Discover why vacuum forming is considered one of the most versatile of the plastic thermo-forming processes.
After covering basic plastic technology, you will learn how to make your own molds and use them to quickly form flat sheets of thermoplastic into intricate shapes with incredible accuracy.
The machine is built almost entirely of angle iron and flat bar. Construction is simple, with some welding being required. Being built on wheels makes the machine easy to move from place to place. It has a unique clamp frame that works very well and the adjustable work surface (platen) is a real asset. The machine has a 12" x 15" forming area, and I have formed ABS plastic up to 3/16" thick with it. I believe the machine would form 1/4" as well. Of course, thicker plastic takes longer to reach forming temperature.
The machine operates on a 20 amp 120 volt circuit using a 1500 watt, 120 volt heating element. Temperature is controlled by an infinite range switch mounted in the control panel. Everything required to build the machine is easy to find except for the 120 volt heating element. It’s an oven replacement element, and … will sell for around $30.00 plus shipping…
The vacuum for the machine can be supplied by either an air venturi pump or electric vacuum pump in conjunction with two storage tanks. I (the author)am mentioning the air venturi pump as one alternative because it’s so cheap. Only $12.99 through Harbor Freight and it pulls 4.2 cfm per minute taking about 4 minutes to pull a 25 hg vacuum on my two 11 gallon tanks. Not too shabby for the price. In order to use it though, you need to have an air compressor capable of maintaining 90 psi.. The other and better alternative is an electric vacuum pump. The electric pump I have pulls 6 cfm taking about 2 minutes to pull a 25 hg vacuum. Although twice as fast, the electric pump costs close to $300.00.