Introduction: CHEAP Vacuum Forming With Plastic Bottles

This is a cool project you can do with a vacuum former and a few milk bottles,

I will make an Instructable on how to make a former but for now look at others there are some great ones,

you can checkout how to make this with free plans here

https://www.instructables.com/id/Build-an-Easy-Vacu...

Step 1: Gather Your Quipment

I have here a ;

  • Home made vacuum former
  • heat gun
  • toy figure(I got mine from Mc Donalds)
  • And a vacuum

Step 2: Making Stuff..

Plastic from the bottle is then stapled onto a frame.

Step 3: Vacuum Forming..

The frame is then pressed when hot from the heat gun and the vacuum is turned on ,the plastic gets pulled around and sucked down creating an object from the mould.

----------------------------------------------------
Social Twitter https://goo.gl/R1jhBs Google plus https://goo.gl/LRhfpb facebook https://goo.gl/25QrlI -----------------------------------------------------------------

Comments

author
ed shtern (author)2014-10-27

I made it, and it worked. I didn't have a heat gun, but it worked with a candle.

author
Tom Howbridge (author)ed shtern2014-10-28

Wow really that's great ,also I'm just in the process of making a vf instructable !

author
wlellison (author)2014-10-07

What a wonderful instructable. I used what I had on hand: cut a whole in a plastic box, used a vent cover (screen over louvres) for the top/base. Worked like a charm! Since I don't have a heat gun, I popped the plastic (in the wood frame) into a toaster oven at 450 until the bottle plastic became clear and started drooping. I've also substituted cheap, thin plastic cutting boards from the dollar store. Works well.

author
Tom Howbridge (author)wlellison2014-10-09

Nice sounds great good improvisation have you got any pics ?

author
JörgenBörg (author)2017-01-01

thx, will try it as soon as i have milk at home :D

author
milesnorth (author)2015-03-01

COOOOOOL, thanks for the referral. Looks interesting.

author
Tom Howbridge (author)milesnorth2015-03-01

No problem happy to help, if you need any other help with ides for projects shoot me a msg and I will see what I can do.Tom

author
milesnorth (author)2015-02-28

Cooly O Cool! I wanna build a kayak!!!! Whadiya think? Any thoughts? (besides the "you are crazy" thought? :-)

author
Tom Howbridge (author)milesnorth2015-03-01

well there is this

author
CreativeFix (author)2015-01-15

This is so cool! Great Job

author

Thanks, I will have a video and instructable on making it out next week !

author
rimar2000 (author)2014-12-04

Very clever solution.

author
warlekin (author)2014-09-21

If this plastic is food-grade to start with, would it still be food grade after heating it to reshape it or would it be a bad idea to use with food?
This would be a great way to make your own unique candy/chocolate molds but I wouldn't want to make anyone sick.

author
agulesin (author)warlekin2014-11-27

Have a look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_safe_symbol

I think the main problem with this (vacuum forming) is that there may be bacteria etc. on the plastic from the previous product, handling, contact with the former (toy from McDonalds?) etc. So you'll have to be careful but I guess you would wash whatever you made before anything edible. Just make sure you don't try to sell anything made using these moulds, you should be OK :)

Oh, by the way, don't try washing your formed shapes in the dishwasher, they'll end up as flat plastic again!!

author
Tom Howbridge (author)warlekin2014-09-21

ssssh don't tell any one your comment might giveaway my next project :)

author
lukecruzstagg (author)2014-10-03

could you use a hair dryer instead of a heat gun?

author

I have tried that and it does not get hot enough but a candle can be used if your carefull

author
jimmiek (author)2014-10-27

Good Work - just what I was looking for!

author
Tom Howbridge (author)jimmiek2014-10-27

Thanks, ps I will have a video + ible about building it sometime this week !

author
ed shtern (author)2014-10-04

how did you make the vacuum attachment

author
Tom Howbridge (author)ed shtern2014-10-05

I just drilled a hole in the box the size of the vacuum hose but I did not have the right size drill bit so I used a slightly bigger bit and made the hose a bit bigger using milk bottles wrapped around the hose with some electrical tape to keep it in place

Hope this helps !
Tom

author
foobear (author)2014-09-21

What other plastics work well for this? I'm guessing you tried soda bottles already? have been meaning to try this, thank you

author
Tom Howbridge (author)foobear2014-09-25

i cant remember i think i tried but i dont think the cleap bottles (PET) behave the same way as milk bottles (HDPE)

author
bigpig (author)2014-09-21

Have you tried using clear plastic bottles?

author
Tom Howbridge (author)bigpig2014-09-25

i cant remember i think i tried but i dont think the cleap bottles (PET) behave the same way as milk bottles (HDPE)

author
daxxvondrachen (author)2014-09-21

Any ideas on where to get pastic for say 8 1/2 x11. Or 11x14????

author

ebay ,online or some local suplier

author
perfo (author)2014-09-24

I'll join the queue and say nice and simple and does the job, good idea.

