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Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/04/2017 10:32 PM

I wish to write on the surface of polyethylene bottles that will hold oil. From past experience, nothing written on the bottles with indelible ink has stayed on the bottle. Polyethylene being a very slippery plastic doesn't seem to accept an ink. I've tried adhesive stickers, but they soon fall off. Anyone know of a medium that will stay on the bottle permanently?

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#1

Re: Writing on polyethylene bottles

12/04/2017 11:31 PM

Hit the surface with a little 220 grit sandpaper, clean the surface with Isopropyl alcohol , write with a sharpie and cover it with packing tape, the real thin clear type, wrap the tape all the way around the bottle....fill the bottle with a liquid first and put the top on to make the bottle firm....

https://www.bottompaintstore.com/blog/bottom-paint/apply-paint-polyethylene-polypropylene-abs-petpbt-blends/

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#8
In reply to #1

Re: Writing on polyethylene bottles

12/05/2017 1:01 PM

Yep, this is my go to method also.

A cheap simple solution for that odd bottle or canister.

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#2

Re: Writing on polyethylene bottles

12/04/2017 11:59 PM

Could you post a photo of the bottles? Might help, SEs reply notwithstanding.

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Writing on polyethylene bottles

12/05/2017 12:35 AM

"Bottles made of polyethylene (2 and 4) and polypropylene (5 and PP) are suitable for multiple uses. They’re relatively safe if you only store cold water in them and regularly disinfect them."

https://brightside.me/wonder-curiosities/3-signs-that-you-should-never-reuse-plastic-bottles-349210/

http://www.bottledwater.org/education/recycling/pet-facts

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#4

Re: Writing on polyethylene bottles

12/05/2017 1:11 AM

I would take a look at laser engraving. Advertisement is all over this forum!

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#5

Re: Writing on polyethylene bottles

12/05/2017 5:45 AM

Polyethylene is, in laymen's terms, ultra high molecular weight wax.

Basically you have two choices. Flame treating the surface, or using a soldering iron to "brand" the surface, then maybe over-writing that with a Sharpie. Flame treating consists of exposing the surface to a suitable oxidizing flame for a period in the range 0.2 to 3.0 seconds.

Some of the other suggestions may also work, depending on how much you handle the bottles.

Forget laser marking because that won't be cheap.

Here's a site:

Flame Treatment of Plastic Substrates for Adhesive Bonding - The ... But I'd check some other sources for more detail.

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#6

Re: Writing on polyethylene bottles

12/05/2017 6:16 AM

When I worked with PE pipe we would mark the pipe with tipex. But the pipe was black and fairly thick wall thickness.

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#7

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/05/2017 11:36 AM

Have you tried labels from a Brother label maker? Office Depot has these, as I recall.

I have had good luck, however, if any oil is on your fingers while handling the bottle, bad results obtain.

Label prior to filling? The option to do a complete single line wrap with clear packaging tape remains also.

I agree that roughing up the surface, even a sharpie marker should work, as long as you protect the ink from damage by organic solvents (in oil).

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#9

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/05/2017 2:03 PM

I use these.

They are sold at h dee

...or as this guy says..

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#10
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Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/05/2017 2:06 PM

nice...

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#33
In reply to #9

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 3:32 PM

I tried these.... Did not work as advertised.

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#34
In reply to #33

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 3:43 PM

But a guy wearing a mythical creature says that I need it. Oh wait, he didn't even claim it would work.

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#35
In reply to #34

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 3:54 PM

Mythical creatures always end up in sales...like Alan Thicke and life insurance.

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#36
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Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 5:24 PM

He died on December 13, 2016 of a (Miley Cirus induced?) heart attack. I wonder if he took his own advice about the product?

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#42
In reply to #36

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 8:52 PM

Even if he did, he didn't collect.

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#41
In reply to #34

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 7:58 PM

You noticed the creature you claim to be mythic. I didn't.

But really.. from all the the answers.. hot glue sounds .. interesting.

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#43
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Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/07/2017 12:05 AM

Mythic proof.

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#39
In reply to #33

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 7:54 PM

What way?

