PCL or polycaprolactone

If this is the first time you hear this name, you are in luck because today you are going to be surprised. PCL is a thermoplastic plastic that we can mold with our hands when heating it around 60ºC and that hardens in the cold and we can repeat the process over and over again, hundreds of times.

which can be made with pl or plastimake, instamorph or polymorph

As it cools, it becomes hard and tenacious, does not conduct electricity or heat, is non-toxic and biodegradable. It seems the perfect solution for our inventions doesn't it?

To me reminds me of the Sugru, but being able to reuse it and it seems that it is more difficult to manipulate. Although of course being able to reuse it over and over again is a very important point.

See how magic happens…. 

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I really like the video of Plastimake, where we can see how it is used, its hardness and resistance and some very creative uses. Buy it here

If we get more technical, the PCL or polycaprolactone (polycaprolactone) is a biodegradable polyester, a thermoplastic polymer. It has a low melting point so above 60ºC it becomes malleable. Being thermoplastic we can heat it to reuse it as many times as we want, until it degrades.

synthesis of PCL or polycaprolactone such as plastimaker or instamorph

If you want information about the polymer, go to Wikipedia .

Main uses of PCL

It has several interesting uses, leaving aside that it is used as an additive with other polymers, etc.

It's used in medicine, they create thread for surgery that the body is then able to absorb. Polycaprolactone takes a couple of years to absorb, but there is a faster variant.

And then there is the use that interests us for hobbies for a plastic to mold with your hands, to develop any invention or make repairs. From pieces for our projects, (kites, radio control, robots) to molds or as "glue" to join different pieces.

There are also colorants to give color to our creations.

Its use is left to our imagination. What I still haven't found is how to synthesize it in a homemade way in the home kitchen, which does not have to be able to make an eye, and I do not know if it will be worth trying to create our own instead of buying it.

PCL can be obtained by the open ring polymerization of ε-caprolactone, using a catalyst such as tin octanate.

But if someone knows how to do it write to us please.

Commercial Names

We can find it under different commercial names depending on the country of sale, but in the end it is still PCL, yes, perhaps with different purity, we should look at it. So if you are looking for PCL or Polycaprolactone take a look at these brands.

  • Hand Moldable Plastic, (USA)
  • Mold-Your-Own Grips, (USA)
  • Simple-Plastic, (USA)
  • InstaMorph, (USA)
  • Shapelock, (USA)
  • Missing Link (USA)
  • Friendly Plastic (USA)
  • Polymorph in the UK,
  • Plastimake in Australia,
  • Protoplast in the Netherlands,
  • Plastiform in France
  • Plastypoly (Spain)

Where to buy Polycaprolactone in Spain

Here in Spain there is Plastypoly that they sell through ebay, which seems quite expensive compared to some other brand. If you want Plymorph you have a good price here!

Yes, I am waiting for it to come to me to do tests and things that I have in mind and I will come with some interesting reviews and experiments.

10 comments on "The PCL or polycaprolactone"

    • wow ... you're right, what a mistake :-(

      We are now nine years old and I haven't said anything. It goes entry, although this year there will be no raffle.

      thank you very much for the warning

  1. Hello Nacho:

    My appreciation and admiration for your dedication to disseminating science in its various manifestations, but especially for the application that you have achieved as an Industrial Engineer.

    I am interested in receiving your publications periodically. I work with boys since I am a teacher and friend of science and knowledge through play and recreation.

    Thank you
    Roberto Melo

  2. Very interesting, with what name can I find it in Colombia or what is the product made of to be able to search, thank you very much for your help

  3. Good morning,

    Regarding the use of glue, it must be clarified that it does not adhere to any material. To facilitate adhesion, the pieces to be joined must be pre-heated, normally with plastic / rubber pieces it adheres perfectly.
    The PCL is easy to model and once hard it can be machined thanks to its great resistance. Another very common use is to use it as a mold or to fill it. Another sector that uses this material is dentistry

    I leave you our YouTube and Facebook channel so that you can see different uses and ways of working with this material:

    Some basic differences of PCL and Sugru
    PCL is reusable without losing its qualities and Sugru expires after a few months.
    PCL can cool instantly and Sugru has to wait almost a day.
    PCL does not hold more than 60º without deforming and Sugru supports more than 100º.
    PCL can be tinted (even glitter) and painted with any plastic paint, Sugru you can only mix it with the colors it comes with.

    PCL has many types of density ranging from 4k to 7k, the lower the molecular density the stickier it becomes when molding and the higher the molecular density the less workable it is.

    We are manufacturers of this material and we sell it under the name Funplast. For any questions on the use of this material we will be happy to clarify them. We have rates for wholesale, retail and for professionals.

    A greeting


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