Should plastic mold recipe be in more books?

Plastic mold seems to be fairly basic (fabrication skill 2 required) and also pretty essential (used in a bunch of useful recipes). Now that it is not an auto-learn recipe it is only available in
Plastics & Polymers: Projects for the Classroom (level 1)
I feel that this is something that should be covered in more books than that.


Do you have examples of what kinds of books you would find it in?

Well, if we look at the recipes that use Plastic Mold and see what books they are included in that might be a start.

So maybe some of …
The Essential Oil Enthusiasts Handbook (level 2)
DIY Compendium (level 2)
The Handloader’s Helper (level 6)
Outdoor Adventures (level 4)
Pitching a Tent (level 4)
Outdoor Survival Guide (level 4)
101 Crafts for Beginners (level 4)

I think that should be plenty, and at least some of those look pretty likely to include such a recipe.

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These two seem relevant to a Plastic Mold and broad enough to include it.


There’s also some discussion that Plastic mold should be autolearned.

They used to be autolearned before they were changed to not be.

I think there’s a good case for at least the following three to also be included.
Outdoor Adventures
Pitching a Tent
Outdoor Survival Guide
These books are sold on the ‘how to survive in the wilderness’ basis and include recipes that use plastic mold. People aren’t going to be happy if they find they have to also buy a chemistry or DIY book as well to do the things in them.

P.S. The discussion you link to includes a comment to the effect that ‘books (with the recipe) could be made more common’. It wasn’t followed up on, AFAIK, so this would be a good opportunity to do so.

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Completely agree here, I understand the removal of auto-learn but given not only the importance of the recipe but also the simplicity of it, the fact that only one book has it is a major oversight, especially considering how many of the existing books would make sense to have it in them, as documented by the other comments here.

You could also argue that the recipes that require a plastic mold should not be contained in those books. Additionally, the tools required to make something is not always included in a recipe book. If I were to get a book on woodworking, I would not expect it to contain instructions on forging woodworking tools.

That just pushes the question back to whether there should be more plastic molds found in the game vs more books on how to make them. I have never found a plastic mold (do they actually drop anywhere?) but I have found wood saws, clamps and chisels.

I think it would help if it was clearer (to me, and people in this thread) what a ‘plastic mold’ was and how it was used.

[EDIT] Oh, hey, one thing that I’m pretty sure is a confusing bug is that the ‘plastic mold’ is shown as being made of plastic from a chunk of plastic. Judging by the recipes I think that this should actually be something used for moulding plastic, and NOT a mould MADE OF plastic. Now there are moulds that are made of plastic, but they are used to mould things OTHER than plastic (like wax).

In the linked discussion about whether plastic mold should be autolearned it was said that they were clamshell molds Something like these ? I didn’t have much luck with my Google Fu.

Relevant to the point about making vs finding is that the only current book to include the recipe is an early classroom textbook. You would absolutely not expect to find “How to make a saw” or “How to forge a chisel” in an early classroom book on woodworking, so - taking it for the moment that its inclusion in that textbook is not a mistake - we can deduce that a clamshell(?) plastic mold is something that is reasonably expected to be made by a relatively unskilled individual. Where people are being given survival / camping tips step one is unlikely to be “Now drive 30 miles to the nearest town and buy this relatively obscure tool”.

If the inclusion of the recipe in the only book in which it currently appears is a mistake then that’s a whole different ball game and we are back to “these things should be found more often”.

[EDITx2] Actually, unless I see evidence to the contrary, my suspicion is that moulds are generally things that are made per job and not something that is ‘one size fits all’. You can’t take a random ‘plastic mold’ and use it to both make a plastic rake and a plastic bucket.

I’ve not gone through every plastic recipe, but an example would be the in-game survival book Pitching a Tent. It has one single recipe that needs a plastic mold, and is the pro fishing rod. To make such a rod, you also need 5 fabrication, something the book does not teach, nor would any author expect from a typical hiker. This indicates that the book does not have a step-by-step guide to making a modern fishing rod from scratch, but rather it contains enough information about fishing rods (usage, maintenance, or minor repair) to allow a skilled craftsman to create a functional rod. You could argue that there should be a pro fishing rod recipe that’s auto-learned if you have a fishing proficiency of some kind, but that’s a different discussion from this one.

EDIT: I do agree that the plastic mold as an item is weird to begin with.

I think I can agree on ‘the plastic mold item’ is mostly broken point.

P.S. I added some stuff to my previous post before I saw your reply.

Migrating to component specific molds seem like a good idea for a non-lazy person to do. I still don’t think molding should be learned in survival books. Are we in disagreement on the idea of derived recipes instead of explicit written instructions?

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To be honest, I think there are probably some of each. Exactly which books would have explicit written instructions and which wouldn’t is something for detailed consideration which I won’t get into now.

Are we in disagreement on there needing to be more books that tell people how to make plastic molds? Because I have no problem in arguing about the inclusion / exclusion of specific books but I stand by the general point that just one book isn’t enough.

I have no issue with mold being included in more books, but I don’t think that it should be included for balance reasons. If the methods to make the molds are esoteric, they should be rare. If they are common, even across different hobbies, it should be found in all manner of places.

Eh, if it was esoteric it wouldn’t be in an early textbook.

