Vacuum Former

From Idea Shop Wiki
The Idea Shop's 686 Formech Vacuum Former

About Formech

The Formech 686 Vacuum Former enables users to heat a variety of materials, such as ABS or plastic, to make a mold of an object.

General Stats:
Price : Price varies by material
Maximum window size : 24 x 24" (maximum height varies depending on material and part geometry)

Creating Your Model

The IdeaShop offers a variety of methods to create models and bases for your mold. For example, a thin mold can be created by filling in holes of a material that has been lasercut. You may also use Legos to build a case to be molded. Get creative; you can make a mold of anything as long as it fits in the window and is somewhat heat and pressure resistant (the heat from the process can melt bottles, foam, or other more sensitive materials. Ask a lab manager for guidance if you are unsure.)

Using the Formech

The Vacuum Former is extremely simple to use. First, turn the heaters on and give the machine time to warm up. Next, get help from an IdeaShop employee to determine what settings would be best for your material. If you are using PETG, there are pre-made setting to use; pick according to your specific thickness. Finally, secure your model to the base of the vacuum former using double-sided tape. Once everything is secure, lower the bed and place your material on the visible square. Close and lock the top of the vacuum former and wait for your material to heat.

As your material heats up, it will become wavy and flimsy. Watch for the material to flatten out; once it does, open the top and press and hold the two buttons on the front of the machine to quickly raise the bed. The melted material will cover your model to create a mold.

Using the vacuum former can get confusing; please ask any IdeaShop employee for help using the machine if needed.

Machine Proficiency

In order for an individual to advance in machine proficiency they must demonstrate ability to perform certain actions or tasks. All levels include abilities and concepts from lower levels.

This section is primarily for student workers.

Level 0

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Knowledge for Proper Use
  • Safe materials for use with the vacuum former
  • Basic safety precautions (sleeves, headphones, hair, body awareness)
  • Attire, do’s and dont’s, etc
  • Starting the machine and turning on the heater

Individual understands the concepts:

  • What changes to look for in heating materials

Level 1

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Successfully vacuum forming with the smallest frame
  • Using the de-mold button

Individual understands the concepts:

  • What each of the presets are used for

Level 2

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Implementing a custom heat setting
  • Successfully vacuum forming with the largest frame

Individual understands the concepts:

  • Common mistakes

Level 3

Individual has demonstrated they are capable of:

  • Machine Maintenance

Individual understands the concepts: