Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

'What is - and how to vac form? The info is not specific to Classic Cylon Centurions, but SURE can be helpful for them and many, many others projects. Here you'll find various threads with great info from our members for the hobby of costuming.
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Tue Jul 26, 2011 2:39 am

Cylon-Knight wrote:Well dude, I got all but maybe 12-ish back, sorry. I might be able to track them down too if you can't repost them. But not tonight... it is another "should have been in bed three hours ago" night.
:cylongold: No Problem Chief :salute: I fixed the ones that were bad...Get some sleep!

Thanks for the help! :salute:


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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:21 pm

:cylongold: Homemade Protoform Machines in action

:cylon: This is a 2X2 Proto machine



:cylon: Here's a guy pulling chest armor



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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:08 pm

:cylongold: More Homemade Protoform Action


:cylon: This guy is making canopies for R/C Model Aircraft





:cylon: This guy is making plastic rocks





:cylon: This is a very cool machine in that it has an electric elevator





:cylon: This is the same machine making a insturment enclosure





:cylon: This guy is giving a demo of his Proto Machine





:cylon: This guy is making a MSE6 Droid mouse from Star Wars with his Protoform





:cylon: Here is the top half





:cylon: This guy is making more armor





:cylon: This guy is making a Sandtrooper Chest plate




I thought you guy's would like to see the Protoform design in action. If you notice, all of the machines are built just a little bit different (Material Variance) but the end result is the same.

If you would like a set of these plans you can find them here at Castcraft

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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:48 pm

:cylongold: PhlatFormer!


:cylon: I just found this machine on the net! :salute: It comes in kit form and is a great home machine :salute: It has a 10X10 work area and the machine is a variation of a Flop Over but the way the transport trolly works allows for the plastic to drop over the plug like a plunge type. It is a very cool design and is made with CNC machined parts. The best part is the Price! :cool:

:cylon: Description:

The Phlatformer is an inexpensive vacuum forming machine Kit and the newest addition in the growing line of Phlatboyz machines. The stout low profile design makes the Phlatformer perfect for every workshop! The forming bed is 10" X 10".

:cylon: Have a look :shock:

[attachment=1]oldphlatformer.jpg[/attachment]
[attachment=3]Phlatformer 2.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: Phlatformer in action




:cylon: This is the kit

[attachment=2]Phlatformer_Kit.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: The Phlatformer Kit includes:

:arrow: - Professionally CNC Cut wooden cabinet parts
:arrow: - All Nuts, Bolts, Screws, Spacers, and Washers
:arrow: - A Set of Hinges
:arrow: - Two Magnets for Lid Enclosure
:arrow: - Three Plastic Pipes, cut to length
:arrow: - Two Plastic Connectors
:arrow: - Foil Tape
:arrow: - High Temperature Adhesive Back Silicone Rubber Seal
:arrow: - Universal Shop Vac Attachment
:arrow: - Momentary Power Foot Switch
:arrow: - Glue, Titebond
:arrow: - Tape
:arrow: - 15 Sheets of .020 Polystyrene
:arrow: - 5 Sheets of .020 PETG

This is a great starter machine and comes in under $200

More details here at Phlatboyz


:cylon: Most common heat source for this machine is the Rival 11 inch electric skillet.

You can get one of these at Walmart

[attachment=0]Rival 11 inch Skillet.jpg[/attachment]

Attachments
Rival 11 inch Skillet.jpg
oldphlatformer.jpg
Phlatformer_Kit.jpg
Phlatformer 2.jpg
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Tue Jul 26, 2011 8:16 pm

:cylongold: Another Vac Machine Build

:cylon: Here is an artical on a full Protoform machine Build

[attachment=0]Protoform Build.jpg[/attachment]
You can see the entire build chronicled here at Code Monkey Crew
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Tue Jul 26, 2011 10:24 pm

:cylongold: Beer Keg Vacuum Former Machine


:cylon: Here is another home Build Machine with step by step instructions and Plans.

