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Vacuum Forming Area

Area Champion

Andrew Jessen

Sara Cellucci

Training, Rules, and Etiquette

In order to use the vacuum former, members must be signed off by an area champion after completing training. If you would like to schedule a training session, please check the Training Classes page for up-to-date info. We have new equipment, so if you were trained on the old unit please reach out for a brief conversation outlining the changes or schedule a training before using them.

Training Classes:

  • Occasional open trainings which add a 2'x4' demo
  • Trainings by request with hands-on 5“ demo
  • Typically take <30 minutes
  • No longer any cost associated with the training

Safety Guidelines:

  • Do not leave either unit unattended while heater is on… EVER
  • Smoke indicates overheating, reduce heat or lower plastic if encountered
  • Plastic is hot when heated, do not touch without protection and due care
  • Do not allow dust or debris which could contaminate the tanks onto the large bed
  • Consult an area champion before using materials not on official list
  • Turn off both the “Master heat” and “Side Outlet” switches when done
  • Do not use buck materials which may suffer under heat or cause debris ingestion

Authorized / Signed Off Users


  • Jinguang 5”x5“ dental vacuum former
  • Proto-Form 2'x4' vacuum former

Buck Guidelines

  • A “Buck” is the term for the item you mold off of, but mold is fine
  • A 5 degree “draft” to avoid verticals helps keep corners clean
  • Extreme height difference between points of the buck could cause tearing
  • Sharp corners are typically fine, but actual edges are likely to pierce the plastic
  • “Undercuts” will usually form ok, but as a natural consequence prevent normal removal
  • A generally convex shape for the entire buck is a good standard
  • Shallow areas which do not access outside edge should have holes drilled to funnel air


  • Wood of all forms, with MDF being a preferred material
  • Hard plaster or ceramics are common for making molds
  • Existing products and hard plastic models can be great for bucks
  • Metals work great if you have something the right shape
  • Renshape, urethane modeling blocks, and molded epoxy are designed for buck use
  • 3D printed ABS is preferred for 3D printed bucks
  • 3D printed PETG for most commonly formed plastics (check glass transition temp!).
  • PLA can work but may deform. Use extra vertical & horizontal shells to sink more heat.
  • NOT soft plastics or Sculpy (they melt)
  • NOT wet clay/putty/etc (it squishes and drips)
  • NOT soft foam (they squish)
  • NOT hard styrofoam (turns out it melts into the plastic)
  • NOT anything crumbly or dusty (they make a mess inside the machine)
  • NOT wet clay (both squishes and makes a mess)
  • NOT potatoes (mostly just a waste of food, otherwise it is pretty viable)
  • If you want to use other materials or non-approved materials which do not endanger the equipment, send the area champions a quick email or message in the Discord for approval before trying.


  • .030” thickness is minimum recommended merely due to difficulty of use
  • .040” or 1mm is preferred thickness for most projects
  • .080” or 3mm is the maximum we expect these machines to mold
  • High Impact Polystyrene (preferred)
  • Abs
  • Pvc
  • Acrylic
  • Polyethylene
  • Polypropylene
  • Pet-g
  • Butyrate
  • Polycarbonate is NOT permitted until we have better ventilation
areas/vacuumformer.txt · Last modified: 2023/08/24 21:53 by wildapricot-jessen_andrew