VACUUM FORM

The vacuum forming machine uses heated plastic to create a form around a piece or buck. To begin using this machine you first have to create a buck of what you want to form. Bucks can be made out of a multitude of materials like Wood, MDF, or even 3D printed parts.

Once you have defined your buck, it’s time to move to the machine. First, check to ensure the machine is plugged in as well as the vacuum. Also, attach the vacuum tube to the port on the left side of the machine. 

Next place your plastic or material you are going to heat into the hinged frame. Start by unscrewing the handles on the side of the frame to allow it to slide up and down the machine. Lift the frame away from the vacuum bed and place it roughly in the middle of the machine. Open the frame by unscrewing the two black screws at the front of the frame. Open the frame, place your material inside, then close the frame on top of it. 

Move the frame to the top of the machine near the heating elements and turn the machine on. The heating elements will begin to heat your material and it will begin to sag. Place your buck under the heated material and wait for your material to sag to the point of your satisfaction *see general tips*. 

Once the material has reached a good temperature, loosen the frame handles and in one swift but decisive movement, lower the material over your buck. The material should lay cleanly and evenly over the buck. If you fail to do this step correctly you could mess up your form. Once the material is lying over the form turn on the vacuum and the plastic should suction over your piece creating your nice clean form. Wait for the form to cool and then remove it from the machine. 

 

General Tips: 

  • If your buck has hard vertical or generally sharp edges it is a good idea to hand press those edges in before the plastic cools, otherwise, it might leave you with a short slope up to your form. We recommend using wood scraps with a hard 90-degree edge to push those edges in as the material is still hot. 

  • There is no set amount of “sag” for the material once it is heated up, in general, the more sag the further the material will stretch. In use, a maker found that sagging the material to about the level of the frame handles was a good point for most projects.