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Building a Vaccuum Former

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  • Member since
    November 2005
Building a Vaccuum Former
Posted by Anonymous on Saturday, April 26, 2003 11:58 PM
I am about 80% done with my new former. It has been a real learning experience, especially with plans less than detailed.

Today I finished the oven box and cut the insulation board. What a mess that was! Tomorrow I will finish the oven and attach the rest of the hardware. That will leave me with the frame to hold the plastic to make and a vaccuum pump to buy.

I guess you can call this a model in the works! I'll take a pic or two tomorrow and post up.
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Third rock from the sun.
Posted by Woody on Sunday, April 27, 2003 6:48 PM
Where did you get the plans for your vacuform machine?

" I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." --John Paul Jones
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, April 27, 2003 9:32 PM
I got the plans from here http://www.build-stuff.com/index.htm#Proto-Form%20Plans

I have talked to the guy on the phone before and emailed several times. Very nice fellow. He used to make an all metal version but it wasn't cost effective for him to produce outside of his business and the demand was too great to keep building them himself. At least that is what I remember.

The plans are okay, not engineering drawings (if that is what you are used to) There are several suggestions that I would make in constructing it to avoid the mistakes I made.

I will be sending him a marked up set of plans and suggestions once I am done.

All in all it looks really good. I just finished making the oven.

1. I have to put the close out trim on it and do the wiring.
2. Attach the switches/fuses and electrical plug
3. Finish the platen. (have to put formica on surface, form aluminum sheet and
drill holes in it) Then assemble the whole thing (put the plumbing etc on it and
attach to body of former.
4. Have the steel frame made (for holding the plastic sheets)
5. Buy a vacuumm pump. (little critters are pricey for a good one)

I will get some pic's later in the week I hope and post up what mine looks like.

Be prepaired for about 40-80 hours of work depending on your level of wood working skills, etc. Also, on how much time you can spend on the project as well as funds availability will determine when you finish as well. I think with plans and oven kit including all the supplies I bought (I bought upgraded stuff and added some other things to make mine a little better, modeler's just can't ever build right out of the box can we?Big Smile [:D] ) I have spent around 400 dollars, not including a 300-400 dollar pump. Of course you can spend less if you don't upgrade as much or buy the best of the best in pumps.

Hope this helps, I will keep the forum updated on my progress. Next is to convert my pressure pot for painting into a vacuumm/pressure pot for mold making and resin casting.


  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Third rock from the sun.
Posted by Woody on Monday, April 28, 2003 12:31 PM
Thanks for the information, looks like they have alot of useful plans and books. Big Smile [:D]

" I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." --John Paul Jones
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 28, 2003 9:32 PM
Not a problem, if I can be of help let me know.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 7:56 PM
simple. make wood box, drill holes, shopvac.
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 29, 2003 10:33 PM
Not really, not if you want the best in forming power. I thought it was until I did some research and found out otherwise. Shop vac's just don't have the suck power and wood is really porous and won't hold the vaccuum.

Of course for small projects of simple design and relatively small the above suggestion would work.
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Third rock from the sun.
Posted by Woody on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 8:57 PM
I have a shop vac set up. It's ooooook, but there is no substitute for a real vacuformer. I like to do more than just canopies.Big Smile [:D]

" I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." --John Paul Jones
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, April 30, 2003 10:29 PM
This one I believe will form like up to 1/2 inch thick plastic!
  • Member since
    December 2002
  • From: Third rock from the sun.
Posted by Woody on Friday, May 16, 2003 6:48 PM
Did you get your machine up and running? If so what have you been using it to make?Big Smile [:D]

" I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way." --John Paul Jones
  • Member since
    November 2005
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, May 18, 2003 12:32 PM
Not yet. :( I still have to finish the wiring. Have to get a better soldering iron. Then finish the platten and find a vaccumm pump.

First project will be to finish the DS9 USS Defiant!
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