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Studio Creations Home Vacuu-Form Table

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 5:16 pm    Post subject: Studio Creations Home Vacuu-Form Table Reply with quote

How to build a home use Vacuu-Form Table , by Studio Creations:


Now we will construct a homemade vacuum-form table with which we will have hours of fun with scalding hot plastic! This is a really easy set-up. Read the instructions all the way through and see just how easy it is.

The vacuum forming process involves:

Clamping a sheet of plastic into a sturdy Holding Frame.
Heating the plastic sheet until it becomes soft.
Placing the frame and the plastic over a mould which is siting ontop of a Vacuumforming Table.
Applying 'vacuum pressure' to the vacuum table (therefore sucking the plastic onto the mould.)
Letting the plastic cool while still applying vacuum pressure.
Separating the plastic from the mold once the plastic is cool.


Construct two frames out of 1X3 boards. Try to stay away from soft woods like pine when making your holding frames. I recommend using birch or walnut. The more dense the wood, the longer the wood will hold up agaist the heat of the oven. I have been using the same walnut frames for over 8 years now (Jan. 2007), where my earlier pine frames only lasted 2 years before they were charred black.

Remember that you will want to measure and build the frames to fit the oven that you will be using.

We will connect the wood frame together with metal brackets.

Lay down two short pieces of wood and two long pieces in the fashion shown.

Position the metal joints at the seam areas of the wood.

Mark the holes that will need to be drilled to accomodate the screws. Drilling the holes is imperative for a proper placement of the brackets. Also, forcing the screws into the wood without drilling holes may "Split" the wood. We DO NOT want to split the wood.

Once the holes are drilled, pour a little glue into the holes, then screw in the screws while the glue is still wet. The glue will secure the screws into the wood extremley well. You do not want the screws falling out due to the extreme temperatures we will be forcing on these frames.

Once the brackets are inplace you will want to be able to secure the frames on to each other so that you can Squeeze the plastic in between them. In the past I used "Lock-down Clamps" and found they worked 'okay'. Another way to connect the frames together is to drill a hole through the Two frames while they are ontop of each other and attaching a long screw to the bottom frame. Do this for each corner of the frames. Once the Bottom frame has 4 screws in it, you will be able to pull the top frame off. These 4 screws work well in keeping the plastic secure inbetween the frames.

A good piece of advice is to mark the frames so you know which way you connected them. I found it troublesome to laydown my plastic only to find out I placed the plastic on the wrong side of the frame in my hastey preparation. The markings help you remmember which way the frames line up together.


Make sure that the table you will be using is large enough to place your 'holding frame' flat onto. The holding frame will be only as big as the intrior of your oven.

Drill a hole through the middle of the table. This hole will be the SUCKING hole for the vacuum process. A Shop-vac, or vacuum pump of some sort, will connect to this hole, causing a vacuum that will SUCK the HOT plastic down onto your molds.

Screw a Circular Fitting onto the bottom of the table, placing it directly over the hole. Seal it with Silicone Caulk if you like. (All the parts for this kind of low-budget vacuumtable can be bought at a local hardware store.)

Screw a Threaded Fitting into the circular fitting. Seal the threaded fitting with plumber's tape, if you want. This Threaded Fitting will connect to the Shop-vac's Reducer Nipple when the time comes. Reducer nipples can be found in hardware stores in the shopvac sales area.

Lay down foam weather stripping inside the dimensions of the holding frame. Put the weather stripping directly UNDER where the frame will go. When you press the frame to the table, the weather stripping will help "vacuum-seal" the frame to the table.

Time for connecting the VACUUMCHAMBER...a.k.a. ...the Shop-vac!

I do not know if a 1.5 or 2 HorsePower shopvac will work for your needs, but I know a 3 HP Shopvac worked well for my first armor projects. Currently, I use a "6" h.p. Shopvac. (updated info. Jan. 2000)

Connect the shop-vac hose to the reducer nipple...

...and slip the reducer nipple onto the vacuum table via the Threaded Fitting. You will not screw the reducer nipple on , but rather slip it onto the pipe. Ducttape the nipple to the pipe to ensure it stays put. You may also caulk the connection area if you feel the need for added vacuum seal.

Connect the hose to the Shop-vac and your ready to vacuumform!

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