Mine that are years old work fine.

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#11

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/05/2017 3:59 PM

My standard is to use masking tape on the bottle and then write on the tape.

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#16
In reply to #11

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 8:46 AM

Especially, now that there are color coded masking tapes.

You can have one for Vodka, one for Rum, and another for Everclear.

I leave out the colored Spirits, although some would be hard pressed to distinguish Bourbon, Scotch, and American Whiskey by the color.

Not to mention the various brandies of the world. Sacre Bleu', who would put Courvosier into a PE bottle?

No one would put a fine cigar in a PE bottle, or would they?

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#12

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/05/2017 8:27 PM

Thanks for the ideas. The bottles are to be used for various oils and chemicals used in the machine shop, such as cutting oil, machine lub oil. The bottles will get oily on the outside with use. Tape eventually gives up it's stickiness and ink gets rubbed off. I hope the sandpaper/sharpie method works. I will also look into the Milwaukee markers.

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#17
In reply to #12

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 9:35 AM

I have also seen paint markers work pretty well on bottles that may get into contact with some organics, but even paint will not hold up too long for oil.

Tape with color code as a band or series of bands around the bottle with a label chart on the wall (or otherwise nearby) should suffice as well.

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#13

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/05/2017 11:21 PM

During my shop days way back when we used rubber bands wide enough to make legible letters.

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#14

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 5:54 AM

Sand and write, as mentioned, then wrap over with one layer of clear >

"Rust-Oleum Industrial- Leak Seal Self Fusing Tape" or similar self fusing silicon tape. It's water, chemical, oil, and heat resistant so should hold up rather well in your use.

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#15

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 7:39 AM

never had an issue using a large sharpie

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#18

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 9:50 AM

High Visibility Marking with Pigmented Hot Glue

For low resolution but high visibility you could try hot glue in colors. I have seen the assorted color pack in hardware stores, hobby stores, and even Walmart. If you have a lot of this to do you might want a workstation setup with each color in a different gun. You could then color code something(maybe oil weight) as well as having written info(maybe purchase date) or whatever you want. I only had a clear glue stick with a slight yellow cast to it but I was not unhappy with the result you see in the picture except for the resolution and the stray strings. The adherence seems pretty good but I have not tested oil resistance. The picture of the bottom of the bottle is so you can see the test was on an HDPE type 2 bottle(Kefir empty).

I used a corded gun but they make cordless ones if you prefer. If you do not need color coding you could get high visibility cheaply with just black glue sticks. The stray glue strings you get when you lift the gun might be annoying. You might test it on a bottle with some oil already on the outside to see if it works on those before you actually decide. Sanding might help adherence but I suspect that it holds well enough without it on a clean bottle. They make hot glue guns with finer tips and you have a choice of two popular stick sizes in most stores.

You should be careful not to violate bottle integrity since hot glue and bottle plastics melt at similar temperatures.

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 10:37 AM

That will definitely work.

Not too pretty, but effective. I would NOT recommend using the PA sticks. A solvent wipe first is recommended.

  1. Raw materials: Three thermoplastic elastomers are commonly used for making glue sticks: EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate), APAO (Amorphous Poly Alpha Olefin), and PA (Poly Amides). Various tackifiers are also incorporated in these hot melt glue sticks. They are basically categorized as natural resin- such as rosin and Terpene derivatives, and synthetic petroleum hydrocarbon resins- such as aliphatic, aromatic and di-cyclo-pentadiene. PA glue stick is a 100% synthetic polymer without modifying any tackifying resins.
  2. Introduction of Hot Melt Glue Sticks - Glue Machinery
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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 11:01 AM

My only question to this technique, how well really does it adhere in the long run?

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#27
In reply to #21

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 1:00 PM

How about as long as the bottle does.

We used hot melt sticks to "stick" PE together years ago and it works.

Glue Stick Review | Plastics Hot Melt Sticks – Hotmelt.com

"This hot melt is perfect for bonding PP, PE, PET, and PCV and also bonds porous materials."

