but there was a company that made it's metal sprue in usefull shapes. Rubble, IIRC. I think this is a great idea.

In fact, why not make all plastic sprue in an I-Beam or u-beam shape? It probably couldn't be perfectly in-scale (would have to be a bit bulky) to have the plastic moving through the mold quickly, but we're used to heroic proportions and that would make all the sprue useful.

While they're at it, why not have some of the sprue have the outline of keyboards, gauges, switches, etc on it? Then you can chop it up and greeble with it.


IT would be very cool if plastic injection sprue was like that but straight i beams and the like would be very hard to do. the reason gw stuff is in a trapazoid shape is because of the way the molds work. it needs to be at an angle so it can be pushed out of the mold.

no reason resin and metal couldnt do that. its a fantastic ideal.

 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

 
   
Made in gb
Regular Dakkanaut




I seem to recall a time when GW stores did accept old sprues.

Whether they got shipped back to base and reused or quietly skipped out the back I never asked....
   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

 Desubot wrote:
 Eilif wrote:
Here in Chicago we have recycling pickup so my sprue just goes into the blue bin. However, I don't remember who did it, but there was a company that made it's metal sprue in usefull shapes. Rubble, IIRC. I think this is a great idea.

In fact, why not make all plastic sprue in an I-Beam or u-beam shape? It probably couldn't be perfectly in-scale (would have to be a bit bulky) to have the plastic moving through the mold quickly, but we're used to heroic proportions and that would make all the sprue useful.

While they're at it, why not have some of the sprue have the outline of keyboards, gauges, switches, etc on it? Then you can chop it up and greeble with it.


IT would be very cool if plastic injection sprue was like that but straight i beams and the like would be very hard to do. the reason gw stuff is in a trapazoid shape is because of the way the molds work. it needs to be at an angle so it can be pushed out of the mold.

no reason resin and metal couldnt do that. its a fantastic ideal.

That's mostly true.
However, I think even a slightly angled I'ish beam (you might only have to angle the interior of the I or U for proper ejjection...) or an L shape (on an angle in the mold) would would be incredibly useful for kitbashers and terrain builders.

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Lord Commander in a Plush Chair





Norristown, PA

I saw an article once... I think it might have been in WD, but can't remember... but they were basically taking bits of sprues and grinding them up in an old meat grinder, and then using the bits as rubble chunks for terrain pieces. Seemed like a cool idea, but I don't wanna do it since I use my meat grinder for meat. Won't taste good if I have any spare sprue bits get mixed in the next time I make bacon burgers

   
Made in us
Courageous Space Marine Captain






 Eilif wrote:
 Desubot wrote:
 Eilif wrote:
Here in Chicago we have recycling pickup so my sprue just goes into the blue bin. However, I don't remember who did it, but there was a company that made it's metal sprue in usefull shapes. Rubble, IIRC. I think this is a great idea.

In fact, why not make all plastic sprue in an I-Beam or u-beam shape? It probably couldn't be perfectly in-scale (would have to be a bit bulky) to have the plastic moving through the mold quickly, but we're used to heroic proportions and that would make all the sprue useful.

While they're at it, why not have some of the sprue have the outline of keyboards, gauges, switches, etc on it? Then you can chop it up and greeble with it.


IT would be very cool if plastic injection sprue was like that but straight i beams and the like would be very hard to do. the reason gw stuff is in a trapazoid shape is because of the way the molds work. it needs to be at an angle so it can be pushed out of the mold.

no reason resin and metal couldnt do that. its a fantastic ideal.

That's mostly true.
However, I think even a slightly angled I'ish beam (you might only have to angle the interior of the I or U for proper ejjection...) or an L shape (on an angle in the mold) would would be incredibly useful for kitbashers and terrain builders.


Slightly angled ones with rivets molded on like the extra bits in the terrain kits would be fantastic.

alternatively i would of preferred them to be molded as pipes with connection fittings occasional thrown in but then they would have to do extra work on the other side of the injection die.


