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Vacuum forming- everything you need to know + helpful links to old forum

I’m about to start building myself a vacuum former having read a bunch of threads and articles from all over.
We don’t yet have a thread for this here so I’m opening this one.
I have a pretty good idea of how to build the thing, what I’m not sure about is the abs sheet material. How thick does it need to be?

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0.125” abs seems to be used a lot. It requires a lot of heat to get it fluid enough to conform to sharp corners

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Thanks! Yeah, I read a lot of warnings that you should make your buck have smooth and rounded edges wherever possible.

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I use kydex .080 and had good result heating the kydex to about 370 degree.

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@Venom121212 just built a small vacuum former and has been doing styrene, give him a shout.

Although he may be too baked to give you good advice right now.

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He can’t be worse than @Psychotiller , he’s baked too. Or is it stoned? I forget which is which.
@midlifecrisis have you tried anything besides kydex? I found a great seller on eBay for abs sheets, I’m not sure what material is the most resilient?

I’m not that stoned guys. I’ve been practicing :wink:
I use polystyrene sheets, not sure how well an enclosure would hold up. It would be great as a base for a stronger fabric or fiberglass. Epoxy would even probably strengthen it enough.

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I vacuum formed my own enclosures before using polycarbonate but it was tricky. It tends to Bubble on the surface if you get it to hot but it is very strong once it cools off again. I ended up switching to ABS in the end and it was much easier to work with.

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No. I never formed anything besides kydex. I read somewhere kydex is stronger then abs but kydex is harder to work with. I might be wrong. I made this enclosure out of kydex a few months ago.

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How do you all heat the plastic sheet with ?
Small furnace or heater ?

I think you have to DIY a custom made oven or broiler if you want a full length enclosure. Or a regular size oven if you do an enclosure in two parts.

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Yes but don’t use that oven for food ever again, it’s poisonous

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Depends on the plastic no ? Like ABS is no good but maybe other might be okay ?

This is the vacuum former that I’m going to be copying, but I’m going to mount the heater box on aluminum poles with the vacuum box at the bottom. The frame for the material will go in between so I can slide it from the heater to the vacuum quickly and accurately. @Balta_6 as I understand it abs is pretty good and so is kydex. The trick is getting the heat right for each material.

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I’m sure you’ve seen it but Adam Savage made one just like you described on Tested (on YT)

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I have indeed seen that one, that’s a whole other level.
This guy did something similar but much cheaper.

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Good ol Bob! Watched that one too

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Has anyone tried nylon sheet for Vacuum forming? I tried finding related videos but didn’t. Why might it not work?

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Found this in the old forum. @Static uses 3D printed buck for making the enclosure. Really cool!

@Static, wouldn’t the 3D printed buck soften and deform around the edges? Did you see that happening?



These pics above are not my pics, they belong to @Static

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Some of the other relevant threads from the other forum are:

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