How Do You Use Screws With Plastic?


Screws are not a modern invention. To name an example, the Mediterranean world often used screw presses for squeezing grape juice from grapes as well as olive oil from olives. However, screw presses aren’t quite what most people think of when they think of screws. Instead, chances are good that the word “screw” brings up images of screws used for fastening things. Those aren’t modern inventions either. However, screws used for fastening things seemed to have taken some time to become widespread. Essentially, there is evidence of their use in medieval Europe, but that same evidence suggests that they were rare until the late 18th century. Before that, people used other methods such as nails, dovetails, and binding for the purpose of fastening. Meanwhile, screws used for fastening didn’t become commonplace until machine tools made it possible to produce them in massive numbers. This makes sense because while pre-modern smiths were capable of very fine work, they weren’t capable of producing the kind of identical precision that have secured screws their place in the modern world.

A Short Introduction to Plastic

Moving on, plastic tends to refer to the fossil fuel-derived materials that dominate the modern world. However, it is interesting to note that plastics can be made from renewable materials such as corn and cotton as well. In this, we are following in the footsteps of our predecessors, seeing as how humans have been using natural polymeric materials for a very long time. For example, the Mesoamericans were using natural rubber for making balls and other items since well before the Columbian Exchange. Similarly, shellac has been a very popular resin for a very long time. Still, parkesine is believed to have been the first man-made plastic. It isn’t quite what a lot of people imagine when they think of plastic because it was made using cellulose treated with nitric acid. Nonetheless, the creation of parkesine in 1855 paved the way for others to follow. By 1907, the first fully-synthetic plastic bakelite had been created. Soon enough, continuing technological advancement brought about a huge increase in the number of new plastics following World War One. Eventually, these took on a wide range of roles in the modern world, with the result that plastics have become critical for our way of life. Of course, this increased convenience for people hasn’t meant wonderful things in every single respect. In particular, plastics have earned a notorious reputation for their very slow decomposition rate, meaning that plastic litter won’t just go away within a relatively short period of time. Moreover, the challenges in both cleaning and sorting used plastics mean that they don’t have a particularly high recycling rate. Thanks to that, it is common for plastics to wind up in either landfills or other less than ideal locations. Still, plastics are extremely useful, meaning that there isn’t an easy solution to this problem.

How Do You Use Screws with Plastic?

Some people might wonder if it is possible to use screws with plastic. If so, the answer is “Yes.” However, using screws with plastic comes with certain challenges, which interested individuals will want to keep in mind. To name an example, a lot of plastics are very rigid. This is something that can be useful under certain circumstances. However, increased rigidity in this context means an increased chance of the material cracking. As a result, people shouldn’t just try to drive a screw through the plastic. Instead, people should drill a hole in the plastic beforehand, which should make the process much smoother than otherwise possible. They should make sure to use a drill bit that is a bit larger than the screw so that the resulting hole will allow for the thermal expansion of the material.

Sometimes, this solution won’t be very useful. Should this prove to be the case, people might want to look into a method that will enable them to drive in the screws without drilling holes beforehand. They will want to start by marking out the places on the plastic where they want to drive in screws. After which, people should use a lighter to heat up the tip of each screw for about five seconds. This should be enough to enable them to drive in the screw through the plastic, which should melt rather than crack. If people are doing a project in which the screw will stick out of the other side of the plastic, they are going to need to put in some extra effort if they want to remove that protruding part. First, they should get a scrap piece of plastic that has the same thickness as the plastic that they are working with. Second, they should drive in the screw through that scrap piece of plastic. Third, they should use a file to remove the protruding part. Fourth, they should remove the perfected screw. Fifth, they should insert the perfected screw into the plastic that they are working with.

On a final note, people should always wear personal protective equipment when working on such projects. They might assume that they will be alright. However, no one can predict the future with perfect precision, meaning that it is better to be prepared for potential hazards than not. There is a wide range of personal protective equipment that can prove useful. For example, hard hats and bump caps are helpful for those who are concerned about impacts to the head. Similarly, there is protective eyewear for preventing things from flying into the eyes as well as masks for preventing people from breathing in unwanted substances. Work gloves are also extremely useful for protecting people’s hands from cuts, scrapes, and extreme temperatures, so it should come as no surprise to learn that work clothing can serve much the same function but for the rest of the body. Personal well-being is important, meaning that people should make the effort to protect themselves.

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