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Thermal forming plastic


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#1 kennb

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 04:34 PM

This is an introduction to part 1 of thermal forming parts for your projects. How many times have you wanted to do something but
you were not sure how to do it. Wheel wheels, hubcaps, engine parts, rear ends or any other parts you can dream up?
This is one option that you can use to make your own parts whether it is just one or a dozen in just a few minutes and
no tools. It is limited only by your imagination and not restricted to size. This is by no means the authorative guide but
methods that I have used and had success with little knowledge by through trial and error. Not everything you try at first
will come out since there is a short learning curve to the process, but in a few minutes you will be turning out crisp
sharp parts that you only dreamed of making before.

 

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    I get all my plastic in 40 x 72 inch or 4'x8' sheets from a local sign company or through U.S. plastics out of
Ohio. for under $20. I am not sure if Evergreen plastic will work since it is designed to be stable unlike the material I
use thst is designed for thermal forming.The only other things you will need is a supply of things to mold the plastic
with, and a candle. For large items like an entire body you will want to use a small counter type oven.They can be bought
for about $20 dollars.

 

These are some of the things we can mold.

 

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I will be posting part 2 sometime tomorrow. We will be forming some simple parts for rear ends or motors and playing around a bit.

 

Kenn



#2 crazyrichard

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:35 PM

very very interesting !!!!!!!

#3 MikeyB08

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 02:12 AM

Man am I excited for this!!! Ive been wanting to know about stuff along these lines so I can trial and error my builds.

#4 Steven Zimmerman

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:04 AM

You're gonna take some heat over this un, I'm thinkin......

#5 kennb

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 04:08 AM

 Pens, screwdrivers, caps from various containers, super glue caps. lipstick tubes plus anything else you can think of for the male mold parts and some tubes and caps and tape reels for the female parts are all you need. Keep you eyes open for possiblities that can be used. The more interesting the shape of the male mold the more detailed the final part will be.

 

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first set up a small space that is open and you can work quickly since the plastic is only plyable for about 30 seconds at best. You need to work fast when doing this and have everything close at hand. You will get the feel for it after about 2 or 3 times. Select a male mold part and female mold part and a piece of plastic that will be large enough to make the finished part. Heat the plastic up so it is very soft. You will see it "wilting" as you heat it.(about 1 to 2 inches abouve the flame). After the piece is soft place it over the female mold and quickly push the male mold into the plastic to the depth required for the part and hold it fo about 10 seconds, the plastic will harden up quickly. Be carefull because the plastic will be about 180 t0 200 degrees but cools fast. You may want to hold the plastic with pliers.

 

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Here are some more ideas. More on part 3 posted sometime tomorrow. I have used both .20sds, and 40sds plastic in the next photo.

 

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All comments and questions are appreciated. I will try to answer questions the best I can.

 

Kenn



#6 Skip

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

Quite similar to vacuume forming except instead of using suction to pull the material you are using pressure to form the part. 

Thanks for the styrene sheet source, I have lots of contacts in the sign world but never thought of looking for styrene sheet there.



#7 greymack

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:32 PM

Hi kennb thanks for the amazing tip many of us will fine this thread very useful and me too.



#8 kennb

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:13 AM

This is very similar to vacuum forming parts,without the equipment. You can do this forming of parts with things you have around the house already.

Now, lets do a practical application of this method by making a formed rear end for a car,

 

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With a few simple steps we have a simple credible rear end all done for you car. the only other part you need is the plastic tube for the axel housing,

 

Kenn



#9 sjordan2

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 07:04 AM

Once upon a time, Squadron had a product called Clear Thermaform that was mostly used by aircraft modelers to duplicate canopies. The product has been discontinued because they couldn't get more of their "proprietary material," but I've tried successful experiments using clear report covers and a heat gun. Here's their method (not trying to step on your tutorial, kennb, just thought I'd throw this into the conversation). kennb's process looks like he can produce more complicated shapes.

 

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Attached File  Picture 4.png   150.14KB   40 downloads


Edited by sjordan2, 22 February 2013 - 07:14 AM.


#10 kennb

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:47 AM

Thank you for the additional information. :)  This process you show can be used to make new windshields or back glass.

The shapes you can do are limited only by your imaginations and molds you make up.

 

Kenn



#11 sjordan2

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

Thank you for the additional information. :)  This process you show can be used to make new windshields or back glass.

The shapes you can do are limited only by your imaginations and molds you make up.

 

Kenn

 I would just add that if you want to duplicate clear material, the report covers I described turn yellow over time, so you need to be careful about your selection of materials. I haven't tried this with clear styrene. Otherwise, the report covers are suitable for painting.