Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

  1. #1

    Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

    I'm looking into having this vac form machine built (or commissioned) and was wondering if anyone else has attempted it.



    The description:
    Plans for a larger vacuum forming used to mold flat plastic sheets into complex shapes by using heat and vacuum. This machine can be built in three sizes, 2x2, 2x3, and 2x4 ft. (sheet Sizes) These machines are ideal for prototyping, packaging and short run production of larger parts.

    Form up to 1/4 inch thick plastic sheets with a 12 inch depth of draw. The 220 volt oven is mounted overhead so it takes up minimal floor space, and a rugged manual lift linkage transfers the plastic sheet between the oven and the platen. Removable platens let you change sizes easily.

    Build this machine for 80% less than a new unit with the same performance. A steel chassis with wood exterior panels make it both rugged and attractive. Easy to build with no machined parts. Plans include a 100 page assembly manual in a three ring binder, parts and material cut lists, 27 parts drawings, 3 full size cut-away blueprints and 36 actual color photographs.

    By Doug Walsh.



    The plans are $122 + s&h. Seems crazy for just plans but hey.


    My concerns are:

    - Overall costs (I want to make the 24"x24" or 24"x36" version)
    - Availability of components
    - Will it run on 220v at 30A or less
    - Can I adapt it to plug into the outlet dedicated for my clothes dryer.
    - Can it disassemble into pieces that will allow it to be moved into a residential basement (ie fit through doorways, and down a flight of stairs)

    Any experts out there?


    .

  2. #2
    xero's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2005
    From
    Central Michigan University, MI
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    Re: Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qc_FZcGzYn0

    To be honest, dude, save your money from those plans and look up ones online. This video is similar enough to the one you have shown with your pic.

    http://www.halloweenfear.com/vacuumformintro.html

    The above link is another guide which features end results which are a bit more professional looking than the YouTube video.

    All in all, vac forming is a somewhat easy process. I haven't gotten the chance to do it myself yet, but I intend on it in the near future for some projects.

    Also, check out this Instructable for smaller pieces, if you don't need a huge machine:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Make...vacu/?ALLSTEPS
    Last edited by xero; Mar 20, 2009 at 7:41 AM. Reason: Added Instructables Link

  3. #3
    adonian's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2008
    From
    San Diego
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    1,882

    Re: Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

    Xero, thanks for that instructable link, i never thought of them, and i have a membership there, I think i'll try to make that little one and make some armor with plastic instead of trash cans

  4. #4
    xero's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 2005
    From
    Central Michigan University, MI
    Posts
    186

    Re: Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

    adonian said: View Post
    Xero, thanks for that instructable link, i never thought of them, and i have a membership there, I think i'll try to make that little one and make some armor with plastic instead of trash cans
    Hey, no problem. I help out when I can... I sometimes think people might be annoyed of me because I haven't been able to make my own things yet (little money to my name, being freshly graduated from college and no career job yet...)... but I can help out with info when I know some things / resources.

    Just wish some people would give me some advice in the prop techniques subforum... I have some questions posted regarding a potential technique I want to try. If I can accomplish it, then I would have my own fiberglass Fett helmet. But I don't want to try until I have some solid advice...

  5. #5
    adonian's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2008
    From
    San Diego
    Posts
    1,882

    Re: Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

    I wish I had a fiberglass bucket too, but I just made my second one like the first... With FREE priority mail envelopes resin/glass and bondo, this one is a little lighter in weight since my first one because it's a lot thinner (1/8" compaired to 1/4"), but it's not gonna be as strong as a fiberglass one.

    I hope I will be able to make that table soon enough to try to vac-form a bucket, otherwise I'll try to make a mould and cast it in glass/resin. OH well I can dream, but first I gotta get working again, I've been unemployeed for like 6 weeks ouch.

  6. #6
    ShocKWavE's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2002
    From
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,096

    Re: Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

    Hey Gino.

    Have you ever taken a look at the plans in "The Prop Builder's Molding & Casting Handbook"? If not, you may want to take a look at that. It is basically the same with the exception of the vertical layout. I have been thinking about building a machine similar to the one you are looking at to try forming lexan (which hardens VERY fast compared to HIPS and requires near constant heat source).

    Powerwise, you should be able to run at 115V @ about 20A. I don't think you will need a 220. It is difficult to see how the heating element is designed in that picture which is very important. The heating needs to be as even as possible.

    The vacuum tank should have one cubic ft of capacity per sq. ft of vacuum table (1 cubic ft = about 7.5 gal). You could probably use 1/2" tubing for the smaller size and maybe 3/4-1" for the larger.

    I guess the value of those plans really depends on your project and budget. If you are planning on running something, the cost may be worth it if it's a good design. 100 pages? Also I wonder how the frame mounts and is transfered to the table.

  7. #7
    ShocKWavE's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 2002
    From
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    1,096

    Re: Anyone ever built this style of vac-forming machine?

    Sorry, just saw the plans call for 220.

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