I work as an artist and propmaker, and there are many times where I know what I want something to be able to DO during fabrication, but don't know what material(s) to ask for. For instance, on a recent project, I needed to paint a metal prop so it had a crinkly texture like an old typewriter on which it was based. Luckily, "crinkle paint" came up in google search.

Other times, I'm not so lucky. I may need a metal that's easy to drill into, but won't dent if it's dropped. Lately, I've been sorting through plastics, and getting lost in the alphabet soup--with little to know information about which plastics will shatter like acrylic if you drill it the wrong way vs. which are very tolerant to machining and fabrication.

Sometimes, I'm working on a sculpture, and just want to find out about some new and interesting materials that I may not know about, or find out the pitfalls of using a common material in an unconvnetional way. For instance, I once filled a mold with a liquid-nails ripoff, but when I tried fabricating the object a few weeks later, I found the center to still be viscous instead of hardened. I would have liked a place to ask how long an 8" cube of Liquid Nails takes to cure fully all the way to the center.

Is this an appropriate forum to ask "What kind of metal/plastic/wood/wood-substitute will allow me to do A without B happening?" even if it's not ~specifically~ home improvement related? Or is there a better spot on stack* for those? I didn't see a materials-engineering.stack.com, which is where I would usually start.

2 Answers 2


This would probably have to be evaluated on a question by question basis. As some of the questions; while not purely home improvement related, may be useful to the home improvement community.

"How long an 8" cube of Liquid Nails takes to cure fully?" would not be a good on topic question. While it is slightly interesting, this information is not likely useful to builders and/or contractors. It's not likely anybody would know, or care about the answer.

"What type of material exhibits these characteristics?". Might be on topic, depending on the context. For example the answer to "What metal is easy to drill into, but won't dent if it's dropped?", might be useful to builders/contractors.

If you have any questions that are off topic for the site, but might be known to community members. You could always drop in on chat, where everything (almost) is on topic.


I believe this would be considered a hobby project, which is off topic for the site. Unfortunately not every question has an SE where it would be on topic.

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