Author Topic: Thermoforming plastics getting started  (Read 6828 times)

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Offline tomw

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Thermoforming plastics getting started
« on: March 12, 2012, 01:11:53 pm »
Well, I got some Kydex sheet and am going to try to DIY a couple holsters. And Some battery holders for my solar charger for AA and AAA rechargables. Cannot seem to find anything built very tough on the market. I built a smallish (1 foot square) vacuum table but I don't think it will get the nice fit the book press and foam method gets. The vacuum table works treat for milk jug plastic forming but Kydex is a lot thicker and from what I see on Youtube the foam press method gets very good detail over the vacuum method. At least in the videos I looked at.

Up to now, I have not heated any Kydex or tried to form it. No good controllable heat source. The wood stove worked OK for the milk jug plastic but had a few oopses and at 8 bucks a square foot I want good thermal control of the .060 thick Kydex so there is an IR thermometer on the way, too. Need to scout the Goodwills, etc for a used toaster oven to do the heating. Got strict standing policy, no "shop" work in the kitchen which stems from heating a motorcycle chain in a pan of grease to get it in the nooks and crannies real good that went very badly.  :o Building the book press later today I hope.

I cannot find a suitable commercial holster for my mid 1970's Colt  so I am going to try making one. I already mentioned battery holders for the charger.

Anyone with experience in this kind of thermoforming with foam and a "book" press please chime in.

More as I get at it.
Tom
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Offline birdhouse

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 01:27:27 pm »
tom-
i don't have any real advice on the forming process, but can't help but chuckle every time i hear about one of us guys getting in trouble with the missus for doing things in her oven. 

sounds like we all need a full domestic kitchen in our shops!

adam

Offline kensue49

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2012, 05:55:06 pm »
Using the kitchen is worst than using the living room to rebuild a VW motor or so I have found out.
:-)

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 06:58:52 pm »
OK so, is it bad to admit I built a small working kitchen into my shop, along with a bathroom *in the garage basement*
Just for these things  :-\
Trying to make power from alternative energy any which way I can.
Just to abuse what I make. (and run this site)

Offline Wolvenar

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 06:59:26 pm »
Oh, everyone thought was moving out of the house when I first started planning this.
Trying to make power from alternative energy any which way I can.
Just to abuse what I make. (and run this site)

Offline RichHagen

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2012, 09:20:59 pm »
I would never get into trouble for working on stuff in the house.  No, not me.
* covers the Sherline lathe sitting on the dining room table. *
- still a bit sore about the Nickel plating in the kitchen, then theirs that whole pewter volcano incident, and of course brass turnings don't vacuum up very easily from carpet so I heard - many times . . . . . . . .
A Joule saved is a Joule made

Offline Norm

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2012, 10:09:00 pm »
Yep.....pretty plastic tablecloths don't last too long on
my end of the table either.....
Norm.

Offline bj

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2012, 05:17:06 am »
  I pretty much keep the projects out of the house, since the Briggs and Stratton in the dishwasher
episode. :o  But it did work very well. ;D
  Norm--you were thermoforming tablecloths?
"Even a blind squirrel will find an acorn once in a while"
bj

Offline wilfor03

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2012, 08:01:36 am »
Hey Tom...

I've dabbled some with the Kydex sheets in making a couple neck knife sheaths for me and the sons. I used a heat gun and found its really

handy because after you get your initial shape in the mold, you can go back to specific areas and do it better/different if ya want without

screwing up the whole thing. I initially used the "foam press" (home made) to do the initial molding, but found just using the heat gun worked

better for me. I guess it just depends on the size of the project?

Here's a pic of the first sheath I made. Even used a bicycle inner tube to make "Ranger" bands to hold the striker and a mini-keyhole flashlight.

I was pretty much satisfied with all of it when done.

Just my input on the small stuff.....hope it helps....

Bill

ps...don't forget to wear gloves when you're playing with that stuff!!

Offline tomw

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #9 on: March 13, 2012, 10:36:15 am »
Bill;

Thanks for the feedback!

I watched every youtube video I could find and after that decided on the press method.

Kydex is interesting stuff! I have a commercial holster (Fobus) for my tiny P-11 9 MM. I ran into the DIY videos looking for ways to soften the retention on it. I ended up using the heat gun to relieve some sharp edges on it so I could more easily draw it without bringing the holster with it.  It works treat now.

I am cursed with the "how do they do that?" gene so need to try stuff and see.Seemed a perfect opportunity to make one for the revolver I cannot find one ready made to fit.


