Instructables

Lasercut Vacuum Former with hinged sizer

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Picture of Lasercut Vacuum Former with hinged sizer
I know there are a few vacuum formers already available on Instructables. Well here is my version. It is slightly different from the others.

All the MDF parts are laser cut. Though this is not necessary for a vacuum former generally, but is very useful for the sizer. The sizer on top is hinged and can be removed with the sprung hinges.

In many of the Instructables I've seen, the frame cannot be resized. This hinged sizer allows for you to use even the small pieces of plastic you have left over, so nothing goes to waste.

The dimensions of this vacuum former are 400mm x 400mm x 100mm. However you could make it bigger or smaller.

Materials
6mm MDF will probably be best suited to this project.
Hinges and screws
Side hook and eye catches x 4 (x how many sizer rings you build in)
2 x toggle catch/latch + screws (optional)
single sided rubber seal/draught excluder.
Piece of pipe.

If you don't have access to a laser cutter you could use a laser cutting service like this:
http://www.razorlab.co.uk/. I have used Razorlab and found their service very good and quite reasonable. They are based in South London, UK.

WARNING
DON'T FORGET LASERS ARE EXTREMELY DANGERS TO LOOK AT. ALWAYS PROTECT YOUR EYES. DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE BEAM. USE PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR

Alternatively you could cut square and rectangular pieces with a band saw and glue and screw.

Or you can try and win one with the instructables contest:
http://www.instructables.com/contest/hurricanelasers/
 
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Step 1: Assemble and Glue together

Picture of Assemble and Glue together
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Squeeze a bead of glue around the bottom part of the box that will meet the sides parts.

Do the same to the first side. Don't forget to place glue on the box joints too. Stick in place. Repeat on the remaining 3 sides and stick in place.

Now do the same for the top and stick in place.

Wipe away any excess glue with a damp cloth.

Use bar clamps to hold the box together.

Leave to dry for 24 hours.

vegasrandall7 months ago
why not glue a gasket on prior to laser cutting? it would be much faster than cutting the individual strips and then it would act as a better vacuum seal.
qwixel1 year ago
a few half inch center posts near the center not blocking holes could help stave off the sagging you mentioned as well. Just a thought.
Nick705871 year ago
Thats cool. Do you lose any suction in the small cracks between the different sizes? Also, where do you put the plastic sheet?
Paulbacca (author)  Nick705871 year ago
Good question! This is one of the advantages of laser cutting. The box itself does not need to be laser cut. It just makes it more aesthetic.

However, the sizer actually benefits from laser cutting. The kerf (material the laser cutter burns away) is approx 0.2mm providing a very snug fit. This together with the rubber seal on each ring maximises suction.

I also suspect that 1tri2god's suggestion about coating the platen for extending the life of the vacuum former will also have the added benefit of providing a bet airtight seal.

The plastic goes on the platen then the sizer closes on top of it sealing it off.
Is there a seperate frame for holding the sheet that is not shown?

I like it. It beats making several different sized frames like I have.
1tri2god1 year ago
and also, a quick shellac spray of the fiberboard (left to dry) before drilling for some reason has made the vacuum surface last longer than previous vacuum boxes that have sagged over time...
so, I guess .04 cents
Paulbacca (author)  1tri2god1 year ago
Thanks! I was thinking of varnishing it.
i would love to see some of your finished vacuum formed results! Thanks for the share.
Paulbacca (author)  audreyobscura1 year ago
I will try an add some pictures soon.
rimar20001 year ago
Clever design!
Paulbacca (author)  rimar20001 year ago
Thanks!
1tri2god1 year ago
WOW...great minds! I made this EXACT same thing!!! Well, except the dimensions were different;) Anyhow, one thing I learned through trial and error is that the rubber seals have a tendency to leak, which isn't a big deal unless you're doing this for fairly high fidelity shaping. There were 2 things I did to make the seal stronger:
1. use a silicone bead just at the nook of where the frame and the rubber intersect (small, as you only barely want it to also intersect with the smaller frame's outermost edge, or
2. just make multiple frames with different internal dimensions (more sturdier, longer lasting design, but tends to make more clutter of the frames you're not using at the time)...


just.02, but bravo on the write up! If I'm not too lazy, er, busy in the next few days I'll post pics of what I mean!