Now I don’t know what specific sort of mold it really is (I’m not sure anybody does) but the general method I would use would be

  • Have a hot metal or pottery mould with a hollow the shape of the desired plastic object.
  • Pour molten plastic into the mould.
  • (If desired object is solid) Leave to cool - place in water to speed up cooling if desired
  • (If desired object is hollow) Wearing gloves turn mould over and over to get even covering then, while continuing to turn it over, place in water to speed cooling.
  • (If metal) open up mould and remove plastic object. This type is harder to make but you can reuse it.
  • (If pottery) probably just smash it and make a new one for the next object.

Would that work? Probably. Is it auto-learnable? Maybe. Do I know what I’m talking about? A little (not a lot). :stuck_out_tongue:

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So to add onto the point that the concept of a case by case plastic mold would be more realistic and generally believable, wouldn’t the ability to make that mold, on a case by case basis (likely following the above instruction guidelines) be able to be condensed into something else? Rather than having a “plastic mold” item that is unrealistically one size fits all, what about instead having each recipe that currently requires a plastic mold instead require chunks of plastic, and plastic working proficiency? This could represent that the character is using the plastic chunks to make the mold for the item as part of the process of making the item itself, would demonstrate that in many cases these molds are not reusable, and would also imply via the proficiency requirement that making the molds isn’t something every joe shmoe rando would be able to do without an amount of requisite understanding of the concept (lets be real, the skill requirements for the plastic mold item are not high - the only real blocking point right now is the lack of teaching books). The “plastic mold” item could then either be removed entirely or moved to recipes that would theoretically use the specific type of aforementioned mold (in this case clamshell has been mentioned) alone, rather than all recipes requiring molds in general.

The way the item works in-game, it’s used for casting plastic, is made of plastic, and is reusable for different projects. As far as I can tell, that’s not how plastic behaves IRL. As 81Denton mentioned in #32883: “casting a material into a mold made of the same material is a horrible idea since both will have a similar melting point”.

The item is a mold made of plastic. From what @Zireael said in #32883, it’s a clamshell mold made by melting a couple of plastic bowls together around an object. #32883 generalized the recipe’s materials, so that plastic chunks could be used instead.

The item is also used as a mold for casting plastic. Recipes that call for it all use plasticworking and plastic materials (usually chunks), and produce items made partly or entirely of plastic.


This learning resource has a lot of practical and conceptual info about reusing plastic. A thermoset material is plastic until it sets, and then cannot be remelted or reshaped. A thermoplastic material can be remelted once it sets into a form, and then reformed. Real-world recycling labels identify seven different types of thermoplastic, based on the materials’ reuse characteristics. There’s also elastomers like rubber and silicon. It seems that our “plastic chunks” in game would all be thermoplastics.

This DIY plastic lumber describes a method of casting plastic with a makeshift mold. This isn’t a clamshell. It doesn’t reproduce an existing shape. The mold itself is partly made of a different plastic (a different plastic with a higher melting point), but also a wine bottle is used. The shapes that can be produced are limited by the shapes of objects used as makeshift mold. This guide also mentions melting the plastic in oil for temperature control, to avoid burning.

This DIY guide to resin casting details a common technique that uses modelling clay, with silicon as the molding material. Similar techniques are mentioned in this howto and these instructions. All of these links basically describe the “2 part silicon/resin molds” that Xpyder mentioned in #45293. The aren’t made of plastic, and some of the mold materials aren’t reusable for other shapes.

This introduction to molding materials mentions that technique and similar methods that would have the same requirement for non-reusable molding materials.


A batch-crafting “discount” could reflect single-purpose molds for plastic items. A single run would take longer, but multiple runs would be quicker with the reused mold. This ignores the fact that the mold could be reused later, but it has the benefit of being simple to use in-game. It goes away from realism for easy use.

For more realism, the molding material itself might need time to set; maybe finished plastic products also need time to set. Either could work like e.g. tanning, where the crafted item has a timer, after which the item needs to be activated to transform into the final product. Making plastic stuff could take a while.

So, if I follow correctly, your suggestion is onboard to remove the plastic mold tool entirely, and replace it with a change to crafting times and procedures for items that currently require it? I apologize, I had been under the impression that there were items that used the mold currently that were metalworking exclusively, but after your comment I reviewed the recipes and found that you are in fact correct about the molds being plastic molded by more plastic exclusively, which as you point out, following mentions in #32883, is completely unrealistic. Between the two concepts you suggest afterwards, I personally believe the second fits the situation better in almost every respect, but there could be those that would argue either way. Right now, a number of the recipes that use molded plastic have lengths of time that likely were afforded for allowing the items to set, and given that with the current implementation of weariness crafting causes weariness, I’m inclined to support any change that would reduce the amount of “crafting time” spent essentially waiting around, but getting tired for it. That said, there are some that would take a minimum of the time currently afforded them as active crafting time, and I do recognize those.

Unless you are casting candles, switching plastic to clay for the mould material (whether an explicit item or not) would seem to be the way to go. While silicone is nice (I vaguely recall using casting lead figures in silicone moulds before kids weren’t allowed to do that anymore) clay is a known, obtainable, material in CCDA. Can you just add clay to all the plastic casting recipes as a ‘catalyst’? Required to make stuff, but not used up.

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