Vacuum Forming Machine


New Hunter
Does anybody know how to build a GOOD vacuum forming machine? I wanted to try my hand at it and was looking for guidance or just point me in the right direction.
it's a pretty advanced build. you need welding, high volt/amp electricity, and plumbing. mine cost about $2K total to build and a few months to assemble.

personally, i make clone wars animated series armor: clone and mandalorian.
yeah Brian makes some kick-donkey gear :D

I looked into making one, but got too concerned by the amount of DIY knowledge and space to store it - I was wanting to do a Thurston type former.

another nice website to check out is -

I guess, a big question would be - what do you want to vac form; as obviously a smaller table would be cheaper to get together, and you may want to check local colleges to see if you can rent time on one.
the "flip flop" style, like the thurston james one, isn't good for big parts.

the plastic nearest the hinge can hit the positive form and sticks. the rest of the plastic then stretches unevenly across it. to really make the flip/flop work, i'd say you'd need to have the hinge slide up in addition to flipping over.

the other thing, which is the BIG reason i didn't go that way, is that the plastic sags as it heats, and the sagging gets faster the hotter you go.

with the protoform style, your plastic is sagging away from the heater. with the thurston james one, it's sagging TOWARD the heat source, which has FIRE written all over it.
oh I definaetly see the advantage of the proto-from up/downy former
and I really wish we had a similiar company in the UK - the oven elements. its the wiring and the ceremic posts that stressed me to the point of NOT doing it. Guess if I wait abt 10 years - as thats usualyl how long it takes the UK to catcvh up to the US, it will be avaailbe!

thanks for info Brian

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