Adventures in Vacuum Forming (part 1)

One of the intriguing pieces of equipment we have on hand is a vacuum forming machine (a Centroform Ezform 1217). It’s time to learn how to use it effectively.

After a miserable failure with some plastic from Home Depot designed to diffuse fluorescent lights, I decided to order some proper materials and give it a go with small objects laying about. Below are some pictures from this semi-successful attempt. The plastic is 0.03″ PTGCE-PETG, recommended as the easiest to start vacuum forming with. All of these parts were done on a single sheet, which costs about $3.50 per sheet.

The 3D printed octopus molded really well. I was concerned that the hot vacuum form plastic would stick to the PLA the octopus is made out of, but it worked with no problem and it preserved a lot of the detail. The brass hood from a soldering station also worked out fairly well, although you can see where the plastic didn’t pull completely tight around the bottom, probably because the sharp edges popped the plastic in the middle opening, resulting in a loss of suction. The piece of white coral molded ok but with a significant loss of detail. The wooden blocks show the limits of this technique–the high straight sides led to significant folding in the plastic.

Of course this was my first real attempt so I am sure it could have been done better.

We need to schedule a vacuum forming night soon. I’ll do that shortly.

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3 thoughts on “Adventures in Vacuum Forming (part 1)

  1. Jacob Lites

    That’s really cool!
    I’ve been looking at that thing, I know several of my friends have projects that they might use this for (Batman: under the red hood mask FTW). I’d love to see it in action and learn how to use it, along with all the woodcutting stuff! Can’t wait!

  2. Pingback: Vacuum Forming — Does it Really Suck? | Innovation House

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