I found this one just recently at TK386.Com and it's a good one! A med/large machine on a budjet and it uses a beer keg for a vacuum storage tank :wink:

:cylon: Here are some pics from the build.
There are to many to post so be sure to check this one out! :grin:

[attachment=4]im000856.jpg[/attachment]
[attachment=3]Vactable_frame.png[/attachment]
[attachment=2]im000858.jpg[/attachment]
[attachment=1]Vacuum_Table_Box.png[/attachment]
[attachment=0]Vacuum_Table_hood.png[/attachment]

:cylon: Here is the link one more time! TK386.Com
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Wed Jul 27, 2011 2:08 am

:cylongold: Pics of Protoform builds and other Homemade designs

:cylon: This one is more like the Gingery Machine and has Air actuators to drive the the elevator.

[attachment=4]build10.jpg[/attachment]

:cylon: Here is another Protoform on a shoe string budget :nah:

[attachment=3]IMG_6463.jpg[/attachment]

:cylon: This one ain't bad don't know why the elevator is propped up with a 2x4

[attachment=2]protoformjrbranham935.jpg[/attachment]

:cylon: Protoform on a Twine string Budget! :wtf:

[attachment=1]Another Protoform2.jpg[/attachment]

:cylon: This one is pretty nice though :cool:

[attachment=0]P7060471.jpg[/attachment]


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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Wed Jul 27, 2011 12:26 pm

:cylongold: EXO-Former 24

:cylon: I found this one and it's design is a flip flop but instead of a hard stationary hinge, the pivot point is slotted so you can level out the frame and plunge down on your plug.

[attachment=3]flip_ani_01.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: The Exo-Former 24 is a very cool machine and is available from Vacugenic Corp.

[attachment=2]Exo_Former_24__v02_sm.jpg[/attachment]

:cylon: I wouldnt recommend this machine though because the price is astronomical for such a machine and it comes in at $3,495.00

Way to pricey! :nah:


:cylon: My idea here is that the design of the tall slotted hinge idea could be incorporated in a home build like this machine below

[attachment=1]hobplanphoto.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: Or this one

[attachment=0]DIY Machine 1.jpg[/attachment]
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Last edited by Big Al on Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Wed Jul 27, 2011 4:01 pm

:cylongold: Industrial Methods for Vacuum Forming

:cylon: I decided to post these articals for two reasons The first reason is that I am bored out of my mind just sitting here doing nothing and the second reason is that I thought you would like to see the other methods the industry uses for vacuum forming.

This article is from Sinotech

:cylon:Thermoforming consists of two main steps: heating and forming. Heating is usually accomplished by radiant electric heaters, located on one or both sides of the starting plastic sheet at a distance of roughly 125 mm (5 in.). Duration of the heating cycle needed to sufficiently soften the sheet depends on the polymer, its thickness and color. The methods by which the forming step is accomplished can be classified into three basic categories: (1) vacuum thermoforming, (2) pressure thermoforming, and (3) mechanical thermoforming. In our discussion of these methods, we describe the forming of sheet stock; in the packaging industry, most thermoforming operations are performed on thin films.

:cylon: Vacuum Thermoforming
The earliest method was vacuum thermoforming (called simply vacuum forming when it was developed in the 1950s), in which negative pressure is used to draw a preheated sheet into a mold cavity. The process is explained below in its most basic form. The holes for drawing the vacuum in the mold are on the order of 0.8 mm (0.031 in.) in diameter, so their effect on the plastic surface is minor.

:cylon: Vacuum thermoforming: (1) a flat plastic sheet is softened by heating; (2) the softened sheet is placed over a concave mold cavity; (3) a vacuum draws the sheet into the cavity; and (4) the plastic hardens on contact with the cold mold surface, and the part is removed and subsequently trimmed from the web.

[attachment=4]thermoformed1.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Pressure Thermoforming
An alternative to vacuum forming involves positive pressure to force the heated plastic into the mold cavity. This is called pressure thermoforming or blow forming its advantage over vacuum forming is that higher pressures can be developed because the latter is limited to a theoretical maximum of 1 atm. Blow-forming pressures of 3 to 4 atm are common. The process sequence is similar to the previous, the difference being that the sheet is pressurized from above into the mold cavity. Vent holes are provided in the mold to exhaust the trapped air. The forming portion of the sequence (steps 2 and 3) is illustrated below.

