I just went to amazon.com and searched for "thermoforming", and it returned 791 Results!
No shortage there!
Does anyone know of any good books about thermoforming, specifically the process, and mold making and design.
Also, Does anyone know about any software for simulating the vacuum forming process?
There's actually some nice information out there for free on the web, in manuals from machine vendors and plastics vendors. Unfortunately, I don't have links handy.
For hobbyist-level stuff, Doug Walsh's book is pretty good. You can get it from build-stuff.com.
What kind of information are you looking for? (Do you need something introductory? Do you understand the basics of thinning with plugs and cavity molds?)
By the way, one cool kind of "simulation" of vacuum forming is to use a rubber sheet and vacuum form it with no heat. That can often show you approximately what will happen when you drape hot, rubbery plastic over your buck and suck it down. Some people report using this technique to find and fix webbing problems without wasting plastic.
Actually, i have seen what amazon has to offer, I was looking for some good books someone that knows more about vacuum forming could recommend.
I actually know the basics, but I would like to know more about tips and techniques, also guidelines to making molds and plugs.
I guess using the rubber method is ok, but you have already spent money and time on the mold, plug setup, etc... I was thinking more of drawing the tool, setting parameters of material, thickness, temperatures, etc... and having the software simulate the process, and tell you if you are likely to have webbing, thining, etc...
There are thermal forming simulators and analysis systems out there. A bit over complicating the process, but if you are willing to put up the funding, time and effort to use it effectively, it's hard to say when it would pay for itself in a job shop environments competitive edge.
Most forming houses can look at the part to determine the realistic tolerance aspects compared to customer expectations relative to development economics and scrap rates. A 6" long tear-drop lens comes to mind, where the customer expected .005 max deviation around a band 1/4" up in trim edge thickness. The parts were completely functional up to .015 deviation, but the customer had his set in stone directive and wouldn't budge.
Shadow Polymer links
Theory behind some of this analysis
There always seems to be some parameters beyond control of software sim's that cannot possibly account for all variables in real world conditions. It is rather hard to put a lot of trust into likewise linked subjective questionable data output, when the input data cannot be accurately replicated in your world.
Learn cause and effect through experience. Mastering those relationships is the "Common Sense" ability within the art of any trade.
Any one have or knows about...
"SECRETS OF BUILDING A PLASTIC VACUUM FORMING MACHINE
by Vincent R. Gingery"
Is it any good? I am going to build my first vac machine and need good clear plans. I am using positive molds.
Thurston James's book The Prop Builder's Molding and Casting Handbook has nice plans for a 2 x 2-foot system, and Jim Egner has updated them with cost-saving substitutions, over at tk560.com. (I'm working on plans for an even cheaper and better one, but I'm not done yet.)
Various people over at tk560.com have built versions of the Thurston James machine, with minor and radical revisions, including 2 x 4 foot machines, over-and-under machines, etc.
How much stuff will you be making, and what kind of plastic? If your needs aren't great, you can get started using a kitchen oven, a vacuum cleaner, and a board with a hole in it. Here's my draft "chapter" on how to do that:
If you want a little standalone oven on a budget, here's how to make a decent one for about $25 from a two-burner hotplate and some disposable roasting pans:
Well I was hopping for a 2x2 (4x4 would be great but the space needed for it..) and I have tried to join the tk560 forum but am having problems signing in. I may just buy Jim's book since he based his former on the Thurston James model.
You'll definitely want to join the discussion forum.
PM me (here) with the handle you're using over there, and I'll send Jim a heads-up to make sure your registration goes through. (Sometimes Jim's anti-spammer measures interfere with real people getting on.)