 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

 
   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado




MN

 Necros wrote:
I saw an article once... I think it might have been in WD, but can't remember... but they were basically taking bits of sprues and grinding them up in an old meat grinder, and then using the bits as rubble chunks for terrain pieces. Seemed like a cool idea, but I don't wanna do it since I use my meat grinder for meat. Won't taste good if I have any spare sprue bits get mixed in the next time I make bacon burgers


Yes, I believe that was in the amazing "Cardboard City" series of articles. I did that myself, except I just chopped it all up using a hand tool. I still have a small containers with the remaining off-cuts from several years ago. I use it for rubble and the like.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/15 22:56:30


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Made in ca
Longtime Dakkanaut





I also use the sprue bits for rubble terrain.

Cheers,

CB

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Made in us
Skilled SDF-1 Pin-Point Barrier Jockey





Mississippi

Have GW desprue their models at the factory and chop the sprue up to make even more models, of course.

It never ends well 
   
Made in au
Grizzled Space Wolves Great Wolf





 Eilif wrote:
 Desubot wrote:
 Eilif wrote:
Here in Chicago we have recycling pickup so my sprue just goes into the blue bin. However, I don't remember who did it, but there was a company that made it's metal sprue in usefull shapes. Rubble, IIRC. I think this is a great idea.

In fact, why not make all plastic sprue in an I-Beam or u-beam shape? It probably couldn't be perfectly in-scale (would have to be a bit bulky) to have the plastic moving through the mold quickly, but we're used to heroic proportions and that would make all the sprue useful.

While they're at it, why not have some of the sprue have the outline of keyboards, gauges, switches, etc on it? Then you can chop it up and greeble with it.


IT would be very cool if plastic injection sprue was like that but straight i beams and the like would be very hard to do. the reason gw stuff is in a trapazoid shape is because of the way the molds work. it needs to be at an angle so it can be pushed out of the mold.

no reason resin and metal couldnt do that. its a fantastic ideal.

That's mostly true.
However, I think even a slightly angled I'ish beam (you might only have to angle the interior of the I or U for proper ejjection...) or an L shape (on an angle in the mold) would would be incredibly useful for kitbashers and terrain builders.
Theres several design requirements that lead to the shape of a sprue. A U or L section would have more resistance to the flow of plastic for a similar sized section. A U or an L would have to be larger in order to have the same stiffness (because the parts need ejector pin locations where they are pushed out of the mould). Also the sprue lines have to be cut in to the mould, a trapezoid is a single cut with a single cutter, a U or and L would be 3 or 2 cuts respectively with 2 different sized cutters. Some companies do circular sprues, I imagine GW was trying to save money with a trapezoid because to make a circle requires a semicircle in each half of the mould, a trapezoid only has to be cut in to 1 half of it.

It would be cool if they did something interesting with the sprues, but I can see why they wouldn't. Detail cutting is expensive from a machining time perspective, hacking a trapezoidal trench is cheap.
   
Made in au
Anti-Armour Swiss Guard






Newcastle, OZ

Pig Iron productions used to do stowage and rubble on their metal leftovers.

GW (UK at least) used to recycle sprues (you drop them off in the bin at the store, they took it back in the trucks that dropped their stock off or something like that) and it was milled down and mixed in with new styrene in the nextish lot of production (it's only about 10-15% though as it does get weaker each time it is melted and reused).

LEGO however, also does this in their plants with all their offcuts from the machines. ABS is more amenable to it.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/16 04:13:33


I'm 49.
Old enough to know better, young enough to not give a ****.


 
   
Made in au
Grizzled Space Wolves Great Wolf





 chromedog wrote:
LEGO however, also does this in their plants with all their offcuts from the machines. ABS is more amenable to it.
My understanding is LEGO uses hot runner injection machines, so they don't have big frames like GW products do.

We're actually using the wrong terminology, the frame that GW plastic models comes on is called the "runner" rather than the "sprue". The sprue is the actual injection point (you might see them as rough looking nubby bits that sometimes have a hair of plastic on them, it's where the plastic entered the mould). The runners are the part the plastic flows through in order to reach the cavities to form the individual components. For whatever reason the hobby community picked up on the word "sprue" and just ran with it.

In a hot runner system, the runners are part of the injector machine rather than the mould and they're kept hot, so that when a part is cast the runner doesn't get pushed out with it.

The downside being that hot runner machines are more expensive and if you need a complicated runner system (like GW would) it's not really practical. Hot runner systems are better when you need to pump out millions of simple objects, like LEGO, as the parts don't need to have their runners removed after casting and it's less waste.

This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/12/16 03:02:19


 
   
Made in au
Anti-Armour Swiss Guard






Newcastle, OZ

 Necros wrote:
I saw an article once... I think it might have been in WD, but can't remember... but they were basically taking bits of sprues and grinding them up in an old meat grinder, and then using the bits as rubble chunks for terrain pieces. Seemed like a cool idea, but I don't wanna do it since I use my meat grinder for meat. Won't taste good if I have any spare sprue bits get mixed in the next time I make bacon burgers


That's why you have a SECOND grinder for the plastics, and a different one for the meat things.

Same principle for grinding coffee beans or spices. One for spices, one for coffee (or in my case, one for artist chalks - I do my own pigment powders the old way - and one for coffee). Some friends once made the error of grinding chillies in their coffee grinder (dried trinidad scorpions). They didn't do that again.

I'm 49.
Old enough to know better, young enough to not give a ****.


 
   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago


chromedog wrote:Pig Iron productions used to do stowage and rubble on their metal leftovers.

GW (UK at least) used to recycle sprues (you drop them off in the bin at the store, they took it back in the trucks that dropped their stock off or something like that) and it was milled down and mixed in with new styrene in the nextish lot of production (it's only about 10-15% though as it does get weaker each time it is melted and reused).

LEGO however, also does this in their plants with all their offcuts from the machines. ABS is more amenable to it.

Pig Iron. That's the one I was thinking about!

LEGO doesn't make much in the way of offcuts but from what I've read any color that isn't perfect or brick that has a flaw gets melted down to make black bricks.

Easy E wrote:
 Necros wrote:
I saw an article once... I think it might have been in WD, but can't remember... but they were basically taking bits of sprues and grinding them up in an old meat grinder, and then using the bits as rubble chunks for terrain pieces. Seemed like a cool idea, but I don't wanna do it since I use my meat grinder for meat. Won't taste good if I have any spare sprue bits get mixed in the next time I make bacon burgers


Yes, I believe that was in the amazing "Cardboard City" series of articles. I did that myself, except I just chopped it all up using a hand tool. I still have a small containers with the remaining off-cuts from several years ago. I use it for rubble and the like.


I think I remember that or something like it. I actually have a meat grinder that I bought for that specific purpose. Used meat grinders are pretty cheap and reasonably common in reasle shops. Never ended up using it though as my urban layout ended up being all intact buildings

Desubot wrote:
 Eilif wrote:
 Desubot wrote:
 Eilif wrote:
Here in Chicago we have recycling pickup so my sprue just goes into the blue bin. However, I don't remember who did it, but there was a company that made it's metal sprue in usefull shapes. Rubble, IIRC. I think this is a great idea.

In fact, why not make all plastic sprue in an I-Beam or u-beam shape? It probably couldn't be perfectly in-scale (would have to be a bit bulky) to have the plastic moving through the mold quickly, but we're used to heroic proportions and that would make all the sprue useful.

While they're at it, why not have some of the sprue have the outline of keyboards, gauges, switches, etc on it? Then you can chop it up and greeble with it.


IT would be very cool if plastic injection sprue was like that but straight i beams and the like would be very hard to do. the reason gw stuff is in a trapazoid shape is because of the way the molds work. it needs to be at an angle so it can be pushed out of the mold.

no reason resin and metal couldnt do that. its a fantastic ideal.

