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Large Vacuum Former on Instructables

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Joined: 27 Sep 2005
Posts: 497

PostPosted: Sun Mar 08, 2015 10:34 am    Post subject: Large Vacuum Former on Instructables Reply with quote

Here's a project build for a large vacuum forming machine. There's a few things I disagree with regarding their build, but it does show creative solutions for some of the challenges that go into building a vacuum forming machine from scratch.


I really hate the large MDF box for the forming platen. Although it's been eons since Dr. Crash posted on these boards, it was from his prodding that I went with a single hole platen made from a sheet of aluminum. The detail on my first pull was amazing!

Next, they're using a pair of vacuum impellers. They are good for moving large volumes of air, but will only pull 5" to 10" of mercury (10" is being really generous). If you really want suction, go with a real vacuum pump!

But, until they replace that giant leaky MDF box, they will not see an improvement in performance. It looks like they got good pulls with their tools, but HIPS is very forgiving, and can be overheated to bring out the details in the molds. But if you try that with ABS, you'll be sorely disappointed.

The halogen lamps for heating the plastic are a really cool (or should I say "hot") idea. There's been some discussion about that on our boards, but I don't recall if anyone actually implemented them.

The fancy control panel is very cool! Way beyond my abilities, but that's the benefit of working in a HackerSpace. You can work with folks from all kinds of different backgrounds and abilities to make something magnificent!

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Joined: 01 Nov 2014
Posts: 26

PostPosted: Sat Apr 11, 2015 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well there are loads of machines that have been built and function after a fashion and get posted to build logs on the internet. While results may vary among these different machine you have to realize that not everybody has the budget or the skill set to build a quality machine nor do they necessarily need a pro quality machine. After a lot of research I decided to go ahead with my Proto Form build and immediately bought the plans and then the heater elements kit from the author. My build log is on this forum. So far the plans have been very good and the build straight forward. I wanted a capable and reliable machine that can make hi quality formed parts for resale so a solid machine was important. Throughout my research I could not find a bad word written about the ProtoForm machine!

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