Vacuum Forming for the Hobbyist PDF eBook digital download 12.95 Learn how to use heat and vacuum to mold flat plastic sheets into complex shapes. Build your own low cost equipment using hardware store items and your kitchen oven as a heat source. This popular book takes a common manufacturing process and boils it down to its simplest form, so it can be done right in the home.
Do It Yourself Vacuum Forming For The Hobbyist Pdf Download. To be dangerous. These materials are non- toxic and odor- free; on top of this. Do It Yourself Vacuum Forming For The Hobbyist Pdf. I might want to add a vacuum hold down/vacuum forming. Board 'Do it Yourself.
Its a mystery to me why vacuum forming is so largely ignored in the hobby and craft fields. Its a fast and easy way to mold high quality plastic parts. Best of all, it requires no special skills and very little equipment. This book goes beyond vacuum cleaners as a source of suction and shows you how to get 5 times more forming power. Chapter 2 tells why heat lamps and heat guns won't work well, and shows how to use your kitchen oven and alternate heat sources Chapter 1 - The Basics Vacuum Forming (also called Thermoforming), is a simple process that uses heat to soften a plastic sheet, and then vacuum to suck it down tightly against a pattern or mold. The plastic quickly cools and retains this shape. You can start with flat plastic sheets up to 1/4 inch thick and heat them in your kitchen oven.
The mold or pattern can be made from wood, plaster, epoxy resin, aluminum, plastic and many other materials or built up from a combination of materials. Many times, you can form over an existing part. This process makes 'Shell' type parts that can have many uses. Some examples are: Candy Molds, Toys, Model car bodies, Model airplane parts, Boat hulls, Signs, Holiday decorations, Soap and Candy molds, Containers and packaging. Chapter 2 - Heat Sources Most plastics require between 250 and 400 degrees F. To get soft enough.
We are not trying to melt the plastic, just make it soft like a sheet of rubber. Your kitchen oven was designed to heat food at these temperatures, so its a safe and convenient way to heat plastic as well.
This chapter shows the differences between gas and electric ovens and how to use them effectively. Find out why heat guns and heat lamps should be avoided.
Other heat sources are discussed, such as, electric frying pans and griddles, toaster ovens, hot plates etc., with advice on using each one. Chapter 3 - Vacuum Sources A simple explanation of what vacuum is and how its measured, with charts and conversion tables. Vacuum is commonly rated in 'Inches of Mercury' (IN. HG.) Most commercial vacuum forming is done with 25 -27 IN.HG. With a maximum of about 30 inches possible. Note: Vacuum cleaners only pull 4 to 6 IN.HG. Out of a possible 30 IN.HG.
Don't be fooled by the commercials that show them picking up bowling balls. It doesn't matter how many horsepower, or how loud it is, or how much it dims the lights.
Even the best 'Shop Vacs' don't pull very hard, they just flow a lot of air! This is barely enough to form thin plastic sheets with marginal definition. Learn how to increase that 50% by coupling two vacuum cleaners together. Seven other low cost sources of higher vacuum are discussed, such as.
Intake manifold vacuum (from your car), Modified bicycle pumps, air powered and electric pumps. Learn how to modify a bicycle pump to pull 27 IN.HG. And use stored vacuum form tanks.
Learn how to get 5 times more forming power by combining a vacuum cleaner with another higher vacuum source to create a 'two Stage' system. You won't find this information available anywhere else! Chapter 4 - Forming Equipment Learn how to make a simple holding frame out of aluminum angle from the hardware store, and use this frame with inexpensive spring clips to hold a plastic sheet for heating. See ideas for simple vacuum boxes made from cake pans, and more sophisticated two stage vacuum boxes. Learn how to modify a sump pump check valve from the hardware store to combine a vacuum cleaner with a second higher vacuum source. This method uses the speed of a vacuum cleaner, but finishes off with a more powerful vacuum source.
