Making the most of limited space

« Back to Home

Custom Vacuum Forming: Three Essential Tips for Better Plastic Fabrication

Posted on

If you are interested in custom fabrication of plastic products using the vacuum-forming process, you should opt for professional manufacturing. In general, the vacuum-forming technique is quite simple in comparison to alternative plastic fabrication methods. However, its simplicity increases the risk of small mistakes. For instance, plastic products formed using this method can become warped, webbed or textured due to poor mould preparation or bad vacuuming and heating practices. A professional will help you avoid these potential problems. However, if you have your vacuum-forming equipment, you can save by producing your custom products. Here are simple precautions to help you avoid mistakes when fabricating plastics using the vacuum-forming approach.

Refine Your Mould

When fabricating plastic through vacuum forming, you should ensure that your mould is in good condition. The mould determines the shape and overall appearance of the final product. Therefore, if there are some anomalies in this tooling, it will be apparent in the plastic product. For instance, if the mould surface is rough, you will notice dimpling and unusual texturing on the plastic item. Also, the plastic surfaces will lack ideal gloss. Therefore, you should make sure that the mould is smooth and refined before beginning vacuum forming.

Choose Suitable Plastics

You should choose and purchase the right plastics for your vacuum forming projects. In general, your choice of plastic will have major influence on the quality of the final product. If the selected plastic is not compatible with this fabrication technique, the results will be unfavourable. Therefore, you should look for plastic sheets which are rated for vacuum forming. Vacuum forming–grade plastics are designed to facilitate smooth conformity with the mould after heating and venting. You should also consider the thickness of the plastic sheets. Where possible, it is advisable to opt for thinner plastics. These will form into the desired shape with more ease after vacuuming. In addition, these are less likely to form creases due to excess material.

Heat the Plastic Evenly

Finally, you should plan on heating the plastic consistently to promote the formation of high-quality products. If the plastic sheet is not heated evenly, you will notice problems during the venting process. In simple terms, when the area below the plastic sheet is vacuumed, the sheet will not smoothly conform to the shape of the mould. Moreover, you are likely to notice inconsistencies in shrinkage as the plastic cools. Therefore, it is advisable to promote uniform heating by choosing a vacuum-forming machine which heats the sheet materials automatically.