Session 10 – Make a vacuum former

This session we will together start to build a vacuum forming machine. We will complete it later at Hacklab on Wednesdays during open house hours. 


  • Draw the box and a hole for the vacuum cleaner
  • Laser cut the parts
  • Get/buy/make an oven for the plastic and control/read the temperature
  • Buy suitable plastic sheets (Thermoplastics such as Polystyrene @250°C, PETG (clear, deforms faster), or ABS. Common thickness is 60/1000″ or 1,5 mm)
  • Design and 3D-print an object to be used as a mold (we can also try using everyday objects)
  • Assemble and test
  • Ensure centering. Frame against gasket or plastic against platen?
  • Look for an infrared thermometer


  • Required length of sheet = width * 2 * height of object
  • Remove the plastic when it has cooled to ~70°C or it might stick to hard
  • Pinching -> reduce the heat
  • Drill holes in the buck (the object) if air gets trapped
  • If using a wooden buck, sand it smooth first with grit 400 or smoother sand paper
  • Baby powder could be a good mold release
  • Plastic polish can be used to polish the vacuum formed item


A4 HIPS 1.5mm

More A4 HIPS 1.5mm

A4 HIPS 1.5mm glossy/matte

A4 HIPS 1mm silver mirror

A4 HIPS 0.5mm and 0.75mm white

A4 PETG 0.5mm transparent

Using vacuum forming to make casting molds for chocolate or jello: