If you are planning for plastic fabrication, you should think about choosing the vacuum-forming technique for your project. This method involves forming three-dimensional products from simple plastic sheets. In general, this process will necessitate the controlled heating of a suitable thermoplastic panel. When the panel is soft enough due to heating, it will be placed over a custom mould.
Then, the air between the mould and the plastic will be suctioned out, creating a vacuum. As a result, the sheet will take the shape of the custom mould. The vacuum forming approach is an economical choice because of the low-cost tooling. Also, this method is simple and does not require secondary processes like finishing. If you are interested in vacuum forming, use the outlined tips for ideal results.
Create a Suitable Design
It is important to develop a design which is suited for plastic fabrication through vacuum forming. You should keep in mind that this technique is not intended for creating complex shapes. If your design is intricate, complications might arise, particularly during removal of the custom product from the mould. When creating your design, you should ensure that there is sufficient draft. If there is no taper, removing the product from the mould after fabrication will be difficult. Also, you should minimise the depth of the design. Additionally, consider eliminating undercuts which could cause the custom product to stick.
Choose Your Material
You should select a suitable material for your fabrication work. In general, you will need thermoplastic materials which have been formed into sheets. However, you should not make your choice arbitrarily or by evaluating the costs only. Compare different plastics and their properties and choose the most compatible with your final application. For instance, ABS is a popular plastic for vacuum forming, and it is favoured because it is impact resistant and available in a range of colours. However, if you are looking for a material with exceptional temperature and chemical resistance, high-density polyethylene might be more suitable.
Consider the Mould
It is important to create an ideal mould for your vacuum-forming project. The mould will determine the quality of the final products. In addition, your choice will affect the speed and cost of plastic fabrication. Moulds can be made from materials such as resin and wood. However, polished metal moulds provide the best benefits. Simply speaking, these moulds have minimal blemishes so the final products will be refined. The material is also durable and suitable for long-term use in your plastic fabrication work.