Material Extrusion : Thermoplastic

What Does Vacuum Forming
Mean and How does it works?


The vacuum forming process works by heating a plastic sheet, forming it into a shaped vacuum forming tool using vacuum, cooling the plastic sheet until it sets hard & then removing the part from the tool. Below, the full process is explained step-by-step with illustrations. Read on for vacuum forming tool notes, design tips and a video of the process in action.

vacuum forming process 1-3
1.  The vacuum forming device is charged in and warmed into the vacuum forming machine.

2.  The plastic material is loaded on to the material carrier of the vaccum-forming machines, in roll of sheet form.

3.  Heaters above the sheet, then heat the sheet of material forming the vacuum until it becomes softer.

vacuum forming process 4-5

4.  The softened sheet of vacuum forming material is then supported by an automatic levelling instrument with air.

5.  The tool is raised to reach the bottom surface of the material layer, and a vacuum of air is applied to draw the sheet over the vacuum forming tool shape.
vacuum forming process 6 6.  When set tight, the plastic cools down with air. The formation of the vacuum can be removed by hand or using air when perform any required secondary operations e.g. trimming (by hand or with a roller cutter) or punching of the hole. 

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