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Author Topic: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh  (Read 6506 times)

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Offline AdminTopic starter

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need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« on: June 08, 2005, 01:32:49 PM »
Anyone know where I can get access to a vacuum form machine in the Pittsburgh, PA area other than CMU's design machine shop?

Offline Tron

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2005, 06:14:32 PM »
Maybe you could just make one? Out of a vaccuum cleaner affixed to a perforated mold (think sifter)?  Of course you would have to sand off all the little perforation marks...  and it'd be a little ghetto...

I have no experience with this, but if this poly-weirdshit is as easily manipulated as it sounds, then would that not do the trick? And while I'm at it, where can you pick this stuff up? Hardware stores? Hobby shops?  If I can get my hands on some I'll definately try it out with the ol shopvac.  This vaccuum forming sounds very useful.

By the way, kudos for making a sweet site.  I wish I couldve found a site like this when I was first getting into electronics.


And I'm lovin the bbs[/glow]

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2005, 03:29:59 PM »
A shopvac wont work (I think, although I havent tried) because you need like 20lbs of near instant pressure. So you would need an air tank and compressor. But it would be neat to know if a slow vacuum (with possibly slow heating) might work as well. Note, I tried a heat gun but it put holes in the polystyrene because it heated unevenly. You will have to find a way to evenly heat the material, sorta like an oven I guess.

The polystyrene costs less than a $1 per 3x3ft sheet. I can buy it at the art store from my old university, but if you froogle it I am sure you can find some. I dont think most art stores have it though.

I wrote up a really good tutorial on vacuumforming and I will upload it in a day or two. I will post it on the main page of societyofrobots.com then.

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2005, 04:04:07 PM »
ok the vacuumform tutorial is uploaded in the materials section

Offline grated_geek 3000!

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2005, 04:54:26 PM »
a little ghetto

HA HA HA.  Ask Afroman.  "Everyone knows that BSODs are caused by your ram farting because they have eaten too much dirt."

Offline grated_geek 3000!

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2005, 06:09:38 PM »

Offline AdminTopic starter

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2005, 02:05:41 PM »
So I was looking into more vacuumform machines and found that apparently the dental industry uses them to make tooth thingies. They are around $200-$500 . . . the problem is that every single manufacturer gives them only a 5"x5" working area. Damnit. And I looked into like 5 different manufacturers. Making a machine is not an option because I work for the Navy and they only pay me to work on this robot and not make other things =/
My boss said she would give me money to buy any machine I want, on the condition that I need it and not want it . . . . but i want it soooo bad! =P

Offline icius

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2006, 03:41:25 PM »
Bummer you can't build one.  I have been researching them for some time and came across these:

http://www.castcraft.com/prod12.htm

http://www.tk560.com/vactable4.html

I plan to build one, but I am currently trying to build actual robots first before making cool vacuum formed bodies etc. for them :-)  So it is third or fourth on the project list. 

I'm in Greensburg so if I ever get one built you are welcome to share :-)

Offline elpezzz

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2006, 07:58:17 PM »
some of my teammates used a vacuum forming machine for a class at mit.. i know they made parts at least 8"x15"x6" and shaped the molds out of foam insulation (the pink sheets you can get at home despot). since molds are super easy and cheap to make, maybe it wouldn't cost too much to just send out your parts to be custom fabricated?

http://www.macraesbluebook.com/search/product_company_list.cfm?Prod_Code=5735600

quick google search finds a bunch of companies that'll do it. rapid prototyping companies can have a turnaround time of <3 days from you sending the cad to receiving your part, so depending on cost you could still go through design iterations relatively quickly.

oops.. just realized admin posted this over a year ago. oh well!

Offline drcrash

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Re: need vacuum form machine, pittsburgh
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2007, 10:29:16 AM »
Here's how to make a good cheap vacuum former for making stuff up to about 14 x 20 inches, with plastic up to about 1/8" thick,  using your kitchen oven and a vacuum cleaner:

http://www.instructables.com/id/E8RW98YF3C4XLCQ/

The vacuum former itself costs about $40 and takes less than two hours to make.

You can add a high vacuum system to it for forming thick plastics, up to about 1/4" thick, so you can make parts sturdy enough that you can kick them, stand on them, etc., without breaking them.  For the occasional sturdy part like that, you can use a manual vacuum pump made from an old-fashioned bike pump ("floor pump") for under $20;  the conversion takes about 20 minutes:

http://www.instructables.com/id/EA58LR1F35J1I9N/

If you're going to be making more than a very few thick parts, you probably want an electric pump.  (You'll get tired using the bike pump.)  Here's a cheap one made from a 12 V tire inflator compressor:

http://www.instructables.com/id/E791HNXF23Z39P6/

Mine cost a few dollars to make, using a tire inflator I found for $2 at the Goodwill Outlet.  You can also use a FoodSaver-type kitchen vacuum sealer, or a "Nebulizer" air pump.

For plastic up to 12" x 18", you can make a standalone oven from a $15 two-burner electric hot plate and some disposable aluminum pans:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=621858

The oven takes less than an hour to make, costs less than $30, and works great.

With a $40 vacuum former and a $40 high vacuum system, you can make professional-quality vacuum formed parts.  Add a $30 oven and you can do it anywhere, not awkwardly on the kitchen floor.  For a little over $100, you can make a kick-ass vacuum former.

If you want a big one, you can make one comparably cheaply, at a cost proportional to its size.

If you're interested in making vacuum formers, big or small, for really cheap, check out

http://www.VacuumFormerPlans.com


 

 


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