[attachment=3]thermoformed2.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Pressure thermoforming. The sequence is similar to previous figure, the difference being: (2) sheet is placed over a mold cavity; and (3) positive pressure forces the sheet into the cavity.

At this point it is useful to distinguish between negative and positive molds. The molds shown above are negative molds because they have concave cavities. A positive mold has a convex shape. Both types are used in thermoforming. In the case of the positive mold, the heated sheet is draped over the convex form and negative or positive pressure is used to force the plastic against the mold surface. The positive mold is shown in below for the case of vacuum forming.

[attachment=2]thermoformed3.gif[/attachment]

Use of a positive mold in vacuum thermoforming: (1) the heated plastic sheet is positioned above the convex mold and (2) the clamp is lowered into position draping the sheet over the mold as a vacuum forces the sheet against the mold surface.

The difference between positive and negative molds may seem unimportant, since the part shapes are virtually identical, as shown in the diagrams. However, if the part is drawn into the negative mold, then its exterior surface will have the exact surface contour of the mold cavity. The inside surface will be an approximation of the contour and will possess a finish corresponding to that of the starting sheet. By contrast, if the sheet is draped over a positive mold, then its interior surface will be identical to that of the convex mold; and its outside surface will follow approximately. Depending on the requirements of the product, this distinction might be important.

Another difference is in the thinning of the plastic sheet, one of the problems in thermoforming. Unless the contour of the mold is very shallow, there will be significant thinning of the sheet as it is stretched to conform to the mold contour. Positive and negative molds produce a different pattern of thinning in a given part. Consider our tub-shaped part as an example. In the positive mold, as the sheet is draped over the convex form, the portion making contact with the top surface (corresponding to the base of the tub) solidifies quickly and experiences virtually no stretching. This results in a thick base but with significant thinning in the walls of the tub. By contrast, a negative mold results in a more even distribution of stretching and thinning in the sheet before contact is made with the cold surface.

A way to improve the thinning distribution with a positive mold is to prestretch the sheet before draping it over the convex form. As shown in figure below, the heated plastic sheet is stretched uniformly by vacuum pressure into a spherical shape prior to drawing it over the mold.

[attachment=1]thermoformed4.gif[/attachment]

Prestretching the sheet in (1) prior to draping and vacuuming it over a positive mold.

The first step depicted in frame (1) of the figure above can be utilized alone as a method to produce globe-shaped parts such as skylight windows and transparent domes. In the process, closely controlled air pressure is applied to inflate the soft sheet. The pressure is maintained until the blown shape has solidified.

:cylon: Mechanical Thermoforming
The third method, called mechanical thermoforming, uses matching positive and negative molds that are brought together against the heated plastic sheet, forcing it to assume their shape. In the pure mechanical forming method, air pressure (positive or negative) is not used at all. The process is illustrated below. Its advantages are better dimensional control and the opportunity for surface detailing on both sides of the part. The disadvantage is that two mold halves are required; the molds for the other two methods are therefore less costly.

[attachment=0]thermoformed5.gif[/attachment]

Applications. Thermoforming is a secondary shaping process, the primary process being that which produces the sheet or film. Only thermoplastics can be thermoformed, since extruded sheets of thermosetting or elastomeric polymers have already been crosss-linked and cannot be softened by reheating. Common thermoforming plastics are polystyrene, cellulose acetate and cellulose acetate butyrate, ABS, PVC, acrylic (polymethylmethacrylate), polyethylene, and polypropylene.

Mass production thermoforming operations are performed in the packaging industry. The starting sheet or film is rapidly fed through a heating chamber and then mechanically formed into the desired shape. The operations are often designed to produce multiple parts with each stroke of the press using molds with multiple punches and cavities. In some cases, the extrusion machine that produces the sheet or film is located directly upstream from the thermoforming process, thereby eliminating the need to reheat the plastic. And for best efficiency, the filling process to put the consumable food item into the container is placed immediately downstream from thermoforming.

