Does anyone have a source for "Mylar" plastic sheet?

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Does anyone have a source for "Mylar" plastic sheet?

Post  MichaelLoos on Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:45 pm

Basically, the title says it all...
The first time I came across this material was about 15 years ago when I was talking to Mr Kelischek of Susato Instruments, they used it for crumhorn and other Early woodwind reeds. All my effort to get hold of this material in Germany failed.
When I started playing Italian zampogna I soon found there are basically two kinds of plastic reeds - the louder ones which are made from telephone cards (your platinum credit card should do the job, too), and the slightly quieter ones with the much more beautiful tone which are made from a cream or ivory-coloured material which turned out to be Mylar. So again I tried to find a source, and failed again...
Does anyone here have any experience with mysterious Mylar - where to get it, how to work it, any information is appreciated?
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Re: Does anyone have a source for "Mylar" plastic sheet?

Post  verdatum on Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:37 pm

True Mylar, is basically a stretched PET. PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is the type of plastic used in bottled-water bottles. I've only ever heard of Mylar being produced as a film; never as a thick sheet. (And contrary to popular belief, those metallic party balloons are not Mylar; they are made from a metalized vinyl sheet. People just assume that all metalized plastic film is Mylar.)

How do you know that your mystery plastic turned out to be Mylar? The phrase "Cream or ivory colored material" makes me think of polyurethane resin, since many formulations cure to an off-white color. However, polyurethane is more commonly used as a high detail casting resin, not for making stock sheet plastic.

Naturally, most any plastic can be tinted to nearly any color imaginable.

FYI, credit cards are made from laminated ABS plastic. I presume that you'd peel off the lamination film in the process of making a reed.


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Re: Does anyone have a source for "Mylar" plastic sheet?

Post  MichaelLoos on Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:29 am

I can only believe that this plastic is Mylar because zampogna players and -makers told me; but there is no reason why I shouldn't trust them.
But then again, someone else told me telephone cards were made from laminated polystyrene - maybe the materials differ from one country to another (they probably do, the last phone card I saw here a good few years age was made from cardboard).
So far, I've never had any success with water bottles although I know other people had.
Mylar is being produced in sheet form of various thicknesses by a company in Germany, unfortunately they won't sell a couple of sheets, I'd have to buy a ton of it.
Basically, I don't care much what it is, as long as I know that it works, and where I can get it from, so - I'm looking for the material known in Italy as "Mylar"...
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Re: Does anyone have a source for "Mylar" plastic sheet?

Post  verdatum on Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:18 am

It boarders on being deceptive, but in many situations, if you act as though you intend to buy a ton of product, you can get companies to ship you a small sample of the material for free. Speaking on behalf of a business certainly helps.

Phone cards are often polystyrene, since they don't need to be quite as durable, and they don't have the thermoformed printing on them.

Thinking about it a bit more, Mylar might make sense. Legere reeds involve a [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] to use biaxially oriented polymers in synthetic reeds (specifically polypropylene).

You could potentially make your own Mylar by tracking down a sheet of PET, heating it, stretching it in a single direction, heating it again, and cooling it slowly. This is similar to a technique used regularly in glassblowing.

In searching for mylar, other terms you might want t try are "BoPET", "Melinex" and "Hostaphan" (according to Wikipedia).

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