The valve is easy to make and works automatically. Chapter 5 - Plastics There are a million types of plastic sheets, but only a half dozen that you are likely to come across. This chapter discusses the common types and gives you practical advice on choosing a plastic for your application. Properties such as impact resistance, forming characteristics, pre-drying, and cost are considered. Useful tips on where to buy plastic sheets and how to deal with plastic distributors. Chapter 6 - Molds The theme of this book is 'low budget', so this chapter focuses mainly on wood and plaster molds. Learn six 'common sense' rules of moldmaking, such as avoiding undercuts, surface preparation and the use of release agents.
Read important information on using hollow molds and forming over existing objects. An example shows how to cast a plaster mold to reproduce an existing model car body. Chapter 7 - Forming Once you have the equipment built, this chapter gives you practical advice on the actual forming process. Learn how to tell when the plastic is ready to form and learn about common problems and how to solve them. Photographs show sample parts made with different plastics. A detailed example is given that shows how to form a radio controlled model car body over the plaster pattern created in the last chapter.
Chapter 8 - Finishing Learn three ways to trim out the finished part depending on thickness. Read about glues and paints for different plastics. Note:The back of the book contains a supplement with more forming tips and solutions to common problems, as well as information on plans that are available for building your own machines with built in ovens. Please visit the book index on this website for other books and plans on vacuum forming equipment.
[This blog post is adapted from a couple of postings in the 'making the plastic clamping frames' thread over at TK560.com.] In the kitchen vacuum forming Instructable I describe how to make aluminum plastic clamping frames from window screen frame material. Those frames are nice because they're easy to make, and you can mix and match side lengths to get various sizes and aspect ratios for different projects. Aluminum window screen frame material is a bit flimsy, however, so if you're making big stuff or using really thick plastic, you may want something more rigid. Aluminum C-channel is a good choice, too. You can find it in several sizes and a couple of thicknesses at a home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowe's. This is a small (12 x 18') frame made of small C-channel (3/8', 1/16' or 1/20' thick), but the same technique works for larger frames made of correspondingly larger and thicker C-channel.
The basic technique is just to cut slits in the horizontal parts of the C profile with a hacksaw, and bend the vertical part to make the corners. (Be careful not to score the vertical part while sawing through the horizontals, or it may tear there.) Where the C-channel comes back and meets itself, there's a little extra piece with the horizontals cut off, to make a tab. The tab is also bent at 90 degrees, to overlap the vertical at the other end. Both are drilled, and pop-riveted together. (Or you could use a small bolt.) For thicker material than I used here, such as 1/8' aluminum, it's also a good idea to drill 1/4' holes through the horizontals right next to the vertical part, and saw the slit until it meets that hole. (That takes away horizontal material near the bend point, so that it can bend over a slighly larger radius, and not fracture.) Rigidity of a solid is generally proportional to the cube of the thickness, so one frame twice as thick is 8 times as rigid. (Or 4 times as rigid as two frames.) 3/8' thick C-channel is considerably more rigid than window screen frame stuff, and 3/4' C-channel is way, way more rigid.
You only need one frame that's pretty rigid. The other one only needs to be rigid enough to spread a fair bit of the clamping force halfway from one clamp to the next. To maximize rigidity for a given cost, you should generally combine one thick, rigid frame with a thinner, more flexible one.
(Even if the cost of the frame material is no object, that's usually a good idea, at least for metal frames. Metal frames act as heat sinks and make it harder to heat the edges of the plastic, or take longer to preheat the frames. Minimizing the amount of metal needed to get the necessary rigidity is usually a good idea.) So, for example, you might make one frame out of 3/4' C-channel 1/8' thick, for overall rigidity, and another out of 1/4' C-channel 1/16' thick. That will be stiffer than a pair of frames made out of 1/2' C-channel. Making the top and bottom frames different also gives you some interesting choices. You can have one frame that's rigid along the sides, and another that's fairly flexible along the sides but has rigid corners. Once you clamp them together, they'll be fairly rigid all around.
One version of that would be to make a main frame out of 3/4' or 1' C-channel, with the horizontal parts cut to let you bend the vertical parts. That gives you rigid bars but not very rigid corners.
