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About a year ago, I lost my Eddie Bauer water bottle, similar to this one:

eddie bauer bottle

I've been trying to find a replacement, but it seems they've discontinued the model.

With that in mind, I'm planning on purchasing this bottle:

nalgene bottle

Unfortunately, the nalgene doesn't have the molded grip which so endeared me to my original bottle.

So..I'd like to mold them in!

The amazon page says the bottle is suitable for liquids in the range of -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit

My question is:

Should I heat the whole bottle up and indent the desired grip with a cool implement, heat up the implement and press it into the bottle, or some other solution?

An ideal answer would not only provide justification for the proposed method, but also suggestions on the most feasible way to enact it.

  • Why the downvotes? what's wrong with my question? – FuriousFolder Aug 20 '15 at 19:37
  • It looks a good question. Maybe because you ask "My question is: Should I ..." which can be answered yes or not. You should edit the question to make it more clear what you are asking – vladiz Aug 21 '15 at 6:42
  • Not being antagonistic: What about "An ideal answer would not only provide justification for the proposed method, but also suggestions on the most feasible way to enact it." is unclear? – FuriousFolder Aug 21 '15 at 13:20
  • ok, then there should be other reason for someone not to like your question, which I can't understand – vladiz Aug 21 '15 at 13:35
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    I agree with @BrownRedHawk, you must be able to find another replacement with a suitable grip. Of course, it won't be like your old one, but you should find something you like. Especially considering that trying to melt one into a shape has a lot of potential to end up disastrous. No offence, but stretching the plastic thins it, and you could end up with holes due to thinning, and it looking pretty ugly in general. Trying to hack one is lots of time and money spent with trial and error, you could likely spend less buying a few already with molded grip and just using the one you like. – James Aug 21 '15 at 16:02
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Currently, Nalgene bottles are made from a BPA Free, Copolyester called "Tritan".

From literature on a similar medical grade version HERE

It looks as though you have to take it to AT LEAST 110C to get it to "glass transition" state, basically meaning it's almost workable.

The difficulty here, is to achieve this temperature, you may need something other than boiling water, or similar.

My suggestion (assuming you don't mind some trial and error, and losing some bottles in the meantime) is to heat the entire unit in an over set to just as close to 110C as you can.

Then using some implements (wooden spoons, kitchen utensils, gloved hands, etc) manipulate it as you see fit. Also, I would cool it slowly to avoid introducing too much stress, too quickly to vessel which could cause cracks.

Note(s): You want to keep the lid on the bottle I'm assuming, so take care not to deform the threaded area around the mouth of the bottle.

Some plastics also have a "memory" to their molded shape, so even if you heat it and form it, the bottle may eventually resume its original shape (part of its benefit for some applications).

IMO - the amount of effort and potential loss of a few water bottles may be more time, energy and cost than an extended research of products online.

  • Thanks for the answer, but I'm really looking for a compelling reason for why I ought to heat the entire bottle vs heating up the implement – FuriousFolder Aug 20 '15 at 19:39
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    Heating up the implement will localize the stress of the alteration, and WILL cause cracking, dis-colorization and effectively cause the "alteration" to fail. Even though this is a type of "plastic" it is not like a LDP, or HDP plastic, it is actually somewhat brittle when subject to variation of temperature since its expansion coefficients are somewhat large compared to its pliability. – BrownRedHawk Aug 20 '15 at 19:57
  • Would you cite a source, please? I didn't find anything about what you described in the link you posted :S – FuriousFolder Aug 20 '15 at 20:07
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    Practical Experience in the manufactured plastic industry, including vac forming and injection molding. – BrownRedHawk Aug 20 '15 at 20:08
  • The good thing is that if you destroy the first one by heating up the implement you can try on a second one. And a third. And a fourth. – jqning Aug 21 '15 at 2:44
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If you are keen to do the experiment it should be possible. The volume measurement markings will no longer be exactly calibrated but the error should be smaller than casual measuring would require.

You need to prepare 3 things

  • An adjustable temperature hot air gun (or a blow torch if looks don't matter)
  • A curved insulating mask (thick card stock or many thin cards) with a hole the size of one indentation (or all of them if you are a gambler)
  • A hose and connection to a source of vacuum such as your mouth suction that can be fitted to bottle neck

Hook up suction, align mask, heat with 120degC hot air and use judgement. Hold vacuum until plastic cools again.

EDIT:
The best source for a mask would be a cardboard shipping tube or roll material core that the bottle would fit in with not too much space. Open the hole with a few drill holes and shape it with a fine rasp.

The aim is to limit the amount of hot air that gets past the mask.

The required 120 degC is not very hot and most any non-plastic fibrous material will work.

Sticking a layer of tin/aluminium foil to the outside (or using some form of metallized heat shielding) might be the best if you want to go into production. The reflective shielding would probably allow you to use radiant heating (slower but more controllable) and it would basically be localised vacuum forming.

  • So the idea is to direct the heat directly onto the bottle, through the hole in the insulating mask? This I like. Would card stock provide enough of a barrier to keep the heat from leaching through, or would something like a hot pad be better? – FuriousFolder Sep 2 '15 at 20:33

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