If you’ve been on an Inventionland tour lately, you’ve likely seen our two Mold-A-Rama machines. If you haven’t, keep reading to see them for yourself!
When schools, educators and community groups travel through our creative space, they are not only surrounded by a unique environment filled with innovation, but also by a bit of nostalgia.
On site are two Mold-A-Rama machines, which haven’t been manufactured since the 1960s. So, every machine that you see, including the two in Inventionland, are about half a century old!
Two Creationeers at Inventionland, Michael “Spicy” and Gordon, took a trip back in time when they got the chance to work on the Mold-A-Rama machines to make them function properly.
“They used to have one at the Pittsburgh Zoo. You put a quarter in it and it gave you a dinosaur. That was whenever I was a little kid,” said Gordon, who mentioned that while he was witness to that innovation, there was lack of another.
“There was no air conditioning in cars at the time, so by the time you got [your mold] home, it was melted!” said Gordon.
Spicy recalled a similar time in his childhood.
“I actually remember these when I was a kid. The first one my parents got me was when we were at the zoo. [The mold] was in the shape of a gorilla,” said Spicy. “It really brings me back to my childhood.”
The Mold-A-Rama may have been a fun attraction at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium at the time, however it no longer exists in that location. Could this mean that Inventionland houses the only two Mold-A-Rama machines in the Pittsburgh region? Though we can’t be sure, just the thought of that sounds pretty cool to us!
“When the machines came in, it was exciting seeing something from my past, my childhood,” said Spicy. “And to see it in the shape of something we actually use here was really cool. I really enjoy that,” said Spicy, referencing the two different molds that can be created by the machines – Chipper Cloud and an Inventionland logo.
While Gordon and Spicy were excited about the Mold-A-Ramas that brought back some childhood memories, our founder and CEO Mr. George Davison was excited because the machines are a perfect example of the injection blow molding process.
“It’s great that our tours full of kids will see this process first hand!” said Mr. Davison.
So, what exactly is the process and how does it work?
“A liquid plastic is blown in by compressed air. There’s an actual coolant cycle inside the machine, which keeps the molds themselves very cold. So when the hot plastic goes in, the mold is cooled instantly as soon as the material hits the molds. When it’s done, you have a nice, solid product!” said Gordon who had torn open the machines in order to fix them, seeing their inner workings and components.
Spicy, who also helped to work on the machines’ coin exchange, reiterated Gordon’s thoughts, mentioning the chiller and heater reservoirs – one chills the mold while the other heats the fluid. “The technology in the machines has sort of been updated, but it’s still very old school and uses very industrial mechanisms,” said Spicy.
“It was fun to work on old nostalgic machines, but you have to be gentle because you know they’re old. There are very few replacement parts left. They’re old machines; what can you say?!” said Gordon who was excited to repair the machines and get his first mold.
“When I fixed the machines, put in a quarter to test it and got my first mold, I thought ‘Wow! Is that neat!?'”
If there’s anything we might possibly be able to liken an old Mold-A-Rama to, perhaps it’s a modern 3D printer? Except, in this case, it’s not only older, but clunkier, and can only create one molded design!
See the Mold-A-Rama in action, below!
Want to see the Mold-A-Rama for yourself? Schedule an Inventionland tour today!
Copyright Inventionland, 2016