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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:23 am 
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So I'm doing this commission of a replica pipe from the movie The Hobbit. The "actual" pipe has this funky brass stem that matches the decorative brass rings on it. I made stem number one from Rhinoplastic and it snapped in three pieces when I bent it. Stem number two was made from acrylester, which is also a thermoset, and it snapped in two pieces during bending.

I found some Alumilite blanks that look like they will do the job, but I'm not sure if Alumilite is a thermoplastic, or another thermoset. The cross section of the stem is round, not flat, so it really needs to be bendable when heated. Anybody have experience with Alumilite or know of a source for antique gold/brass/bronze acrylic?

Here's the pipe I've been tasked with replicating. You can buy prop replicas but they are just cast resin and not smokable; the guy wanted one he cold actually smoke.
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Yeah, I probably should have turned down this commission :?

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:05 am 
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The Alumilite blanks are cast epoxy resin, they don't bend with heat like the normal stem stuff does. I would guess the best way would be to cast it with the hole in place. You will need a 2 part mold, with in insert for the airway. I believe there are some tutorials on the Alumilite website, but from experience, you will need more than their or any of the other tutorials to get it done. Freeman Supply also has some tutorials on mold making and casting, so does the Smooth-On site.

From the picture, it appears the bent stem is brass tubing. I would try the hand held tubing bender from Harbor Freight, fill the tube with sand and go for it. Getting the "loops" on the tube could be a solder and fit of compression rings. Once soldered in place, they can be file or "Dremeled" to shape. Use silver solder so it won't be toxic.

Anther idea would be to contact Dan Morrison of DM Pipes and ask him. He used be on here, I can't recall his screen name, but he made these types of pipes. He used wood and made the bent stems with 2 pieces, cut the air hole and glued them together, then shaped the outside. http://www.dmpipes.com/contact.php


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 9:29 am 
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What about getting some 1/4" brass tubing and bending that, then attaching a brass/alumilite/whatever stem to it after the bend? You can order tubing from Amazon or McMaster that has the properties of thin wall and whatever finish you want.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 10:33 am 
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Search for acrylic pen blanks. I remember seeing one that was pretty close.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:59 am 
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Doc: I considered casting and carving. Lots of work, and the way the rest of the pipe is constructed I'd still need to turn a regular tenon on the stem. Too much work for this lazy boy. The split and hollow is something I hadn't thought of though. Great idea.

Jeremiah: I think this is the route I'm headed. The second step split into two pieces, and I've already got both fragments drilled to accept a 1/4" piece of tubing. My preference would still be a single piece for durability reasons, but I'm thinking if I treat the glue up just like a delrin tenon I should be ok.

Premal: any chance you remember where? I turn pens so I've already checked the dozen or so places I normally look for pen blanks, plus a bunch of the smaller ones. I've been looking online for a couple months and haven't seen anything suitable that wasn't a polyester. The closest I've found was Exotic Blanks' metallics: https://www.exoticblanks.com/Metallic-Bronze-Blank.html I emailed them asking whether these are acrylic but haven't heard back yet. Anyway, I've definitely been looking.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:10 pm 
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For the curious, here's a pic of the pipe with a sad stump of a snapped stem.
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:52 pm 
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Ratimus wrote:
The closest I've found was Exotic Blanks' metallics: https://www.exoticblanks.com/Metallic-Bronze-Blank.html I emailed them asking whether these are acrylic but haven't heard back yet. Anyway, I've definitely been looking.


Heard back from him. It's a poly resin.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:56 pm 
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ED at Exotic Blanks might be able to cast you one to a basic shape. But it will be up to you to drill out the airway and shape the outside.


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