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#28
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Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 1:34 PM

OK, good information, I have not been trying to stick such things together lately, so I am showing my ignoramus button.

I did, however, hot glue a wood disc to a wafer magnet (transverse polarized) and hot glue that to a plastic gear that I suspect to be nylon.

That seems to work as long as no or little torque is present on any part of the fixture.

Gluing metal to wood or plastic with hot glue seems to depend very strongly on the cleanliness of the metal, for obvious reasons.

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#30
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Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 1:47 PM

Nylon® is a polyamide.

A poly amide (PA) glue stick might have worked better on Nylon.®

Much has changed since my materials engineering days, but hot melt is still pretty basic.

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 2:00 PM

True that, but when I picked this mini-gun up the other day at Harbor Freight, I was in the "grab-and-go" aisle. You pays your money, and you takes your chances..

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#25
In reply to #20

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 12:11 PM

Airplane Nap Bruxing Dilemma

Wow, Lyn. Such depth of knowledge. I wear an anti-bruxing device when I sleep. I was once on a business trip and misplaced my "splint". I went out hunting for an athletic guard but was unsuccessful. I did find a glue stick with a non-toxic rating and fashioned myself a DIY tooth grinding restraint by cutting it to the right length, heating it in hot(coffee temp) water and biting it. It had some standards body rating for non-toxic(rating stamped on stick) that I looked up. It said good for cereal box sealing where small blobs might be ingested. I wore it for a few nights until I discovered my official splint again. I showed my dentist when I returned and he said, "Shhh, you'll put me out of business. " He was highly impressed with the fit I had achieved.

I wear the official splint now but I carry a small case with my DIY version when on planes in case I want to doze. Do you have any opinions or credible references on the non-toxic rating for hot glue sticks relative to oral prosthetic device plastic ?

When I am sitting up, I often lose my splint while sleeping. The dentist charges $800 for a replacement and a glue stick is usually <$1. Am I flirting with health issues with my airplane practice ? My real question is: Is that hard plastic the dentist uses(he did not know what the plastic was, I asked) any better(or worse) to have in one's mouth than my "non-toxic" glue stick plastic, from a plastic chemist's(not a health practitioner's) point of view ? Personal reply is fine, if you wish. The dentist saw no problem when I showed him the non-toxic chemical sheet for the glue stick but he was not really a plastic chemical expert. He is my oral health advisor but he is happy as a clam when I lose my splint on a plane, ka-ching. I just wonder if the athletic guards, his splint, or my glue stick have pros and cons chemically. I do not find that any of the athletic guards I have tried(even the heat and bite ones) fit comfortably and I develop irritations if I use them repeatedly. Barring surprising danger, I will probably not change my behavior. Mostly, I would like to be able to intelligently discuss it with dentists. This guy moved his practice quite a distance away and I am considering getting a new dental professional.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 12:24 PM

available from your favorite online store and mine. Powered by the same company that brought us glow-in-the-dark Halloween teeth.

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#40
In reply to #25

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 7:57 PM

Thanks.

Very ingenuous of you to find a temporary solution.

The $800.00 dollar model is probably an acrylic. Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) is the fancy name.

Don't quote me on this, but there MAY be things in the hot melt that "after prolonged, repeated exposure to the lips and gums" may be irritating. Toxicology was not my field.

I'd pull up the MSDS/SDS for the specific brand of glue stick you have and see what it says about hazards.

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#19

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 9:55 AM

Of course there is writing on a tag (or metal stamping if your old school) and use a zip tie to attach to the bottle.

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#24
In reply to #19

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 12:06 PM

Take this:

and apply to this: , using this:

and you have a permanent marking. By the way, the engraved stone is in ancient Greek: very loosely translates as, "do not store olive oil next to ship burning (dragon's breath) oil".

This comment has been totally fabricated as fakey quakey news by our ancient alien immigration department.

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#37
In reply to #19

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 6:42 PM

Zip tie is a great idea. In addition, make the tag a laminated one.

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#38
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Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 6:52 PM

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#52
In reply to #38

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/08/2017 6:18 PM

Maybe not the simplest, but the best solution, IMHO.

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#22

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 11:34 AM

Here is an idea :

Would it be possible to use and apply a heat transfer vinyl ?

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#23

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 11:38 AM

You can also mark the bottle and then put clear heat shrink over it.

There are adhesives made specifically for polyethylene. I worked for a landscaping equipment manufacturer and we used durable adhesive labels on gas tanks. Specific adhesives were used that stuck well to polyethylene and resisted gasoline and mixing oil as well. A local label maker could probably identify the adhesive for you.

laminating film could also work. It's basically PETE plastic with hot melt adhesive on the back side. The hot melt sticks well to polyethylene and is resistant to oils and solvents.

There are also clearcoats made that are formulated to stick to polyethylene and polypropylene. You could apply the label and clearcoat it.

I would also suggest laser engraving as was mentioned by a previous poster.

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#29

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 1:44 PM

Depending on your project (mainly the amount of bottles you want to write on) you may use a suitable heat shrink tube you may buy blank (and write on it) or even have it printed:

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#31

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/06/2017 1:59 PM

Bel-Art has these and more.

Here is another supplier of HDPE labels to apply to containers:

https://www.label-aid.com/polyethylene.html?_vsrefdom=ppcgoogle&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=hdpe%20labels&utm_campaign=labels&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIg_aGi4j21wIVBmx-Ch1m3QD3EAMYASAAEgKCYPD_BwE

not meant as advertisement or endorsement, but looks promising.

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#44

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/07/2017 11:57 AM
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#45
In reply to #44

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/07/2017 12:00 PM

There is another easy to implement idea! Way to go!

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/07/2017 12:31 PM

What if he's color blind?????????????????

Wait, he could write the name of the color on the bottle with hot glue.

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#47
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Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/07/2017 1:25 PM

Yur killin' it now!

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#49
In reply to #46

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/08/2017 2:11 PM

He could make attractive wooden holders for the bottles and engrave the contents on the wood....

Now that's creative,,,,just hot glue the bottom of the bottle in....A different animal for each mixture....haha

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#53
In reply to #44

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/08/2017 6:21 PM

Containers must be labeled according to what they contain, according to OSHA rules.

Sorry! Otherwise, an excellent idea.

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/08/2017 6:32 PM

OSHA regulations only apply to businesses who have 10 or more employees, or some in "low hazard" industries.

If you are under OSHA rules and you take a bottle of bleach from your home to your work, it magically becomes a hazardous material.

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#48

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/07/2017 9:04 PM

I appreciate the hi-tech solution to applying labels to a PE bottle, but where 3 or 4 bottles are involved, there is no justification for pursuing such a solution. I will have to confine it to a lo-tech solution such as a sanded surface and marker. Thanks anyway. Learning something new is never a waste of time.

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#50

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/08/2017 3:40 PM

"Anyone know of a medium that will stay on the bottle permanently?"

How about using a stylus to scratch the writing into the surface instead of relying on ink? That will be stay on the bottle about as permanently as you can get.

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/08/2017 4:45 PM

That's what the laser engraving does.

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#55
In reply to #51

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/08/2017 7:36 PM

I was thinking a steel or even a diamond stylus might be a bit cheaper and faster than laser engraving.

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#56
In reply to #55

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/10/2017 10:25 PM

notfaster

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/10/2017 10:29 PM

Only once one knows how to use the laser engraving software can one claim that it is faster.

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#59
In reply to #57

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/11/2017 11:28 AM

Like the old saying... If you have a hammer, most problems look like nails. If you have a laser engraver, most problems look like polyethylene bottles.

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#61
In reply to #59

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/11/2017 2:18 PM

ROFLMAO!!

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#62
In reply to #61

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/11/2017 4:43 PM

learning Chinglish has value..

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#60
In reply to #57

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/11/2017 11:53 AM

It only took me about a hundred hours to get halfway to where I'd like to be.

Of course I still haven't busted out the rotary encoder, so PE bottles are off limits.

Fast!

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#58

Re: Writing On Polyethylene Bottles

12/10/2017 10:43 PM

Beam me up Scotty!

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