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Plastic vacuum formers are an important part of the prototyping process. If you need a nice plastic robot body or custom case for a project you are doing, get your tools, ’cause this project is easy to build and fun to play with.

Vacuum formers are based on a simple concept. They use the power of a vacuum to suck heated, gooey plastic sheets very tightly around an object you place in them, making a 3D copy of pretty much whatever you want.

Plastic vacuum formers are usually big, expensive machines, however many of us don’t always need to make huge pieces for our projects, so these machines would be pointless to have—or at least that’s what I tell myself so I won’t be tempted to buy one. Our vacuum molder will be a good size for most projects you’re likely to deal with.

Adam Harris

Adam Harris

Adam Harris is a graduate student in the field of electrical engineering. He is also a freelance writer, musician, co-owner of SheekGeek LLC, and all-around hacker.

  • kurtroedeger

    Instead of a soda bottle or water bottle for the connection, wouldn’t an appropriately sized piece of pvc pipe be a bit more rigid for the trash can version.

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  • bringjustn

    Because reading Make while drinking leads to building random stuff… I just built one using a container with a 6″ round lid. I drilled a 3/4″ hole with a spade bit in the side and slotted around it to hold a 1 1/2″ schl 40 PVC pipe, that fits my vacuum hose perfect, and the little tabs on the container make the PVC a little more rigged. I then siliconed the inside and outside around the PVC.I made the frame to hold the plastic out of 2 yard sticks I have laying around. And now I’m waiting on the calk to dry and to finish a gallon of milk to try it out. I just wanted to give out my ideas/tak on kurtroedeger’s idea with the PVC pipe.

  • Mac Fleetwood

    The Peanut Butter Jar former is cute and great for small items. Sometimes this is easier than masking off a larger former.

    For the larger former, why bother with the trash can? Mount the metal backing pan directly onto a wooden base and add a port into the side of the pan. Drilling a grid of holes through the pan seems to be a lot of work though when there are plans to make formers using pegboard on a two-inch high frame.

  • Eagle Safety

    Gotta love this! Humans LOVE to do things their own way, even when there are easier tools built to achieve the same goal more efficiently.

    Just like this project. One CAN build things with this DIY plastic former but since 3D Printers have come down in price so much, I am inclined to go that route.

    I have no affiliation with this 3D printer company, nor have I used this device. However, $500 for a working 3D Printer sounds like a great investment to me.

    Check this out.

    Now, if I could just figure out how to make a tractor beam…..

  • jenny

    This is one of the best blogs Ive ever read. I am very happy after read your article. Thanks for the fantastic clarity inside your writing.I most certainly will directly grab your rss feed to remain up-to-date with any updates.
    I have recently posted custom plastic molds

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