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Thermoforming?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Hardware' started by wsteely7, Jul 1, 2006.

  1. wsteely7

    wsteely7 Member

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    A friend of my wife found out that I do signs, so she ask her if I would be interested in this machine that her husband bought shortly before his death.
    She said she didn't know anything about it other than he used it to make "plastic" signs, She said it was called a Thermoformer and used plastic sheet material and heated it up somehow forming a sign, she said it had interchangable letters and characters. It is made by Elite, and uses 220 volt hookup.
    Can any one give me some info on this? I can probably get it reasonable if it would be of any use to me.
    Thanks
    New Moon
     
    Tags:
  2. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

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    Here you go:

    http://www.intertradeindustries.com/thermoforming.htm

    Dude, if you don't want it I do. I've been looking for something like this. Check out what size it is. Some of this buggers get BIG! I want to make contoured clear plates for motocross, and would love to get my hands on one of the smaller ones.

    Good luck!:thumb:
     
  3. Kustom DeZigns

    Kustom DeZigns Member

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    Hey,
    I have a Mini-Max 750 but can't find any plastic or anything about it.
    (This is why I love this place)
    I bought it at an auction and nobody knew what it was.
     
  4. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    I do vacu forming on a small scale. I use my machine to make parts for my line of R/C model plane kits. I also make parts for other small kit manufacturers. I would be happy to share any advice I can. My plane kits can be seen at http://www.adrianpage.com

    Adrian
     
  5. Kustom DeZigns

    Kustom DeZigns Member

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    Where do you get the plastics and stuff like that?
    I don't know what plastic to get or even use.
     
  6. Cadmn

    Cadmn Very Active Member

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    years ago many magnetic signs were vacuum formed plastic with magnetic strips around the edges the machine was about the size of a lazer printer Held a vacuum base & heaters. you placed 3d letters on vacuum table put plastic sheet over letter closed hit button & wait timer goes off turns off machine & open to let cool & wow plastic sign.I think it would be Kwel to play with it as Adrian is doing.
     
  7. Kustom DeZigns

    Kustom DeZigns Member

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    WOW... I never knew that. I have a ton of letters and different things that came with it. I just don't want to @&*! it up you know.

    Anybody use something like that and know what plastic to use for it?
     
  8. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

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    Hey Kustom! What brand is the machine and roughly what size is it?
     
  9. njsigns

    njsigns Very Active Member

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    I used a vacuum form (or vacu-form) machine years ago. It had a heating element on the top where you would load a sheet of what I believe was polystyrene(?). As the material heated it would start to "bubble" downward at which point you would hit the vacuum switch on the table and pull the material over letters/shapes below on the surface of the table. The table would suck the polystyrene tight to the objects/letters and viola a very detailed perfect mold of whatever was on the vacuum table.

    The biggest area where people would screw it up was when they had "undercuts" or an area where the material would surround or encapsulate the object you were trying to make a mold of. There was no way to get it out other than to cut your newly made form. But to answer your question, I'm pretty sure it was polystyrene - I believe it comes in various densities for different applications. We had a lot of fun with that machine... very cool to use!

    Gene
     
  10. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

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    You can vac-form any plastic that will melt, stretch and then solidify again. I use ABS, styrene and clear co-polyester (also sold as PETG or Vivak). I have also formed parts from Lexan. These plastics typically come in 4 x 8 foot sheets and thicknesses from .010" to .125". The parts I make are usually from sheets between .020" and .040" thick.

    Look in the yellow pages under plastic and you will find distributors of plastic sheet goods. Their sales department should be able to match a plastic to your needs.

    Adrian
     
  11. Pro Image

    Pro Image Major Contributor

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  12. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

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    Dustin, Dude, Alsa makes some pretty sick stuff. I mean, they have (IMO) some of the best specialty paints on the market. They are the only ones that I know of that have mastered the real chrome effect, with paint. If I ever get back into airbrush work I am definatly going to start buying their products. Never used any of their thermofilm or laminates, but if it's anything like their paint, it's COOl!
     
  13. MAB SIGNS

    MAB SIGNS Very Active Member

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    Kustom you should talk to Jeremy at Meyer Plastics here in Indy, they stock styrene and any thermo formed material as they do custom thermo forming themselves. I bet the old magnetics were a thin styrene, my dad still has a pair from 1979 in his garage when he ran his own excavating biz. The shop I started in had a 4'x8' vacuform machine and we used it on occasion with success. The newer ones are much better to work with and I looked into forming pan faces but you have alot of material cost and need alot of volume to justify. A reel of white polycarb for pan faces is probably over 5k now and when you stock two widths of white and clear it becomes rather pricy to stock.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2006
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