I made some concertina / bellows for another project some time ago the type you used to get on the old style cameras. These can be made out of card and work pretty well. I had a thought you could use one of these as the sides to you vacuum chamber so it would collapse when you applied a vacuum.

It would still be in keeping with the simple ness of the project...

author
Eh Lie Us! (author)2014-09-23

Ahhh, this is great!!

For a long I wondered if the plastic sheets that are used in 'professional' vacuum forming were made of the same material as the milk bottles (High Density Polyethylene) and you answered my questions... YES!! A great way to recycle some of this stuff. Thank you so much for posting.

author
atheron121 (author)2014-09-23

What about adding 4 metal guides/rods at the corners of the vacuum box, have the top frame connected to those with eyelets or something of that nature, have the box with the plastic "hover" over the model while you're heating the plastic up, until it starts sagging down quite a bit, and then lower the box with plastic over the vacuum box to be cooled into its new shape?

author
Tom Howbridge (author)atheron1212014-09-23

At the time (4 months ago ) I wanted to keep it simple ,however that would be a great improvement but they could bind , another improvement would be to hinge one side so you could pull it down over at heat it without heat reaching the object.
If you know what I mean

Thanks for the support :)
Tom

author
mvillalpando (author)2014-09-21

Excellent Instructable! I took a Plastics Technology Course last semester in my local community college and found it quite intriguing. I was amazed at the possibilities of plastic technology, but was sort of disappointed to learn how it is limited to a few people/companies due to expensive materials, supplies, machinery, etc. What you've done here is absolutely amazing and made the process be affordable to everyone. Thank you so much for sharing your Instructable!

author

thankyou very much :D

author
WVvan (author)2014-09-22

This is a most excellent Instructable. I've wanted to give vacuum forming a go but never really had a need great enough to justify the set-up costs. You've just shown how to do it with the costs being next to nothing. Kudos!

author
Tom Howbridge (author)WVvan2014-09-22

Thanks its really nice to have a comment like this it helps me allot :)

author
Smitiz (author)2014-09-22

Am I the only one missing how the box is made? :)

author
daxxvondrachen (author)2014-09-21

Cool you saved me a few thousand on a commercial former!!'

author
Bowtie41 (author)2014-09-21

That's a really neat idea!Never thought of it before,but now I'm flooded with ideas.Kudos!

author
macrumpton (author)2014-09-21

I have often wondered if you could create a mold (larger than a milk or soda bottle) then heat up a plastic bottle with a heat gun, and then inflate it inside the mold. You could make pretty large things this way (limited only by your available bottle size), and they could be 360° shapes. Another alternative would be to cut the top off the bottle and put something inside to contract around it, but the seal around the new mouth might be tricky, and getting the object out (if you needed to) would mean cutting the plastic.

author
Tom Howbridge (author)macrumpton2014-09-21

Bottles are made using a preform ,
Also the plastic becomes very thin. But using a preform or a thick pop bottle what u state could be achieved.

author
ericCycles (author)2014-09-21

A local garden shop has two part molds you can use for making zucchini grow in the shape of garden gnomes. I could see this being applied to make those. Just need to be able to cut your original model in half so you can make both sides. This could be a fun winter project :-).

author
Tom Howbridge (author)ericCycles2014-09-21

Yea good to know ,I was thinking I should cut it in half but at the time I did not .

author
Exocetid (author)2014-09-21

This is genius, a truly excellent Instructable!

So clever:

1) Block of wood + vacuum cleaner + heat gun.

2) Milk bottle plastic source.

Kudos, kudos, kudos!

author
hodgepodgerama (author)2014-09-19

I was just thinking through the a project where I need to make a bunch of small vacu-formed parts and BAM! I find this incrediby simple but effective way to make it work! AWESOME!!! And thank you! I'm headed right out to the store to buy the parts to build this.

author
wobbler (author)2014-09-18

Cool! Or should I say hot?

author
electro18 (author)2014-09-18

Great idea ! Thanks for sharing.

author
pumpkinseed456 (author)2014-09-18

Would it work to cut the top off a bottle that is about the right size for the minion, then put it in the bottle and form around it?

author
RamblinLane (author)2014-09-18

That Minion looks really scared ?. I hope Minions were not hurt in this process ? otherwise a nice job

author
Mateo JCF (author)2014-09-18

Cool! I want to try!

author
Battlespeed (author)2014-09-17

Minions!! Yaaaay!

About This Instructable

56,540views

854favorites

License:

More by Tom Howbridge:Build Harley Quinns Hammer From Suicide SquadBuild your own simple IronMan Arc reactorMini Engineers Square From Steel Angle
Add instructable to: