Vacuum thermoformers vary widely in size, cost, complexity and functionality, which means that independent designers, DIYers and professional makers of all levels can find the right machine for them. The different sizes of vacuum thermoformers range from desktop models that cost a few hundred dollars to industrial machines that are worth thousands.
Industrial vacuum thermoformers, such as those produced by Ridat or Belovac, are ideal for commercial applications and large-scale part manufacturing.
Medium size vacuum thermoformers, such as the Formech line of floor machines, offer the most versatility. Mid-size vacuum formers are capable of manufacturing small to medium parts without requiring as much floor space as industrial machines.
Desktop vacuum thermoformers, such as the Mayku FormBox that uses a standard household vacuum cleaner to create the air vacuum, are perfect for small businesses and professionals working from home.
Do-it-yourself vacuum forming machines can also be effective, and the actual process of making the machine is a perfect educational project for children and teenagers.
When using a vacuum forming machine, always remember to follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions, wear the proper safety equipment, and only use the machine in a well-ventilated environment.
Materials suitable for vacuum forming
A wide range of thermoplastics are compatible with vacuum forming. Some of the most widely used plastics include
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
Polyethylene glycol terephthalate (PETG)
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
3D printed molds
Many companies use 3D printing to create vacuum forming molds because it allows for shorter production times and lower costs, especially for limited runs, custom parts and prototype models.
printing also offers unparalleled design freedom to create complex and highly engineered molds.