You can combine that with a matching frame made out of aluminum windowscreen stuff, which is flimsy (and inexpensive) but has rigid right-angle corners. Between the two of them, you get rigid bars and fairly rigid corners, with no welding or brazing. (There's a gotcha here, though, if you're using a platen with a gasket; I'll explain that below. The frames shown were made for a platen whose edge seals directly to the hot plastic, so that the rubbery plastic acts as its own gasket. If you don't know what that means, and you're curious, check out the 'Platen Design and Construction' link in the sidebar.) Here's an example of that, with a small frame made of 3/8' C-Channel paired with a window screen-type frame, clamped around a piece of plastic: The same scheme would work with a much larger frame made of, say, 3/4' C-channel made of 1/8' aluminum. The other frame could still be made of window screen frame stuff; as long as you have clamps every few inches, it's rigid enough to hold the plastic against the more rigid frame. Here's a shot where you can see the tab riveted in place to close the rectangle: I epoxied the joint (and the hole through the rivet) with J.
Weld to make it air tight there in case I used that frame with a gasket system. (It was built for an direct edge-sealing platen with no gasket.) The gotcha with mixing C-channel frames and window screen frames is that the positioning of the clamps (binder clips) can interfere with the gasket seal. With two C-channel frames, the clamps can go inside the C's of both frames, and the bottom of the bottom frame is left flat to seal against the gasket.
With two windowscreen frames, you can just put the binder clip around both frames, with the rolled edge extending inward past the frames to clear the gasket and leave the bottom flat where it meets the gasket. But with one frame of each type, you can't really do either---if one edge your clip goes inside the C channel, that stops it from moving inward further than the frame, and the rolled edge on the other side is stuck against the window screen frame where it meets the gasket. So if you mix the two, the C-channel frame has to go on bottom, because the binder clip can go inside it and not mess up the seal. That may not be what you want, if you're using C-channel to make a thick, rigid frame. (Generally you'd like the thinner frame on bottom, so that it doesn't raise the edges of the plastic way above the platen.) In that case, you may be better off with two C-channel frames, with big C-channel for the top frame, and small for the bottom one. To get good corner rigidity using only C-channel, you can attach flat L-shaped angle braces to the top horizontal parts of the top frame.
(That's one advantage of C-channel over L-profile aluminum---the upper surface of the top frame can have something riveted or bolted to it without interfering with the surface that meets the plastic.) A couple of L-braces on diagonally opposed corners makes the frame almost as rigid as braces on all four corners. Some tips on cutting, bending, and drilling the aluminum: 1. Use a hacksaw, and a miter box if you have one, to get the two slits aligned at each bend. Disaligned slits may make it prone to bending out of a plane and making a warped frame. Be careful not to score the vertical part when you cut the horizontal parts. For thicker material than I used here, such as 1/8' aluminum, it's also a good idea to drill 1/4' holes through the horizontals right next to the vertical part, and saw the slit until it meets that hole. (That takes away horizontal material near the bend point, so that it can bend over a slighly larger radius, and not fracture.
It also makes it easier to cut through the horizontals without going so far as to score the vertical. I got this tip from Doug Walsh's excellent book, Do it Yourself Vacuum Forming for the Hobbyist, where he applies it to similar frames made of L-profile aluminum.) 3. For drilling, start by making a pilot dent with a punch or a hammer and a nail, then drill a small pilot hole, then the 1/4' hole. Don't try to drill a 1/4' hole without a pilot hole. While drilling metal, use a slow speed and go slow. Spinning the bit too fast just generates extra heat from friction.
Frequently pull the bit up and blow the chips out. (Aluminum is not very hard to drill, but this is good advice anyway.) 5. When bending the corners, do it against something flat, and sweep one side slowly through 90 degrees. (I did it against my glass patio door.) EDIT 10 Sept. It seems that C-channel frames are also in Doug's book. Yet another Walsh wheel I've reinvented. I've also come across a commercial vacuum former using this kind of frame, with L-shaped braces riveted to cut-and-bent C-channel to make the corners rigid.
You can make a good vacuum former for about $40, in an hour or so, and use your kitchen oven to heat the plastic, and your vacuum cleaner to suck the hot plastic into shape. Check out at www.Instructables.com for detailed instructions on how to make one. (It doesn't require any special tools or skills.) Here's a little demo movie of the cheap homemade vacuum former in action: As you can see in the video, this high-tech 'vacuum forming machine' is mostly a board with a hole in it and a gasket (made of weatherstripping foam tape from the hardware store), plus a pair of homemade aluminum frames to clamp the plastic between (made from DIY windowscreen frame parts that you just cut to size and plug together).