Thin film packaging items that are mass produced by thermoforming include blister packs and skin packs. They offer an attractive way to display certain commodity products such as cosmetics, toiletries, small tools, and fasteners (nails, screws, etc.). Thermoforming applications include large parts that can be produced from thicker sheet stock. Examples include covers for business machines, boat hulls, shower stalls, diffusers for lights, advertising displays and signs, bathtubs, and certain toys.
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thermoformed4.gif
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Wed Jul 27, 2011 5:12 pm

:cylongold: Other Industry Methods part 2


:cylon: This artical is from Empire West and covers a couple of methods the sinotech artical did not.

Thermoforming Information & Resources:
Thermoforming Tech Academy > Forming Methods

:cylon: One of the advantages of thermoforming is tremendous versatility coupled with reasonable costs. While material selection and tool design are variables than will contribute to producing the best part for the best value, the chosen forming technique is just as important What follows is a brief description of the basic forming techniques and their relative advantages.


:cylon: Drape Forming - Male
The plastic sheet is clamped in a frame and heated, then drawn over the mold - either by pulling it over the mold and creating a seal to the frame, or by forcing the mold into the sheet and creating a seal. Then vacuum is applied through the mold, pulling the plastic tight to the mold surface. In this method, the top of the part (area of the mold that contacts the plastic first) tends to be thickest, and the sides and lower portions that stretch and contact the mold last, tend to be thinnest.

[attachment=6]Empire1.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Snap-Back Vacuumforming - Male
After the plastic sheet is heated, a vacuum box seals to the clamping frame. Vacuum applied through this box pre-stretches the material by pulling it into a bubble. Bubble height is frequently controlled by an electric eye. When the plastic has been pre-stretched to the desired height, the mold enters the sheet and seals to the clamping frame. At that point vacuum is applied through the mold, and the vacuum box is allowed to vent to the atmosphere (or light pressure is applied in place of the vacuum). Very deep draws can be obtained with this system, and undesirable material thinning can be greatly minimized.

[attachment=5]Empire2.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Billow Snap-Back Vacuumforming - Male
The heated plastic is clamped and sealed across a pressure box, then a bubble is blown toward the tool. Once the sheet has pre-stretched approximately 35 to 40%, the mold is forced into it while pressure behind the sheet remains constant. When the mold seals to the frame, vacuum is supplied through the mold. In some cases it may also be desirable to increase pressure in the pressure box at this point.

[attachment=4]Empire3.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Straight Vacuumforming - Female
The heated plastic is clamped and sealed to the mold rim. Vacuum is then applied through the mold, causing atmospheric pressure to push the sheet down into the mold. As the plastic contacts the mold it cools. Areas of the sheet reaching the mold last are generally the thinnest.

[attachment=3]Empire4.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Plug Assist Vacuumforming - Female
After the plastic sheet is heated and sealed across the mold cavity, a plug shaped roughly like the mold cavity (but smaller) is plunged into the plastic sheet, pre-stretching the material. When the plug platen has reached its closed position, a vacuum is drawn through the mold to complete the formation of the sheet. Wall thickness can be varied by changing the shape of the plug. Areas of the plug touching the sheet first create thicker areas due to the chilling effect. Consequently, plug design is a critical determining factor in the geometry of the finished part being produced.

[attachment=2]Empire5.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Plug Assist Pressure Forming - Female
Plug assist pressure forming is similar to plug assist vacuum forming, except that as the plug enters the sheet, air under the sheet is vented to the atmosphere. When the plug completes its stroke and seals the mold, air pressure is applied from the plug side. Plug temperatures are also important. By using the proper combination of plug design, plug temperature, and forming pressure, finished part wall thickness consistency can be greatly increased.

[attachment=1]Empire6.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Billow Plug Assist Vacuum/Pressure Forming - Female
After the plastic sheet is heated and sealed across the female cavity, air is introduced into the mold cavity and blows upward toward the plug, forming a bubble that pre-stretches the material evenly. Height of this bubble is frequently controlled by an electric eye. A plug, shaped roughly to the contour of the cavity, plunges into the bubble. When the plug has reached its lowest position, a vacuum is drawn on the mold side to complete the formation of the sheet. In some instances, pressure forming air, supplied through the plug, is also used in this process.

[attachment=0]Empire7.gif[/attachment]


:cylon: Pressure Forming - Heavy Gauge Sheet
Pressure forming is basically thermoforming with the addition of air pressure picking up the final details of a mold rather than relying on vacuum only. This process is used when sharp detail is required on the finished part. Using pressure forming, appearances equivalent to injection molding can be achieved on the mold side of the finished part.

A two-platen machine with strong closing power is required. The basic process of sheet clamping, heating and forming is the same as with conventional forming, but with the following exceptions:

:arrow: 1.Air pressure, 20 to 80 psi, is used to blow the sheet against the mold.
:arrow: 2.The machine must have the ability to have the platens remain closed when the air pressure is applied.
:arrow: 3.Usually heated plug assists are required, and temperature controlled molds are a must.

Pressure forming allows sharp radii, undercuts with sharp detail, textured tooling, and zero part draft. This is the recommended forming technique when the external aesthetics of injection molding are desired, but the part volume is insufficient to justify the injection molding tool cost.
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:06 pm

:cylongold: Making a Former and DIY Vac-Forming by Dave Smith from Canada


:cylon: You can read Daves whole article at Scale Soaring UK and I like this because he makes a canopy for a rather large Model Glider and he uses all home brew methods. He goes from making his plugs, (2 Pc. Canopy) to finished parts very cool and very well done article and also I could not help but notice his plug shapes would be very close to a shin or knee plate or an arm plate or shoulder parts or for arm sleeves well you get the idea .

I particularly liked the pink foam sculpting and assembly of his plugs! :salute:


:cylon: Stacked and glued then shaped

[attachment=5]Pink Foam Canopy.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: First fill, sanding and more shaping

[attachment=4]Pink Foam Canopy2.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: Heating Plastic in the oven

[attachment=0]Pinkfoam canopy4.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: Front finished plug on homemade vac box

[attachment=3]Pink Foam Canopy3.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: Rear Plug with clear plastic pulled over it

[attachment=2]Pink foam canopy4.jpg[/attachment]


:cylon: Finished product instaled on his plane

[attachment=1]Pink Foam Canopy5.jpg[/attachment]



:cylon: This is as basic as it gets! :nah: I have seen alot of videos and poted articles on the home box and I wasn't to impressed but I felt Dave's article was very clean and well explained. Here is the link again Dave Smith DIY Former and Vacuum Forming at Scale Soaring UK
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Pinkfoam canopy4.jpg
Pink Foam Canopy5.jpg
Pink foam canopy4.jpg
Pink Foam Canopy3.jpg
Pink Foam Canopy2.jpg
Pink Foam Canopy.jpg
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Re: Basic Vacumm Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Thu Jul 28, 2011 6:29 pm

Skullbeast wrote:I ordered the desk top to see how it goes, I'll get a bigger one if I like it.
Did you ever get your desk top model? and if so which one :huh:
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Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Skullbeast » Thu Jul 28, 2011 7:45 pm

Yes the hobby co 12x18 desk top. Another project for the list....

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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Big Al » Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:35 am

:cylongold: Original Screen Used Vacuum Formed Styrene Parts


:cylon: Original Screen Used Cylon Suit Complete

[attachment=4]Original Cylon.jpg[/attachment]



:cylon: Original Screen Used Vacuum Formed Cylon Parts

[attachment=1]bsg_cylons.jpg[/attachment]



:cylon: Original Screen Used Vacuum Formed Styrene Stormtrooper Helmet

[attachment=3]Storm Trooper Styrene Helmet.jpg[/attachment]



:cylon: Original Screen Used Vacuum Formed Styrene Stormtrooper Helmets and Armor Parts

[attachment=2]streethelmets1.jpg[/attachment]



:cylon: Not original but complete armor suit is Vacuum Formed

[attachment=0]moldsandvacuum-formedarmor006.jpg[/attachment]



Attachments
moldsandvacuum-formedarmor006.jpg
bsg_cylons.jpg
streethelmets1.jpg
Storm Trooper Styrene Helmet.jpg
Original Cylon.jpg
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Re: Basic Vacuum Forming and Vacuum Machine Building

Post by Cylon-Knight » Fri Jul 29, 2011 8:42 am

^ wow
"All Baseships are now in range to attack the Colonies."
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