Step 11: Building Bigger...

Get some more practice with it; see what you can do and how it all works.

If you would like to make a bigger vacuum forming machine, you will need the following:

--One 5 gallon plastic trash can with an approximately 8x12 inch rectangular top.

--One 8x12 inch metal baking pan

--One or two tubes of silicon caulk.

--One 20 ounce coke bottle or similar.

--Two picture frames about 8x10 inches.

Do basically the same thing as above on a larger scale. Drill a grid pattern of small holes in the baking sheet. Cut the bottom off the 20 ounce coke bottle. Cut a hole just large enough for the 20 ounce bottle near the bottom of the trash can. (Now here's where I have had a bit of a problem, you may need to reinforce or brace the inside of the trash can and/or the bottle with some wood or something before you go on, otherwise, it'll collapse under the vacuum some. It hasn't caused too many problems for me, but it could for you.)

Put the 20 ounce bottle in the hole in the trash can and caulk the seal between them pretty strongly to make sure that it is air tight. Then turn the baking sheet up side down and caulk it to the trash can. Let dry, and you are done.
<p>I am pretty sure that most RC card bodies are made of lexan.</p>
<p>hey well i lack experience and i have no ide what ican do with a finished prototype</p><p>please help thankyou</p>
<p>yeah this is really cool </p><p>but i lack experience so i have no clue what i can do with the finished product </p><p>please help me out.</p>
Very good project, just finished making it today. Soon I will have my own homemade Warhammer 40k miniatures thanks to you! Whats the best way to make the frame? I am running into some slight trouble with my frame not working very well.
lol i know im a lil late, but you can also make an exact copy of ur mold by reverse molding it, by sitting the mold of the object upside down and molding the inside of that mold
I'm not sure if this is the correct plastic, but what about the thin cutting sheets used for chopping veggies and such? It seems like the perfect size. Obviously, you can buy the clear/opaque ones, but there's also different colors, which might be beneficial to some prototypes.<br> <br> I don't what they use to add the coloring... not sure if it would cause any problems. Anyways, just a suggestion because they're cheap and easy to find. The attached image shows what I'm referring too. They're 0.2&quot; thick: 1. Flexible Cutting Board 2 Pack (12&quot; x 18&quot;) - $3.99 on webstaurantstore.<br> 2. MIU Flexible Cutting Board, Set of 5 (11&quot;x15&quot;) - $9.99 on Amazon.<br> <br> I was also thinking of laminating sheets, but I think they'd be too thin and stretch to the point of tearing. I'll let you know the results I get if I try either of them. Great Instructions though, thanks!
Type 6 plastic is the most effective and stable medium for this. Others probably could work, you should just be careful and look up there melting points and toxin release rate for them
QUESTION!! is it possible to use plexigless as the plastic!?
how did you get the car out of the mold w/o deforming the mold?
You have to make sure you pick something to mold that has sloping sides. IN this case, the little side mirrors on the car gave me problems, but I fiddled with it until they came out. Usually a shape with sides sloping 5 degrees or more work pretty good. If you have to reform the mold, I usually just pop it back out when I am finished, or heat it up just a bit after I remove the original. That helps is somewhat. Maybe others have better tips. Hope this helps!
couldn't you use any object the right size but score seams and break it, then fill with glue and wait till it sets in both halves, then stick them together when they are nearly dried, it will become nearly solid :P (about a month drying time tho :C lol)
Wow, thanks for this instructable, I didn't realize the concept of these was so simple. I made the small one and it worked a treat. I then made one out of an old oven emptied out welded airtight with the glass replaced with plexiglass. as the vacuum source, a garden blower\vacuum, I made a frame for this to go on top with clamps. <br><br>to make things a little easier for the heat source, I got one of those portable bbq stoves. I then hung it upside down above my frame unit and fixed a sheet of aluminium just below that with a 2cm gap from the stove and a 2mm space from where my clips and frame is.<br><br>Finally clamp my sheet up top, turn on heat source. heats up aluminium and with the small gap it heats up most of the plastic.<br><br>and your good to go, I've made things up to 70cmW x 70cmL x 30cmH with this setup... though the oven could be replaced with anything its all i had and i had the welder rented the day before for something else anyway.
Wow! Glad to see that this project inspired you to not only build one, but to go further with the idea. Great job! post some pics or an instructable if you can, I'm sure people would be interested in seeing your device.
i like making stuff and this will most likely save me time/money.
I made a tiny one from a soda bottle cap and used milk jug plastic, it worked great! I just held the plastic to a wood frame with office clips then heated it 2 inches above a candle, just move in a circular motion don't let sit in one place, when the plastic turns clear you are good to go.
Thanks for a great instructable. Many years ago there was a &quot;toy&quot; vac-u-form, I believe made by Marx. I had one and played around with it. I think I will definitely be making one of these. I think this could be most useful (and inexpensive) to make molds from which one could make wax models for lost wax casting.
I wonder if using a cylindrical trash can instead of the rectangular one might make it less likely to be deformed by the vacuum? Seems like the large flat sides would make the rectangular trash can more vulnerable.
just wanted to thank you for posting this instructable, I used totally different materials (only things I had on hand without spending anything) and man does it look good. I plan on using old DVD cases to form around my cell phone to make a custom holster for it, then who knows I've a good imagination. I also added a one way valve using thin sheet plastic so once the vacuum is created it will hold till the work peice is removed. it's still drying so I haven't tested it yet. Cheers Chris
The best place for all kinds of parts is McMaster-Carr. My engineering buddies told me about this place and it always has everything you could need for any project (that I've run across). HDPE link to McMaster-Carr http://www.mcmaster.com/#hdpe-sheets/=87yw82 I don't work for these people, It's just every time I've hit a materials roadblock this company would get me out of that rut. Hope this helps any other builders out there short for materials.
Go to Lowes, Home Depot or any Hardware and get Acrylic sheets. They are sold anywhere PlexiGlass is sold. IE: Storm doors and windows. There is acrylic and poly.... something sheets. sorry I forget the exact name of the poly sheets, But I have used the Acrylic sheets and they work great and are sold in many different thickness. So if you have something tall to do, you wont strech it too thin. And as for heating it, Use your oven set for 350 to 400 for 3 to 4 minutes. Hope this helps.
The lining on the boxes that cooking grease comes in are HDPE. Ask your local restaurant if they can save you one. You get about a foot and a half square of flat plastic off each side, if not more.
&nbsp;This is very helpful. &nbsp;I am having a hard time finding the plastic sheets you refer to. Could you post a link?
This looks easy to make. But with it being finished, how do i use it? like, how does it suck?...or is just a replica or an actual working vacumm.
How did you make the popsicle frame so that it was even?
I made something like a&nbsp; &quot;rabbit&quot; joint at the ends of the large popsicle sticks so that they fit together evenly. Then reinforced the corners by gluing smaller popsicle sticks across the corners, but only on one side. This left the other side flat. Making two of these allows you to clamp plastic between the two flat sides.<br /> <br /> You can use any kind of frame for this though, Dollar store picture frames are another idea I had.<br /> <br /> Goog luck!<br />
Sweet, thanks! I plan n making this, then the garbage can sized one and ordering sheets online, then once I learn to weld I will make one like MythBusters did.<br />
Would using screen (like for a screen door) work?<br />
Here is a good list of HDPE products http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-density_polyethylene<br />
I do not have a heat gun nor an electric stove burner. Does anyone else have any recommendations for heating the plastic? Great instructable
Late reply, but it might help someone.&nbsp; Years ago, I was building a replica of a sci-fi robot and needed a clear curved/bubble faceplate.&nbsp; I put a piece of plexiglas over an old electric space heater set on low and it worked great.&nbsp; I didn't have a mold; I&nbsp;just softened it and then held it horizontal and let it droop a bit, and repeated the process until it was the shape I wanted.<br />
