Vacuforming?

Discussion in 'Replica Props' started by Azurial, May 14, 2012.

  1. Azurial

    Azurial Well-Known Member

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    I am about start my venture into building a Vacuformer and was curious to know what kind of plastic should be used and about how much will a sheet cost.
     
  2. Volpin

    Volpin Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Vacforming will depend on the type of machine you have and its vacuum and heating power. Most homebuilt machines using a standard shop vac are capable of pulling material up to .1" but passing .125" you start to lose a lot of definition.

    I have this guy, that I made from heating elements out of an old toaster oven. Vacuum is supplied by a 2hp shop vac. I've done PET plastic and styrene with it up to .1" and its done pretty well for such a little budget former.

    [​IMG]

    Styrene, .1"
    [​IMG]

    PET, .118"
    [​IMG]

    With bigger machines, you can pull acrylic, ABS, kydex, as well as thicker materials. I just finished a larger vacformer with a dedicated pump and tank, and hopefully I'll be able to step up to those materials with this beast.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. EZBSVS

    EZBSVS Active Member

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    Ugh, Volpin, just gotta say, that beast of yours is pure genius...

    @Azurial, sorry for being off topic, just had to get that out there :p Trying to make my own Vacuum former here though. So good luck :)
     
  4. Azurial

    Azurial Well-Known Member

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    Thanks alot. Another question I had was whether or not .06 or .05 plexiglass was was okay to put through since its pretty cheap around here.
     
  5. Fierfek

    Fierfek Sr Member

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    :darnkids hooligans
     
  6. EZBSVS

    EZBSVS Active Member

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    I think that would probably work. As long as it's Plexiglass/Acrylic, I can't speak for Lexan/Polycarbonate. Just make sure you heat it evenly until you can see it sag, then go for it.
     
  7. Superkrates

    Superkrates Active Member

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    Plexiglass/Lexan/polycarbonate/acrylic - they all have a tendency to absorb moisture from the air. These plastics must be dry or boiling will occur before the sheet is ready to form. Most shops use a drying oven which cycles hot air over the plastic and the moisture is absorbed by desiccant.

    Styrene in the .060" range is a good plastic to start with - cheap and no boiling. Once you're comfortable with that, move up to ABS (not as cheap and they do absorb moisture over time, but much more durable), and if clear plastics need to be formed, PETG is much easier to work with than Acrylics or Polycarbonates.
     
  8. nick daring

    nick daring Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    A friend and I tried to vacuform giant 4x6 foot sheets of clear Lexan a few years ago and little bubbles appeared in the material. This effect was lessened with less heating.

    Was this from absorbing moisture and boiling?

    Nick
     
  9. Azurial

    Azurial Well-Known Member

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