Exploring New Joining Methods: Heat Shrunk Wrap

The Joints Team are exploring several new joining methods. We were inspired by heat shrinking plastic bottles but found that the joints could not withstand the stresses if used on a bicycle. Here we are exploring another heat shrinking method using a PVC wrap typically used in food packing and storage.

Here’s our step by step guide of building a bamboo joint with heat shrink wrap:

  1. Firstly, choose bamboo with required diameters (30mm and 60mm).
  2. Tape around area of bamboo to be cut to avoid splitting. Cut bamboo to desired length.
  3. Make a mitre joint. This was done using a jog to stabilise the drill which was used to cut out a curved end.
  4. Place bamboo into desired angle and position.
  5. Join the bamboo using the heat shrunk wrap. Wrap around a few times and use heat gun at 150°C to shrink material.
  6. Repeat wrapping and heating process around 15 times or until joint is stabilised.

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Whilst this process showed better potential over heat shrinking plastic bottles, there were some significant issues. The joint worked well in tension but not compression. Also, a lot of material was needed to stabilise the joint which results in a very bulky joint adding to the weight. It also lacked aesthetically.

We’ve got other methods in the pipeline. For now, back to the drawing board.

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