Plastics SIG and soon to be Committiee


Hello, after talking to Nick about Plastics SIG and all the research that was done into it while I was vice chair of 3D fab I offered to field all the questions and keep this SIG on track so it can become a committee soon, I want to help him keep this SIG compartmentalized so he can focus on machine shop stuff, He suggested I post here.

I asked NIck to talk to Stan and separate plastics from machine shops for now at least in the area of honorariums so member who are currently teaching can send some money into the coffers of Plastics so when we move and become a committee we will have lots of funds to start up. for now if you are a teacher and want honorarium funds to go to plastics just send oit to machine shop and let Nick know its meant for plastics.

I have started talks with a friend of mine who can possible let us use his roto caster, and we already have several member willing to donate simple machine tools for plastics.

I would like to use this thread as a sounding board for ideas and suggestions for Plastics and hopefully we can be up and running no long after to move.


Will Plastics be having a committee (chair) election when it becomes a committee?


Of course, it will be like any other committee


cool your jets everyone. The PigSig is not even off the ground yet.
The real estate has been allocated to the Machine shop with the intention that the machining of plastics and composites will be an integral part of what happens in that area so any thought of moving away from that will result in another DMS merger war before things even start. Everyone is welcome and it will be good to also move in the direction of doing molds and resin casting. my suggestion is that this discussion be delayed until after the move. 220 sf is not a lot of room and is going to get filled up really quick. while I can understand someone’s desire to lead a committee it will not be done at the expense of the machine shop resources.


Adding to Nick’s comments - this doesn’t mean the SIG can’t proceed it’s planning for equipment an decide who is to be the SIG leader. Plastics folks were invited to last Machine Shop & Plastics Committee meeting. One person showed up. But currently Plastics and the area allocated is under Machine Shop and when it requested it as part of Machine Shop it did not request additional funding to support it.

If you have specific equipment in mind, I suggest you get the foot print dimensions so full size template can be made. Then help in deciding what will go in there and the arrangement.

Right now, equipment I believe that has been talked about and planned on:

  • The vacuum former
  • A dedicated plastics band saw
  • A dedicated router for edge finishing/beveling
  • Dust collector - for plastics dust
  • Dedicated plastics drill press
  • A new heat forming table (elements to heat both sides)
  • Work table / bagging table

Other items planned on being acquired that can be stored under tables: pressure and vacuum pots, wire foam cutters, heat guns, misc tools.

Other items desired that I’ve heard mentioned: roto-caster (need foot print fro template). But need input so it can be planned. Don’t think Machine Shop is anti-Plastics, we want it to a be an active vibrant group. Machine Shop has always allowed plastics to be machined. If you want fast start, this is your best opportunity as it already has a committee supporting it.


And I think last night’s Resin SIG meeting (enthusiastically attended by 25 ppl.) went a long way to establishing some organization around identifying and attaining these types of goals.

This SIG is quite interesting in that it could be leveraged/integrated across multiple Committee areas at DMS. As such, it might have ‘asset tentacles’ in Machine shop, CA, Woodshop, etc. (e.g., lathe-based Resin buffing wheels). @nicksilva rightly mentioned during the first Resin SIG meeting that Cosplay, Jewelry, and other areas would draw interest in Resin usage. As a result, it may be advantageous to look at Plastics/Resin as a ‘child of many Committee parents.’

But what would that look like? Is there a precedent at DMS for this type of situation? Inquiring minds want to know.


There are many aspects of “plastics” and working with it. Resins, especially in the form casting, wood projects etc. may be better suited under Ca or Wood Shop, Machine Shops focus will be mainly on thermal forming, machining, assembly, composites, etc. Obviously, certain aspects will be done in laser or on the third Blue moon of a month on the Mutlicam (when taught - sure they need instructors).

I don;t believe anyone believes “All forms of Plastic work” will be in one location, committees the their equipment have different attributes that are best served in different locations. I don’t see saws, edge routers, etc. being in CA, but are naturals as part of Machine Shops. 3D Fab is a world unto itself. Electronics has a very specialized router for PCB boards. This isn’t a LOTR approach to bind them all in one place. There are plastics you an’t laser but can machine - they are complimentary.


Agreed, but what does that form of government ‘look like’?

Asset management




And referring back to my original question…”Is there a precedent at DMS that we can draw from to help establish this governance model”?


My experience with SIGs was in CA when @uglyknees and I formally set them up. The committee bought roller cabinets, provided initial tool funding, and the tools associated with that SIG.

They were basically told “It is your area of special interest, you decide how to run it.” They select a team leader, own meetings, goals, etc.

The CA committee then basically asked at committee meetings: what are you doing, what do you need? Then the committee allocates funds.

All honorariums go to committees. But committees also realize which ones are bringing in the funds and that is a consideration in internal allocations. Often, committees see a SIG needs funding for tools so they support that hoping to jump start it. What goes around comes around, funds raised by all SIGs support the committee.

Honorariums are not the exclusive property of the SIGs … The committee is also providing assets including space. A personal observation has been that everyone is treated fairly.

Governance: if it works for your SIG then it works. No real formal rules, the members of the SIG decide. The common traits to successful SIGs and Committees: leader that delegates and inspires and key folks to help them, doing what the group wants to do.


Sounds like majority Committee sponsorship in one area with honorariums (or partial honorariums) possibly coming in from other Committee areas, where relevant, for classes that have a partial scope in resin / plastic, but which may be taught via Machine shop, CA, woodshop, etc.

I see the SIG leader in this scenario needing to be an adept Statesman.

Does the Board have the ability to allocate ‘seed funds’ to such a SIG? Via the ‘Host Committee’ or otherwise?


BoD allocates to the Committee that requests the funds on behalf of the SIG.

You’re right about the leader being statesman, dictators lose support fast. SIGs have sub-areas of interest.


Count me in as interested in joining this group.


Show up at Machine Shop committee meetings. Get a group together and meet on just plastics.