This is a pretty standard design. I have a wooden frame to hold the material to be vacuum formed, and a wooden box with holes on the top to act as the vacuum forming bed. It was cheap to build and works really well.
Step 1: Design and Supplies
A base board would have a hole in it for a household vacuum hose. A small frame would be built in the center of that measuring 11in x 11in. It would be glued to the base and then later sealed with caulk. A square section of pegboard would be glued to the top of that frame and act as the bed for the vacuum former. Separately, two frames made of MDF would sandwich the material to be vacuum formed and those would be held together with bolts. Some sort of rubber tape would run around the perimeter of the frame to form a vacuum seal. This frame with the material in it would go into the oven to heat the plastic and then be placed over the bed to form the part.
I bought the following parts from Home Depot for this project:
- 1x2-8ft Strip: $0.98
- White Peg Board Panel: $8.45
- 3/8"-16 Wingnut (3 bags): $3.54
- Hex Bolt, 3/8x2-1/2 (8x): $2.96
- Foam Tape: $5.67
- 1/2" 2'x4' MDF Project Panel: $9.73
- 1x4-8ft Common Board: $4.12
- 3/4 PVC Pipe: $1.23
- 3/4 90º PVC Elbow: ~$1
You'll need basic wood working tools for this one: a miter saw, circular saw, and a power drill. Wood glue is a must and caulking is optional but recommended. I found a Dremel was just fine to do the job of cutting the center out of the frames, but any method you prefer will work too. You may also want some type of square to make sure those corners are 90 degrees.