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Worbla - what is it and where to get

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Forum topic by TEK73 posted 12-09-2019 09:36 AM 198 views 0 times favorited 1 reply Add to Favorites Watch
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TEK73

283 posts in 313 days


12-09-2019 09:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: worbla

Hi

Anyone know what material this woebka actual is?
Ny experience is that the cosplay folks often take some quite regular material that might be easy available in some stores, rebrand it and sells it in small volunes at high prices.
Often it is not rebranded, it’s just very expensive because the sell in very small volumes.

https://www.worbla.com/

Anyone know what this is and id it is available in more commercial stores?

-- It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. - Ursula K. LeGuin


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CaptainKlutz

2226 posts in 2100 days


#1 posted 12-09-2019 01:34 PM

Wow, that website lacks any real engineering substance.
Only hint we have for possible material is melt temperatures of 150F and 230F. MSDS might help, but they want you to email them to get one.

There is a wiki page that explains more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worbla
Wiki says it is a Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE) material.

SWAG:
Based on melt temp, and clear when molten, DecoArt is probably a Polyolefin Blend. CrystalArt with higher melt temp and crystalline properties, is probably a polyester or polystyrene blend.

There is a lot of science, and little magic fairy dust in the custom plastic compounding world. Most secrets are hidden, but in order for the MSDS to satisfy CA requirements; it usually gives big hints on type of plastic used on mystery pellet product. So MSDS might share additional clues.

As far as Worbla being low volume: Based on the number of retail outlets in USA, some one has to have a significant mfg investment somewhere?
There is two aspects to the product. One is chemical mixing plant capable of melting TPE formulations, and then cooling it into pellets. Then would need a sheet extruder with extending cooling tower, and retail packaging line setup?
That said, Don’t need a $200M mfg plant capable of million feet of film per day. For $500K you can buy a small batch reactor/mixer, and pelletizer. For anther $500K, could buy a low volume prototype sheet molder, cooling tunnel, and slitter that could make smaller sheet sizes sold online.

Have never looked into the cosplay materials market before. But it seems you are not only one looking for a cheaper solution? Web search turns up many references, such as:
https://www.amberbrite.com/tutorials/armorcraft/5-thermoplastic-alternatives-to-worbla/

PS – If you really want to know what it is, I know of several laboratories capable of reverse engineering polymer materials. If you willing to spend $15,000-$25,000 for the analytical work, can figure out major ingredients. Or for somewhere between $100K-$250K, one of the TPE suppliers probably willing to make you a clone of it, and for another $1M in equipment, you can market your own cosplay film.

LOL, Never ask an engineer questions, where you didn’t want a detailed answer, and/or solutions!

Best Luck!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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