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Scratchbuilders!
Built a model or part from your own materials lately?
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vacuum formers - unite!
southpier
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Alberta, Canada
Member Since: December 11, 2009
entire network: 445 Posts
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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 01:38 AM UTC
I am getting the winter projects list ready. this will include some parts I can only think of fabricating by vacuum forming.

searching gave me one solid article http://www.armorama.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Sections&file=index&req=viewarticle&artid=1243 but left unanswered questions.

Q1: is there a missed thread detailing fabrication of vacuum forming table and its use?

Q2: is this a road down which I need to go? more trouble than it's worth?

thanks
Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Member Since: March 15, 2009
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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 03:58 AM UTC
You may want to consult Fine Scale Modeling with Paul Budzik, who has an excellent you tube video on Vac-forming, although he primarily uses a dental forming machine (he's a dentist). These machines are also available at Micro-Mark. I personally use a converted Mattel Vac-Form Machine that's been updated for making small parts. Here's a link to Paul's video, which is highly informative, with information on making masters towards the end:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=e7RkwCerPPA

Keep in mind there are other techniques, such as "smash molding" that may serve for small projects such as canopies and smaller details, without the need to build a machine.

VR, Russ
southpier
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Alberta, Canada
Member Since: December 11, 2009
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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 04:20 AM UTC
thanks; good stuff.

the conundrum:

make a unit/ see how often I use it/ become discouraged/ toss it in the bin


OR

buy a unit/ see how often I use it/ become encouraged/ use it more

https://www.micromark.com/Compact-Vacuum-Forming-Machine

I understand from experience that investing in good equipment is a value, but also I am not doing rocket surgery here . . . .



the blue unit at the beginning of his video is around 200$ US.


I've never regretted the joy of using my Proxon foam cutting table.


guess all this is the byproduct of having too many interests!


Kevlar06
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Washington, United States
Member Since: March 15, 2009
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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 08:07 AM UTC
It really depends on what you intend to do with your vac machine. The larger boxes are generally used by craftsman modelers to scratch build relatively large parts- making entire wing, fuselage or car body assemblies. The smaller machines (as in Budzik's, Micro-Marks or my Mattel Vac-u-form) are used for making smaller detail parts. The cost and availability of plastic for larger applications may be a factor, whereas, smaller machines can use standard Evergreen plastic or other styrene. You also wouldn't want to use a large sheet of plastic to make just one small mold. With my smaller machine, I haven't purchased any "special" plastic for years-- I use Evergreen plastic I keep on hand, and for clear, I use the containers bakery goods and fruit come in at the grocery store (but some of these products will turn opaque with heat, so you need to experiment). I also make my molds from Miliput or Durhams water putty, or build masters from sheet and strip styrene.

You might try Amazon or eBay to locate less expensive options, or build one yourself out of available materials. I've seen Vac-form machines made out of plastic boxes with peg-board tops and two picture frames held together with inexpensive metal clips as Vac-u-form rigs, with a hot plate for heating the plastic. Then there is always the "smash" mold technique ("smashing" heated thermoform plastic down over a mold).

Don't think of a smaller vac-form rig as a one time deal--you might find all kinds of uses for it later on. I use mine to make canopies, panels, hatches and all sorts of details. I've even made candy molds for my wife. Below is a 1/32 model I built of an F4B-4 on a carrier deck outrigger. The hose reels, hatches, and a few other details were all made on my smaller Mattel machine. There is a company that specializes in upgrades for these Mattel machines, and occasionally, you can find Mattel machines on-line for just a few dollars. Here's a link to the F4B:

https://www.largescaleplanes.com/articles/article.php?aid=3127

Hope this gives you some additional ideas.
VR, Russ
southpier
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Alberta, Canada
Member Since: December 11, 2009
entire network: 445 Posts
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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 08:55 AM UTC
thanks; nice plane & display.

from my experience working with commercial vacuum formed bodies, I would be reluctant to make anything that I couldn't make another way!

perhaps lack of experience, but I don't find the medium particularly receptive to my smash & glue tactics.

by the time I get something fitted, there isn't enough material to complete the assembly . . .
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Member Since: May 16, 2002
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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 03:35 AM UTC
Here is an article I did years ago about making a cheap, home-made vacuum machine. I last used it a few years ago (Wow!! It was over 9 years ago!! Seems like yesterday) to make a hull for a 1/35 PBR.
varanusk
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ARMORAMA
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Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain / Espaņa
Member Since: July 04, 2013
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Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 11:46 AM UTC
Here is another home-made one, although the text is in Spanish, google translator should help.
https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/forodemodelismo/termodinamica-espuria-vacuformado-en-el-hogar-t9345.html

krow113
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British Columbia, Canada
Member Since: March 16, 2010
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Posted: Wednesday, September 04, 2019 - 01:01 PM UTC
guagepod has the upgrade set for the vac u form
turns it from a toy into a useable unit