Building MoldsSubscribe
  1. broodmceto's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2004
    Jul 12, 2004, 2:42 PM - Building Molds #1

    I'm interested in doing some vacuforming, and there's tons of stuff on that. But there's not much in the way of the molds ro use. Can you make a mold from anything and then form the ABS on it? Or is it like 'glass/resin where you need a release agent? Does the ABS tend to stick onto the mold?

    I would like to put together something using my PVC Board, then use that as a mold for an ABS version. Will the two plastics stick to each other, or would the heat of the ABS warp/bend the sintra?

    I know it's a lot of questions, but I'm just curious. You know 'measure twice, cut once' train of thought.

  2. Become a member for 90 days and create 50 posts and you won't see these ads.Register now!
  3. Jodo Kast 2749's Avatar
    Member Since
    Sep 2003
    Jul 12, 2004, 4:29 PM - Re: Building Molds #2

    I know the sintra has a pretty low melting point. I'm guessing even lower than than the ABS. It might work once or twice bit in the end I think wood, metal or even plaster as a mold material will hold up better. Just my inexperienced guess. I've never vac'd anythng myself.
  4. MARROW SUN's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 2004
    Jul 12, 2004, 4:57 PM - Re: Building Molds #3

    I've successfully Vacuum-formed over a mold made from sintra without any problems. Don't see any problems using PVC, but if your a little gun shy, just wax up your mold for extra security.
  5. Jul 12, 2004, 5:02 PM - Re: Building Molds #4

    You can vac over just about anything that will stand up to the heat of the hot plastic your using, and the pressure of the suction from the vac'ing process..

    A lot of people seem to be using MDF/fiber board, to make molds or "bucks" as they can be called.

    If you don't have something perfect the first time, then a good cheat is to vacuform a thin piece of plastic over your product( like rigid foam, plaster, wood, pvc, resin, etc..) then take the vacuformed plastic piece and fill it with something hard and durable like a hard resin or ultracal... etc.. then you have a good mold to vac several copies from.

    Just some ideas for ya...


  6. broodmceto's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 2004
    Jul 13, 2004, 12:25 AM - Re: Building Molds #5

  7. Member Since
    May 2002
    Jul 17, 2004, 8:33 AM - Re: Building Molds #6

    The plastic never actually melts, and so won't stick to your pattern in the usual sense. However, if your pattern has paint on it anywhere the paint may melt and stick to your plastic. If you made the patter by glueing together layers of MDF and then carving, be wary- any glue that is exposed by carving may melt and stick when it contacts the hot plastic.

    And while the plastic won't stick to things, the vacuum forming process does create a vacuum seal between the part and the pattern. Normal air pressure is roughly 15 psi. If your vacuum formed part has a surface area of 36 square-inches (or 6" by 6") the pressure holding that plastic to the pattern is around 540 pounds. When releasing the plastic, keep in mind that you don't want so much to yank the pieces apart as break that seal. if the part is round and smooth, this won't be terribly difficult. If it has flat surfaces or surfaces nearly perpindicular to the surface on which you do your forming, this becomes harder. More curves and folds will make the part less flexible. You want to "wiggle" the part to release it- that is, break the vacuum seal by flexing the part as much as you can. Another good trick is to use a compressor with one of those needle tips, like you would use to blow up a basketball. try and wiggle the tip in between the plastic and the part, and then blow air in. The force of the air will often break that seal, and let the part release easily. Tapping the part with a rubber mallet can wor, as will tapping in thin wooden shims between the part and the pattern. The technique which works best will vary from part to part, so try them all until something works.

Similar Threads

  1. Any tips for molds
    By Morphen Jar in forum Prop Building Workshop
    Replies: 62
    Last Post: Nov 8, 2010, 11:18 AM
  2. clay for molds?
    By aguma in forum Prop Building Workshop
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Oct 6, 2009, 6:06 AM
  3. Helmet Molds
    By Outlaw Assassin in forum Boba Fett Helmet
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: May 20, 2008, 6:43 PM
  4. Molds and casting
    By Nocturne in forum Prop Building Workshop
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Oct 7, 2005, 12:12 AM
  5. DVD Casting and Molds
    By Excalibur in forum Prop Building Workshop
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: Feb 13, 2005, 9:42 AM