Vacuum Forming

Vacuum Forming

Our staff has over 20 years experience in vacuum forming plastics and tooling.  Some of our key staff Shroudcome from a vacuum forming background in Vancouver.  Our tooling (or molds) has been used to make parts all over the world, from corner stores to theme parks.  With our experience and expertise, we can create a multitude of shapes for vacuum forming.  We will also work with our customers designs to identify problem areas in the tools (molds) like undercuts, sharp corners and deep draws.  We can also specify types of materials used for tooling, as well as the thermoplastic.

Working With Plastic

Industrial Shape & Form has a rich history working with plastics.  We are familiar with many types and applications.  There are many plastic materials can be vacuum formed.  These plastics are called thermoplastics (complete list here).  We can help recommend a suitable and cost effective plastic for your application.  We also offer R&D services for more complex applications.

Ordering is easy.

Ordering vacuum forming services from us is easy:  Whether your design is finalized or not, show us what you’ve got.  We will supply you with pricing and a delivery estimate for the tool and parts.  Even if you have a thermo-former you’re already working with, we can create the tool to best fit their machinery.

Materials used in Vacuum Forming Tools

Pros

  • Material cost is very inexpensive
  • Good for short run items
  • Good for flat items (eg. trays)

Cons

  • Material is weak
  • Can de-laminate easily
  • Difficult to repair the mold
  • Even if the mold is sealed, it will still absorb a large amount of mold release.
  • Edges are very difficult to seal.
  • When heated, the glue lines become more pronounced, possibly showing through to the part
  • The mold will “wear out” quickly

Pros

  • Very cost effective. You get a very strong mold for an affordable price
  • Mold is very easily repairable
  • Molds are often changeable. They can be modified or even added to.
  • Mold can be sealed, allowing a release to work very well
  • Can hold somewhat of a sharp edge
  • The wood grain can be aligned to maximize strength in critical areas.

Cons

  • Sharp edges on the mold can wear with time and can be difficult to repair
  • If different species of wood are used, they will move differently when heated, possibly to the point where repair is needed.
  • Different types of wood will react differently to the heat
  • The wood will expand and contract differently depending on species and orientation.
  • If the wood is too ‘green’ when used, the mold will move when heated.

Pros

  • Extremely durable mold. This is good for high production runs.
  • Mold will hold heat well (which is necessary for some thermoplastics)
  • Mold can be polished.
  • If the mold is polished, it will minimize mark-off on the thermoplastic being formed.
  • Mold is sealed and will release well

Cons

  • Can be expensive to create the molds
  • Not easily repaired/changed

Pros

  • Can be considerably more durable than hardwood
  • Because the molds are usually made from a mold, it’s easy and cost effective to make multiples
  • Good for small items
  • Can hold a lot of detail (decorative items)
  • Mold is sealed and will release well
  • Some composites will hold heat better than hardwood, while others wont

Cons

  • Material can be unpredictable. Because the material is usually mixed in batches, it can vary slightly from mold to mold. This usually is not an issue
  • Not easily repaired/changed
  • Can be expensive

CONTACT US TODAY TO SEE HOW WE CAN HELP WITH YOUR VACUUM FORMING NEEDS

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