THIS PROCEDURE WILL HELP YOU CONSTRUCT A SIMPLE VACUFORMING DEVICE.  WITH IT, YOU'LL BE ABLE TO FABRICATE PLASTIC PARTS OR MAKE COPIES OF OF OBJECTS IN PLASTIC.

 

 


D
ESCRIPTION

VACUUM FORMING IS A POPULAR INDUSTRIAL PROCESS FOR MANUFACTURING HOLLOW, THIN WALLED, PLASTIC PARTS.  IN INDUSTRIAL UNITS, A SHEET OF PLASTIC IS HEATED, USUALLY BY INFRARED LAMPS.  WHEN SOFT, THE SHEET IS LOWERED ONTO A PERFORATED PLASTIC, WITH THE MOLD OBJECT ON TOP OF IT.  A VACUUM BENEATH THE PLATFORM PULLS THE PLASTIC TIGHT ONTO THE OBJECT WHERE IT COOLS INTO THE SHAPE.

THIS HOMEMADE VACUFORMER IS MADE BY USING A PIECE OF PERFORATED CIRCUIT BOARD AS THE PLATFORM, AND A PROJECT BOX AS THE VACUUM CHAMBER.  A HEAT GUN IS ENOUGH TO MELT MOST THING PLASTICS, AND A SHOP VAC PROVIDES PLENTY OF 'SUCK'.

MATERIALS        

-A PERFORATED PC BOARD (RADIOSHACK)
-A PROJECT BOX, ABOUT THE SIZE OF THE PC BOARD
-DUCT TAPE

EQUIPMENT        

-A HEAT GUN, NOT A HAIR DRYER ($30.00 AT HOME DEPOT IN 2004)
-A SHOP VAC, OR OTHER VACUUM CLEANER WITH A HOSE

PROCEDURE

 

WHY?

1.   THE PARTS.  DISCARD THE LID THAT CAME WITH THE PROJECT BOX, BUT KEEP THE SCREWS.

BECAUSE.
2.  TRACE THE OUTLINE OF THE PROJECT BOX ONTO THE PC BOARD.  USE PLIERS TO CRACK OFF THE EXCESS, OR CUT IT WITH A DREMEL. ANY OVERLAP IN THE PERFBOARD WILL ALLOW THE AIR TO LEAK OUT FROM UNDERNEATH THE PLASTIC.  A GOOD VACUUM IS CRUCIAL.
3.  USE THE SCREWS THAT CAME WITH THE PROJECT BOX TO ATTACH THE PC BOARD IN PLACE OF THE LID.  I DIDN'T BOTHER TO DRILL HOLES, I JUST KINDA DUG AT THE BOARD WITH SOMETHING POINTY. BECAUSE.
4. FINALLY, CUT A HOLE IN THE SIDE OF THE BOX FOR THE VACUUM TO ATTACH TO. IF YOU'RE FANCY, YOU CAN ATTACH A PIECE OF PVC TO THIS HOLE SO THE VACUUM IS EASY TO ATTACH.  YOU CAN SEE I WAS LAZY.

USE

PROCEDURE

 

WHY?

1.   SET THE OBJECT TO BE MOLDED ON TOP OF THE PERFBOARD. 

NOTE:  AS DESCRIBED, THIS VACUFORMER WORKS WELL ONLY WITH OBJECTS THAT AREN'T VERY TALL.  TO USE A TALLER OBJECT, THE PLASTIC MUST BE CLAMPED IN A FRAME ALONG ITS FOUR SIDES TO PREVENT WRINKLING.
2.  USING DUCT TAPE, SECURELY SEAL A PIECE OF PLASTIC OVER THE PERFBOARD.  BE SURE THE SEAL IS COMPLETE. THE PLASTIC IS SEALED TO HELP CREATE A GOOD VACUUM.
3.  ATTACH THE VACUUM SOURCE.  TURN THE VACUUM ON, AND HEAT THE PLASTIC UNIFORMLY WITH THE HEAT GUN.  DON'T MELT A HOLE IN THE PLASTIC (ITS EASY). AS THE PLASTIC SOFTENS, THE VACUUM WILL PULL IT CLOSE TO THE OBJECT.
4. VOILA, REMOVE THE FINISHED PLASTIC.  

RESULTS


 

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