Making a small sieve set for pyro chemicals

As I’m just starting out into making some basic pyro (rather than just firing it) I decided I’d need a mesh sieve set for sorting and checking the granular size of chemical powders. With some inspiration from Cooperman435’s home-made set I saw some time back I decided to make a small stacking set.

I purchased a selection of 9 small mesh squares (10x10cm each) in grades from #10 to #300 (holes per inch) from eBay (£8+pp). Now obviously this won’t meet all my needs as I progress, but it’s a good start I think. I bought 10 really cheap plastic food tubs from Sainsbury’s (350ml, 34p each), and using a junior hacksaw cut the bottoms off of 9 of them, keeping one as a bowl to sieve the chemicals into.

I placed a non-stick baking sheet (baking tray with no lip) onto my hob to heat it up and then placed one of the mesh squares onto it. With the lid still on one of the tubs I pressed the cut edge down onto the mesh with some light pressure applied as evenly as possible. After a second or two you can see and feel the plastic edge start to melt into the mesh. I checked all round to make sure it had melted right around the tub’s edge and then moved it and the tray off of the heat. After a few seconds cooling down the plastic sets and you can pull it away from the baking sheet.

My first attempt didn’t melt all the way round the edge so I had to redo it but after that it was really simple to do the rest. I also found that you have to keep the pressure quite light but as even as possible other wise once the plastic starts to melt the edges of the tub would slide and deform out of their circle shape.

I wrote the mesh size on the side of the tubs in permanent marker. When I’d finished them all I carefully trimmed round the bottom edge of each tub with wire cutters, removing the overhanging mesh. In order for the tubs to still stack I needed to trim right up to the very edge of the tub, also removing the outer lip of melted plastic that had formed as it squeezed out. If you’re doing this be careful as the ends of the cut mesh wires can be sharp around the bottom outer edge of each sieve so watch out for scratches!

That’s it, they all stack nicely now and make a very compact set, suitable for grading small amounts of chemicals and compositions. About 2.5 hours total time to make this set.

View full photo set on Flickr

Video

See me melting one of the tubs onto the mesh square, exciting times!

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