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Instamorph - "3D duct tape" - for shoot kits and rigs


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#1 David Mawson

David Mawson
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Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:41 AM

Given my lack of experience in video, this may be the only useful contribution I ever make here - I hope I at least put it in the right forum.

 

Instamorph aka polymorph and some more brand names is the next big step up from duct tape and I now wouldn't go on a shoot with out it. Another way of thinking is that it's the instant coffee of plastics - you carry a pack of granules, add hot water, and you get clay. You mould it and then when it is cool its rigid. You can cool under a cold tap if you are in a hurry. It's useful because -

 

- It sets quickly if you use cold water

 

- It's very tough - you can make a useable mallet out of it

 

- It holds shapes precisely. You can drive screws in to it while it is soft, unscrew them when it is cold, and you have a long-lasting threaded socket. You can make screw adaptors, threaded bolts and nuts out of it it too.

 

- You can tweak it by re-heating - you can even throw a component you don't need any more into hot water and use it as raw material

 

You can dye it, but so far I've always used it plain.

 

This is an emergency rig I made for my GM1 when my GX80/85 fell apart. (The camera is held together at least one key spot by tiny plastic tabs - I mean about one mm thick - there really is a reason it's so cheap.) The butt piece goes against my rib cage just below my throat, one hand wraps around the tripod head as a pistol, and then the screen is reasonably level with my eye.

 

The butt piece is a domed disc of morph that works as a stand to let the rig work as table tripod too - it was molded on to the end of a cheap flash bracket using a storage jar as a mold. It's extremely tough. The magnifier is a cheap one I grabbed from my girlfriend's drawing tools, I stuck in hot morph with a layer of foil to stop it bonding to the arca plate and screw a tripod thumb screw in place. It's not the greatest optical quality, but it works - I don't get eye strain focusing on the screen. (And I can probably make a much nicer looking one if I ever get the whim.)

 

p1040251_orig.jpg

 

You could easily make a decent rig out of it and some 15mm rod without using cheese plates - a blob of morph will be any cheese plate you want, including ones that don't exist. Although the rig probably will look nasty unless your craft skills are better than mine and maybe dye the morph black.

 

So think of it as a bag of granules you can carry to make emergency - or permanent camera rig components out. Or doorstops, components for lighting rigs - as long as those components are not exposed to any heat - moulded handles. You could improvise a tripod out of three monopods or walking sticks using a blob as a hub.

 

It's not as glamorous as a 3D printer, but it is cheaper, doesn't need CAD files, and you can carry it in a corner of your camera bag. You can even carry it in the form of components that you can recycle in the nearest Starbucks if a more urgent use appears. 

 

 


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#2 David Mawson

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:43 AM

The white blobs on the lens are Sugru - a cross between rubber and glue. Good for tweaking contact surfaces, but too weak and soft for much else. 


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