That's mostly true.
However, I think even a slightly angled I'ish beam (you might only have to angle the interior of the I or U for proper ejjection...) or an L shape (on an angle in the mold) would would be incredibly useful for kitbashers and terrain builders.


Slightly angled ones with rivets molded on like the extra bits in the terrain kits would be fantastic.

alternatively i would of preferred them to be molded as pipes with connection fittings occasional thrown in but then they would have to do extra work on the other side of the injection die.


Pipes would be awesome. Most model companies use round runners anyway. Just add a bit of detail adn you're there.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/16 14:39:09


Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.
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Complete Guide to Brush Dipping.
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My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.
http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/651712.page 
   
Made in gb
Never Forget Isstvan!





Nottingham

stroller wrote:
I seem to recall a time when GW stores did accept old sprues.

Whether they got shipped back to base and reused or quietly skipped out the back I never asked....


They go back to Lenton, get chipped, black dye is added, and bases get made.

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[DCM]
Ambassador for Gork...or is it Mork?




On a surly Warboar, leading the Waaagh!

Let's see, I recycle the plastic bags/shrinkwrap that the models/purchases come in at our local grocery store which accepts plastic bags for recycling, I toss the board packaging and blister backing in my municipal blue bin for semi-weekly recycling pick-up and I'm a fiend for hitting Ebay and salvaging(recycling!) older models that have been used and abused, so they can have another life and I strip them with 'Simple Green' which is biologically friendly. You can't have an Orc avatar and name, and not be green!
   
Made in us
Courageous Space Marine Captain






 JamesY wrote:
stroller wrote:
I seem to recall a time when GW stores did accept old sprues.

Whether they got shipped back to base and reused or quietly skipped out the back I never asked....


They go back to Lenton, get chipped, black dye is added, and bases get made.
could of sworn the bases are abs not styrene

 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

 
   
Made in gb
Longtime Dakkanaut






If that were the case, then polystyrene cement (i.e. "plastic glue") wouldn't work when gluing a plastic miniature to one, surely?

(LEGO bricks are made of ABS, and IIRC polystyrene cement doesn't affect them.)
   
Made in ca
Courageous Space Marine Captain






 AndrewGPaul wrote:
If that were the case, then polystyrene cement (i.e. "plastic glue") wouldn't work when gluing a plastic miniature to one, surely?

(LEGO bricks are made of ABS, and IIRC polystyrene cement doesn't affect them.)


Hmm maybe. i could of sworn iv seen some bases that say abs on the bottom though those may be older ones or some other company stuff.

 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

 
   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

Not all polystyrene cements are equal,

many will not work on ABS, especially really hard ABS (and these tend to be more toxic/regulated)

when the scale model company 1st started the used ABS for their kits, fine in china where the common cement was suitable for that and polystyrene, but a disaster when imported to the west and most people found they wouldn't glue (unless you resorted to superglue)

 
   
Made in us
Seven Year War Afficianado






Chicago

Which is why Plastruct Plastic Weld or -my personal preferrence- a bottle of MEK is your friend. It will bond just almost any polystyrene and/or ABS including LEGO.

As for bases, there may have been some made of ABS, but AFAIK, most companies use polystyrene of some sort. I'm no scientist, but the ones I've seen have felt like polystyrene in terms of feel and cut.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2017/12/17 01:13:28


Chicago Skirmish Wargames club. Join us for some fast-play, indie gaming in the windy city.
http://chicagoskirmishwargames.com/blog/

Complete Guide to Brush Dipping.
http://chicagoskirmishwargames.com/blog/2012/01/16/with-liberty-and-brush-dipping-for-a/l

My Project Log, mostly revolving around custom "Toybashed" terrain.
http://www.dakkadakka.com/dakkaforum/posts/list/651712.page 
   
 
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