Poly Carbonate for Vac Forming Question

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Rinzler

Well-Known Member
Hi just checking in with the resident vac forming members I have been having a lot of difficulty sourcing reasonably priced sheet plastic in Australia, the closest I can find is polycarbonate sheet that the local dealer claims can be thermo formed, it's still $34AU a sheet so I don't want to be buying any til I know if anyone else on forum has used it and has any tips to offer, I've only heard it can be brittle after thermo forming but that's about it.
 

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Lucien Kane

Well-Known Member
Hi just checking in with the resident vac forming members I have been having a lot of difficulty sourcing reasonably priced sheet plastic in Australia, the closest I can find is polycarbonate sheet that the local dealer claims can be thermo formed, it's still $34AU a sheet so I don't want to be buying any til I know if anyone else on forum has used it and has any tips to offer, I've only heard it can be brittle after thermo forming but that's about it.
While I'm not vacuum forming poly c I am experimenting with the durability of poly c after heat forming it.

The problems you will likely run into (I'm not an authority on the subject so more experienced members feel free to correct me) but you will likely run into the problem of the poly c being thinner in some areas. Not so much brittle.

What I know of polycarbonate is this... The thicker it is, the more durable it is. This stuff will take bullets at certain thicknesses. So understand though that the thinner it is, the less of a beating it will take.
 

Judge Spartan

Sr Member
Lucien is right. Blackula77 vac forms visors with polycarbonate, you might want to pm him with any other questions, he's a very nice guy and will help if he can..
 

Rinzler

Well-Known Member
I think I'll grab 1 sheet & do a couple test goes as soon as I have built my heating box.
 

modellernz

New Member
as i have used it for alsorts of things as a plastic frabricator, vacforming it is almost identical in every way to your standard acrylics. You can use a heatgun on about 80 deg Celius to mold it BUT on a precautionary note .. it is a VERY fine line between just perfect and ooops bubbles everywhere so it takes alot of practice. And just note that even after forming it will still be stronger than acrylics too. As Lucien Kane says "yes it can be bulletproof" but your talking ten mm will stop a .22 bullet.

to check if the piece is polycarb, burn a corner. poly will burn but acryic will not

and to see how strong it is, put a piece on a bench or the floor and hit it hard as you like with a hammer, sounds bad but it will not break
 

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Hangar18Studios

Well-Known Member
Polycarb can be a challenge to vac-form. One tip: you should dry out the poly-carb before attempting to form it. A lot of us larger shops have rack over our heat source to dry the plastic, it has an imperceptible oily quality to it. Poly carb can boil and bubble very easily under a heat source. It's tricky to get perfect, but it can be done.
 

Lucien Kane

Well-Known Member
Yeah I'm honestly only familiar with polycarbonate because I was in the military, and I now do a ton of lightsaber sparring... so the polycarbonate blades are a must have for that.
 

Rinzler

Well-Known Member
Just finished my vac forming table over weekend, I tried a standard vacuum cleaner to test suction, it doesn't seem to have a great deal of suction compared to those I have seen on youtube DIY's, any suggestions on what wattage (or air wattage) I should be looking at.
 

Judge Spartan

Sr Member
I use a 6hp shop vac and it has very good suction, although I'd like to build a larger table so i'd need more suction. My table is a 24 x 24 in. table. right now.
 

Rinzler

Well-Known Member
My table is 900mm x 700mm (35 x 27 inches), was trying to avoid shelling out more money for another vac when I have a couple old house ones gathering dust in a shed. :S
 

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