DIY Vacuum Forming

Excellent article!

very interested but it does require a laser cutter…

I am sure Steve Presley can make it for you :wink:

LOL that is true…

Thanks For sharing the link btw

Quite clever, but you definitely need a stronger vacuum source to get really good results.

For funsies, this looks great, and is certainly far cheaper than any professional vacuform rig would be.

Everyone seems to have a laser cutter these days… :slight_smile:

I don’t :frowning:

I thought this was a great idea for a cheap, simple to build, strong vacuum pump.
I was planning to build one for degassing epoxy resins for mold-making.

Definitely more like it…the use of a vacuum chamber is essential, since it allows you to build up more vacuum pressure than a vacuum cleaner or pump (at least an affordable one) can generate, and with the right valve, release it all at once. For vacuforming, I’d probably want a slightly larger vacuum chamber. And the larger your table, the larger the vacuum chamber required.

The vacuform machine I used at the TV/theater scenery shop I worked in back in the 90s had a motorized frame to move the material up to the heating elements, and down over the form, a motorized table to roll the whole apparatus in and out of the oven, and a huge steel ball to contain the vacuum. So we’d clamp the sheet plastic (4x8 or 4x10, IIRC) into the frame, roll it in, push the material up to the heat, wait, pull the material down over the form, and then quickly open the vacuum tank valve.

The first one tends to be the hardest, because if the form is cool, and you don’t open the valve quickly enough, the plastic can cool on contact with the form, and not quite make it into small corners and such (that’s the problem that you see in the original video). Likewise, if you pull a lot of copies from a single form, you have to watch for overheating, so your material doesn’t end up sticking to your form.

Vacuforming is awesome fun, though, so for anyone who’s inclined, it’s worth trying it out.