CastcraftProfessional Vacuum Forming Machine Plans

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Proto Form vacuum forming machine
Proto Form vacuum forming machine

Finally - an affordable solution for the thousands of small businesses that need vacuum formed parts. Mold Makers, Model Makers, Inventors, Design Studios, Theaters, Specials Effects companies, etc. The Proto-Form machine is perfect for molds, prototype parts and packaging, display models, signs and even volume production of high quality parts. Your machine will have identical performance to units costing $10,000 +.

Now the alternative to those high priced machines is to build your own. The concept is very simple and the parts and materials don't cost much. Heating element kits are available through the machine designer - information is included with the plans.

Specifications and features:





Plastic sheet size

24 x 24 in.

24 x 36 in.

24 x 48 in.

Platen Size (usable area)

21 x 21 in.

21 x 33 in.

21 x 45 in.

Depth of draw

12 in. +

12 in. +

12 in. +

Max. plastic thickness

1/4 in.

1/4 in.

1/4 in.

Avg. Cost to build


Max. Vacuum (in. of mercury)

25 - 28

25 - 28

25 - 28

Oven -
High output infrared design uses tubular type elements. These are the industry standard because of their reliability and low cost. The oven is optimized to compensate for heat loss around the edges. 12 to 16 individual elements lined up in a row, each one attaches directly to a stainless steel bus bar to minimize electrical connections. Oven packages that include the heating elements, pre-drilled bus bars, 8 gauge high temperature wires, set screw terminals and mounting collars are available.

Heat controls and Zones - The oven can be split into zones (center and outer), and can be adjusted with simple oven controls available from any appliance repair store.

Vacuum System - Plans show how to properly size the pumps, tanks and valves for each machine. Suggested combinations are given for budget or performance systems tailored to each size machine. Includes sources for low cost pumps and tanks.

Clamp Frame - Simple, rugged manual lift system is hard to beat, is smooth and fast and provides plenty of leverage. Simply raise the handle to heat the plastic and lower it when ready to form. Plans show cost effective way to hold plastic sheet with spring clips as well as quick release toggle clamps.

Platen - Unique design uses an all metal air tight sandwich construction over a wood base. The ultra low internal volume means fast response, and zero leakage makes this a high performance machine. The platen is easily removable. Make as many different sizes as you need.

Rugged Construction - The chassis is welded steel square tubing and the exterior panels are made from wood. No gaskets or seals to replace and no real wear parts means low maintenance. Rugged, yet attractive enough for any design studio.

Here is what you get (as .pdf files on a CD):

106 page illustrated assembly manual with wiring diagrams.

Separate parts lists, wood and steel cut lists and pump and tank sources.

3 full size cutaway drawings of an assembled machine.

27 fully dimensioned assembly and parts drawings.

4 photo pages with 36 color prints showing assembly steps.

Complete specifications are given for all parts as well as part numbers from two large mail order companies. Save a lot of time, just call in your order and have your parts in a few days. Easy to read construction steps include illustrations to make every step easy to understand.

An important chapter on planning clearly explains the options available to help you make the right choices, and discusses the skills and tools needed for building. If you will be hiring someone else to build all or part of your machine there is special information to help you find qualified sources.

Ten chapters cover all details of construction. Helpful "Tips" throughout the manual give practical information on building, using and customizing each area. Options are offered wherever possible to let you make substitutions. Clear explanations, photos and diagrams will guide you through it. Not only will you learn HOW, but you will also learn WHY it works. Finally, the section on operation will have you up and running fast with useful tips on troubleshooting common problems.

Plans are supplied as .pdf files on a CD. You can view the plans as supplied on the CD by using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader on your computer, or you can take the plans CD to a copy shop such as "FedEx Office" and they can produce printouts from the CD files for you. Or you can print out any section of the plans you wish on your own computer printer.

These plans formerly sold for over $120 in printed form - you save over $45 with the new CD version.

By Doug Walsh.

Professional Vacuum Forming Machine Plans on CD $75.00 +S&H

Order Policy:U.S. addresses only - Credit Cards and PayPal Accepted

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