You really need an electric heat source. Anything with an open flame will melt the plastic and make it useless. You can attempt to use a hair drier, but I really don't think that'll work well. You are better off buying a heat gun. They are pretty useful if you do other projects and crafts.
I used a blow torch, i used the highest flamer size and waved it rapidly over a 6x6" plastic sheet, the plastic was thicker than most vacuum forms s that probably why it worked, But if you move the heat enough it won't burn a hoel through it.
&nbsp;Question. Milk bottles are used in a food context so if you cleaned said milk bottle plastic THOUGHLY after melting/shaping would it still be food grade?<br /> <br /> Cheers, feel like making a huge one.<br /> &nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Chris<br />
Food grade is an measurement of sterility of the manufacturing and shaping process as well as lack of impurities in the actual content of the container itself.&nbsp; So in theory, as long as the milk carton was THOROUGHLY cleaned, as well as your vacuum forming device, you'd be pretty close to the spirit of the description.&nbsp; I can't speak to the measure of off-gassing that plastics do when heated, though (as you'll note that milk containers use a different plastic than, say, the ones intentionally designed for use in the microwave).&nbsp; Hope that helps!&nbsp; All around, a great instructable to get novices into the art of vacu-forming!<br />
&nbsp;Thanks.. I'll see how it turns out before I start a cancerous pet-project.
ive been wanting to do something like this for a lego gummie instructable :D
Instead of the coke bottle...couldnt you use a vacuum attachment for easier hook up? Probably one of the lesser / if ever used ones.
thats right. and you avoir collapsing problems with the bottle...<br />
&nbsp;Hot water. And alternate to heat gun for those cheap like me.
There is also a&nbsp; much easier way! Though this way sounds fun. <br /> ShapeLock plastic pellets you melt with hot water only can be used easily for most things like this, however- you need to have it definitely ON the item you want to copy or add to before melting with hot water,. Otherwise, working with it after will leave you with bumpy products you must try harder to make look good. So there are times you'd probably want to use a thin plastic sheet instead. Many things can be done with though, &amp; it's strong.&nbsp; Can also be used for emergencies. I love it.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; * See ShapeLock.com.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Gotta try this way on Instructables though, sounds really fun!<br />
&nbsp;Would the plastic sheets used in laminators work?
&quot;Would the plastic sheets used in laminators work?&quot;<br /> Probably not advisable, since they contains 2 (or more) layers of different plastics with different melting points.<br /> <br /> The inner layer melts at a much lower temperature than the outer, so that the inner layer sticks to the paper being laminated, while the outer layer is unaffected by the heat.<br />
I need to make 2 plastic cylendars kind of like ink pen style. Where ifyou turn one the pin will come down. Does anyone have an idea of how to do that? Thanks
&nbsp;Why don't you try just replacing the ink thingy with a needle?
I built one using a massive shop vac, it works really well, preliminary tests showed i need a better way of heating plastic... might make a Plastic "Furnace"-- aside from that it works very well. made a few plastic models of electronic components (Capacitor-rectifier-Quarts crystal)
thank you very much for your free site...i really hope this helps me creat a prototype for my invention...my question is i am looking for a soft non degradable plastic for medical ..use... or where i can go or see plastic samples..use. thanks again
I'm really not sure where you can find medical grade plastic. The best idea I can think of is to make some prototypes yourself to get the shapes the way you want, then go to a company that will help you with manufacturing such as Enventys. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.enventys.com/">http://www.enventys.com/</a> or IDEO <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.ideo.com/">http://www.ideo.com/</a> They have the experience required to help design, fabricate, and manufacture medical devices that can be implantable.<br/>
thank you sheekgreek..i will note these ideas and follow up...i must get this product on the market asap...

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