Probably too expensive for making battery holders but I am bound to have some scraps and leftovers to use for that out of the 3 one foot sheets I got.

Thanks again.

Tom
Do NOT mistake me for any kind of "expert".

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Offline ghurd

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #10 on: March 13, 2012, 06:12:49 pm »
I tried it with a heat gun (giant over powered hair dryer from HF).
May as well have been a cutting torch.
The plastic went from solid to liquid where the heat was.
The best results were giant see-through bubbles where the plastic colapsed from its own weight, while the surounding areas were factory fresh.
I tried it a LOT, and I can say a heat gun is not a good idea.   :-\
G-

Offline tomw

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2012, 06:57:53 pm »
I tried it with a heat gun (giant over powered hair dryer from HF).
May as well have been a cutting torch.
The plastic went from solid to liquid where the heat was.
The best results were giant see-through bubbles where the plastic colapsed from its own weight, while the surounding areas were factory fresh.
I tried it a LOT, and I can say a heat gun is not a good idea.   :-\
G-

Whats the deal with that HF heat gun? 2 temperatures? Hotter than Hades and thermonuclear core temp?

Mine is very adjustable from barely warm to melt aluminum. It worked well reforming my holster set for 400F and kept it moving.  My old one was either on or off no temp control and was kind of hard to do anything precise with.  Some of those youtubes showed guys using those pencil type butane torches but they keep it moving. Maybe some other tricks to using hot sources?

Thanks for the feedback.


Appreciate the info.

Tom
Do NOT mistake me for any kind of "expert".

( ?° ?? ?°)


24 Trina 310 watt modules, SMA SunnyBoy 7.7 KW Grid Tie inverter.

I thought that they were angels, but much to my surprise, We climbed aboard their starship and headed for the skies

Offline ghurd

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2012, 07:12:33 pm »
Yes, the $12.99 with a coupon 2/dual temp gun.
"1100F and 1300F"?  1100 & 1500?  Not that I believe the temp setting, just thats something around-about what it says on the box.

It will blast a hole through the Sams Club 5-gallon pail lid quicker than you can say "Sams Club 5-gallon pail lid".
OK, not THAT fast, but by the time I could tell it was warm, it turned to liquid with no stopping it (even if sprayed with water).
I had a few pics I maybe sent to someone... cough-cough-ped-gen-cough-cough?
From the side, it looked like  ___n___ and that was if the bubble didn't break.
The material was rated for recycling (I cant remember the #), and I asked someone who knows more about those numbers than me about the issue.  He replied "There are more than 1 kind of '#X-Triangle', and they are different."

I tried other materials too, but the result was always the same.
G-

Offline Norm

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2012, 08:58:40 pm »
  I pretty much keep the projects out of the house, since the Briggs and Stratton in the dishwasher
episode. :o  But it did work very well. ;D
  Norm--you were thermoforming tablecloths?
Solder dropped on plastic tablecloth puts holes in 'em....
Hey no over here ....supposed to drop on the cardboard ....
whoops ....(as the soldering iron accidently brushes against
the tablecloth also)....another job for the scotch tape !

Offline Norm

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Re: Thermoforming plastics getting started
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2012, 04:45:19 pm »
"1100F and 1300F"?  1100 & 1500?  Not that I believe the temp setting, just thats something around-about what it says on the box.

It will blast a hole through the Sams Club 5-gallon pail lid quicker than you can say "Sams Club 5-gallon pail lid".
OK, not THAT fast, but by the time I could tell it was warm, it turned to liquid with no stopping it (even if sprayed with water).
I had a few pics I maybe sent to someone... cough-cough-ped-gen-cough-cough?
From the side, it looked like  ___n___ and that was if the bubble didn't break.
The material was rated for recycling (I cant remember the #), and I asked someone who knows more about those numbers than me about the issue.  He replied "There are more than 1 kind of '#X-Triangle', and they are different."

I tried other materials too, but the result was always the same.
G-

I got mine from big lots  worked fine for CD disks  Hi setting held about a foot 'n a half
from the disk....with the disk draped over a metal coffee can warmed it slowly and evenly
.....didn't hold it in one place too long and watched it soften and conform to the curved
shape of the coffee can ....fun....made about a dozen curved 'blades' altho the curved
shape didn't seem to work any better than the flat ones....

 Unfortunately one day I was using it and the little motor decided to short out....

Burn Out.....Woowhee !

  That was one day I was doing my best work out in the shed.....

.....I figured....weelll guess that does it for that motor....no sense bothering to rewind it.
 LOL !
Norm.