Re: Vacuum forming tools

From: Suman Das (
Date: Tue Dec 26 1995 - 17:44:24 EET

>Who has experience in building tools for vacuum-forming / thermoforming ?
>E.g. by RP methods ? (LOM could be an idea)
>The tools are needed to be put under a clamped sheet of ABS (or other)
>After the sheet is warmed up, the air below the sheet is sucked off, so
>the material will wrap around the tool shape.
>The tool has to stand approx. 200 degrees celsius and stand 150 to 200
>forming operations. Size: approx. 100 x 500 mm up to 1m x 1m (for the US:
>4 in x 20 in up to 3,3 ft x 3,3 ft)
>How did you do this successfully ? Any remark would be helpful !
>Thank you in advance & merry christmas & a happy new year to you all,
>Regards, Juergen
>Dipl. Ing. Juergen Bauer, Bremen Institute of Industrial Technology and
>Applied Work Science (BIBA), P.O. Box 33 05 60, 28 335 Bremen,
>Phone: +49/421/218-5595, Fax: +49/421/218-5510, Email:

Some work has been done in this area here at the University of Texas
at Austin. More information can be found in Kleespies' dissertation:

Kleespies, Henry Sattoli, 1962- / Rapid prototyping of complex curved
          surfaces with a variable geometry mold. / 1994
        DISS 1994 K67202 PCL Resererves

The basic idea was to have a rectangular grid of pins that could be
individually actuated to different heights so as to form a discrete
approximation of a smooth surface. A flexible material was then vacuum
formed over this "bed of pins", so to speak.

Hope this helps.

--Suman Das

Suman Das |
Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication | phone: (512) 471-5838
The University of Texas at Austin | fax: (512) 471-8727

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