Make a Vacuum Former Box $30




About: I work in a machine shop as an apprentice and enjoy working with robotics. YouTube Channel: ManBehindtheCanon3

This Instructables will show you how to make a very cool Vacuum Former box for just about $30!

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Step 1: Materials

1/2" Plywood
Duct Tape
.02 Polystyrene
Shop Vac

Step 2: Make the Frame

To start out make a square frame out of the 2x4, mine was 22"x 24"

Step 3: Make Vacuum Former Plate

Now take your 1/2" Plywood and cut out a square 24"x26" next cut two 3"x 24" pieces and two 3"x 26 pieces. Take the 2x2 and cut 4 2.5" pieces.  take one of the side pieces and drill a large hole into it mine was an inch and a half but could have been larger. This is where the shop vac hose will connect to. Then cut out piece of pegboard the same size as your base, or 24"x26".

Step 4: Assembly

Take the 4 2x2's and screw them from the bottom of the 24"x26" base then take the four 1/2" sides and screw them on.Take the pegboard and screw it onto the 2x2s. There now you have all the pieces required.Then take the shop vac hose and push it into the hole and secure it. I used duct tape but am currently working on a better solution.

Step 5: Plastic

I ordered mine from the actual plastic is cheap but shipping is an arm and a leg. If you can find polystyrene anywhere else .02 to .04 inches it will do just fine. Take the plastic and cut out a square that is the size of the 2x2 frame then staple it on nice and tight.

Step 6: Molding!

Take what ever object you want to mold and place it in the center of the pegboard box. Turn your oven to broil and let it heat up. While your waiting for it to heat up move your pegboard box as close as you can to the oven being quick is key the plastic cools fast so the quicker the better. Also make sure your shop vac is sucking not pushing. Once the oven is hot place your 2x4 frame with the plastic into the oven make sure to wear oven mitts as it gets hot. At first the plastic will start to bubble and get wavy and then settle back flat this is when it is time. Take out the 2x2 and place it over the mold turn on the shop vac and hold the frame for a minute. Then your done! Just be careful to not break the plastic when digging the mold out.  ( I'm sorry I don't have a picture of the shop vac hooked up but I'm sure you can imagine what it looks like!)

Step 7: Things to Mold

I have made a Light Saber, and Iron Man Mask (Which I will soon make a tutorial for)

Step 8: Things to Note

Say you molded something but it didn't come out just right and you want to try again. Wait for the plastic to cool then put it back in the oven and it will reform itself again. You get about 3 or 4 uses of the plastic until it gets thin and breaks easy. Good Luck!

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    10 Discussions


    1 year ago

    There are a few ways to make this box , as for vacuum connection get a PVC pipe connection, male & female, female inside the box male on vacuum hose outside then screw on & off as needed


    3 years ago

    hi there i have seen your make diy vacuum former which hubby is making as we speak

    as i am new to this i would like some information as to what sort of plastic sheets to buy to use for chocolate moulds

    i,m in australia and would love to know where i can purchase these

    thanks for your time


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hey guys I wanted to let you know about my blog. So here it its:

    the only issue that I have w/ it is the fact that pegboard isn't all that stable, it tends to break under pressure, & w/ a vacuuformer table there will be lots of pressure.

    3 replies

    I have done almost this exact set up. Though mind had the oven built onto it with a frame to flip the plastic onto the oven and back to the work space.

    To overcome the strength issue with the pegboard you can place spacers in the blank spaces between holes. Putting a hanfull of spacers works great.

    I've seen a similar project done but instead of using pegboard for the vacuum table, the builder used a piece of MDF and drilled the holes by hand. He said it only took about 10 minutes but the thicker material was more stable and less likely to buckle under the force of the vacuum.

    One could also take three sheets of pegboard, glue and laminate them but you'd have to be careful not to plug the holes with glue. By the time you cleaned out all the holes, you might have been better off just using the MDF.

    Still, I now REALLY want to build a vacuum former.

    I was thinking the same thing. I'm also designing a semi automated vacuformer for myself. I'm planning on using MDF for the framework & stronger woods for the vertical frames.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry if I ask a stupid question but like my one teacher used to say 'He that does not ask a question is dum' but anyway what is the use of the wooden box? I mean like what does it do? I dont understand. I also want to mould stuff. But is the box that you made just to put the mold on while in the oven?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Yes it is, I stapled the plastic to it and then put that piece in the oven. Then I placed the heated up plastic over the mold and turned on the shop vac.

    Very cool! I like that the project is inexpensive and explained very well. That mask is very nice too.