Download Game Yakyuken Special Psx Rom there. What's not obvious from the video is that this isn't just a cheap vacuum former---it's actually a good one. It's more capable than most homemade vacuum formers that you may have seen---those boxes covered with pegboard---and better than machines you can buy for $250. You can easily upgrade it to add an inexpensive high-vacuum system for forming thick plastic and/or getting finer detail, or add a standalone oven for about $30 so that you're not stuck in the kitchen.
(See the sidebar for a link on how to make your own oven.). I wrote an Instructable on converting an old-school 'floor pump' (bike pump) to a manual vacuum pump, for a total cost of about $18.
(You could actually do it for around $13 with a little more effort.) The Instructable got picked up as the Hack of the Day on www.hackaday.com a few days later, and got several thousand extra views because of it. Here's a little video of using the vacuum pump on peeps in a mason jar: A manual vacuum pump can be used with a small vacuum former for the occasional item formed from thick plastic.
You wouldn't want to do it a bunch of times a day, though, unless you want to build up your biceps. Remington 480 Instruction Manual more. It can also be useful for vacuum pressing wood laminates or vacuum bagging composites. (A similar but smaller pump is used for vacuum bagging small things like skateboards.).
The best places to look for information (and help) about do-it-yourself vacuum forming and homebuilt vacuum formers are: 1) The Vacuum Forming forum on. TK560 is the most active site on the web for information and advice on making and using your own vacuum former. Is largely oriented toward Star Wars fans who make their own costume armor (stormtroopers, etc.) but the vacuum forming forum is general.
It's also very friendly and helpful. Various people there make aftermarket automotive parts, replacement car and airplane parts, model parts (plane parts, boat hulls, and car bodies), and custom furniture, as well as costume stuff (masks, armor, props, etc.). A number of people there have built largish vacuum formers more or less according to plans in Thurston James's book,. (The book is not free, but it's a good deal.) The standard size 'TJ machine' is 2 feet by 2 feet (or 4' x 4'!), but there are 2' x 3', 2' x 4', and metric variants. You can build a 2 x 2 foot former with its own oven for under $200, if you're content with a vacuum cleaner as a vacuum source. (That's fine for thin plastic.) If you want a high-vacuum system for forming thick plastic, the cost will be somewhat higher, depending mostly on how good a deal you find on a vacuum pump.
If you want to know how to make large, inexpensive vacuum formers, the troopers are the go-to guys.. With the book plans and a few tips from the discussion board, anybody can make a good large vacuum former. (Welding is not actually required; only common tools---a drill, a saw, etc.) Plenty of people there have also built smaller, even-less-expensive vacuum formers, including 12 x 18 inch setups that cost around $30 (using a kitchen oven and a vacuum cleaner), and taking only an hour or two to make; if you only want to build a small, very inexpensive vacuum former, you'll fit in fine. 2) The vacuum forming forum on the discussion board. Amateur and professional machinists hang out at CNCzone, and there are some professional plastics-forming people who post in the vacuum forming forum. 3) The vacuum forming forum. (Hobbymolding is a site for primarily amateur molding and casting in a variety of materials.) One commercial site is also worthy of mention:.
They sell Doug Walsh's classic book,, and his plans for the excellent Hobby-Vac and Proto Form machines. They also sell books and videos on molding and casting and other subjects, and sometimes surplus vacuum pumps. (You can get Thurston James's book there, too.). This is a blog associated with, a site for information on vacuum forming, moldmaking, and building vacuum formers. (Including our free vacuum former plans, as well as links to plans that cost money, from other sources.) I'll use this blog to post relevant information and get feedback, and link to the best stuff here from www.vacuumformerplans.com Actually, at this writing, the two sites are identical; the vacuumformerplans.com domain is hosted at vacuuumformerplans.
(Eventually I intend to have a regular website at vacuumformerplans.com with standalone info, and selected links over here.) is meant to serve largely as an index to the best information available here and elsewhere, by us and by others.