Vacuum Forming

This sub-web contains information on vacuum forming of thin plastic sheets as a way to fabricate tactile surfaces.

Vacuum forming is a simplified version of thermoforming, whereby a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto a single-surface mold, and forced against the mold by a vacuum (suction of air).

-- Vacuum forming (WP)

I've just started looking into this topic; so far, it appears that:

  • Vacuum forming has been used successfully to create tactile surfaces.

  • Delrin seems like a good choice for the molds.

    Although it is a bit expensive (~$10/sq. ft.), it has some very nice characteristics. It can be cut and engraved by a CO2 laser. It is hard, durable, and handles temperatures up to ~200 C. However, like Acrylic, it tends to deform when heated.

  • It may be possible to engrave the mold as a negative.

    If this could be done in vector mode, it would be much faster than raster engraving an image. It might also produce crisper results, if the touchable surface matches the mold more closely.

To be continued...


This wiki page is maintained by Rich Morin, an independent consultant specializing in software design, development, and documentation. Please feel free to email comments, inquiries, suggestions, etc!

Topic revision: r68 - 23 Dec 2015, RichMorin
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