Vacu-forming tips, anyone?

batninja

Well-Known Hunter
I just got all my stuff together to do some vacuforming (table, vac, frame, molds), but I'm a little in the dark as to the thickness of the styrene. The website studiocreations.com says to use .080", but that's not exactly a common thickness here in Denver. And .093 is too thick to get decent definition (i.e., the 'bumps' on the codpiece).

Those of you that are vac-forming out there, what thickness is decent enough for this? Several local places sell .060". Is that thick enough?

Bradley? Anyone? Bueller?
 

fettpride

Well-Known Hunter

batninja wrote:

I just got all my stuff together to do some vacuforming (table, vac, frame, molds), but I'm a little in the dark as to the thickness of the styrene. The website studiocreations.com says to use .080", but that's not exactly a common thickness here in Denver. And .093 is too thick to get decent definition (i.e., the 'bumps' on the codpiece).

Those of you that are vac-forming out there, what thickness is decent enough for this? Several local places sell .060". Is that thick enough?

Bradley? Anyone? Bueller?


Eric,

I use .093 for gauntlet bottom shells, and any other place where you need serious durability, but for definition of other pieces I use .060. Depending on the height of your mold though (anything taller than 3 inches) your risking it becoming too thin to be counted on for wearing. I have purchased components in the past that are .060 through and through, and had it all crack in the first wearing last year at SDCC.

If you're doing a Cod Piece, the mold will probably be 5-8 inches tall anyway, so I'd go with .093 or thicker. Just remember, the taller the mold, the more the plastic stretches (thins), so if your not careful, even the .093 could end up being too thin, but in general ... the .093 is a standard for most Fett Vac'd parts.

I tend to overkill my own components at times, and even went thicker with .125 on my first Cod, and it was a gem. There's not allot of detail on that piece, not like gauntlets anyway. As long as you hold onto the simple rule that the taller the mold, the thicker the plastic, you can rely on your own judgement from there. And really listen to what studiocreations.com said about the "Sweet Spot" of the heated styrene. When you get familiar with how the styrene acts, you will see that you can eyeball the softening point of the plastic, and adjust that with more or less heat as needed for the project at hand.

Hope that helps some.

Chris
 
R

Rodann

Guest

fettpride wrote:

Hope that helps some.
Damn, I don't even vacuform, and that helped ME!:lol:

I have a Styrene Clonetrooper that varies between .040" and .070+", depending where you measure it. I think I'll reinforce those thin areas.;)

I'm a metal machinist now, but WAAAAAY back when I started in 96, I was a plastics machinist for a couple years. CNC milling vacuformed ABS, polycarbonate, Kydex, ultem, etc....for commercial aircraft seats and panels. I've worked in the Vacuforming department, but a few days don't really count.;)
 

batninja

Well-Known Hunter
Fettpride, you da man. Thanks for the tips. I'm out to get some .093 then. I figured it would be better to use the thicker stuff on 'load-bearing' parts like the backpiece and (ahem) the cod.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes.
 

phantomfett

Active Hunter
Hey Batninja, where are you getting your plastic from? I used to live in Denver as well, and all of the plastic I have I got from Regal Plastics off of Santa Fe. You can see it from Santa Fe going north before you hit Belleview. They had pretty good prices and a good selection. I picked up 1/8", 1/16", and 1/32" thicknesses of plastic in 4'x8' sheets. Have fun formin' man!
 

batninja

Well-Known Hunter
Phantomfett,
I ended up getting my plastic from a supply place in Boulder (.093 was $22 a sheet). I'll probably go back tomorrow and stock up.

On a related note, I just finished vaccing my new codpiece, back and chest armor. I'm pretty happy with the way it came out, although I'm going to re-fill the molded plastic with Fix-It-All, and make another positive mold, sanding the mold until it's baby-butt smooth. A buddy up here found that Fix-It-All dries hard as a rock, is sandable, and takes heat very well. At $5 a bag, it's alot cheaper than hydrocal or Plaster of Paris.
 
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