View Full Version : New To Vacuum Thermoforming Help Please.

03-16-2009, 11:21 AM
Hi I am new to vacuum forming and Thermoforming. I had a Belovac but had to sell it to pay for some medical bills I only used it 5 times if that. Now I need to build my own. I am looking at doing it like a Mini Machine and might even sell them when I am done.
I have gone over some of the posts here, I feel a have a handle on some thing but others still got me asking more and more questions so here it is :

Vacuum Pump ?

2 stage or single stage?

8CFM or 12CFM ? and why?

oil or dry vane?

40 or 12 microns I think the 12 is the best from what I under stand.

10 gal tank or two 5 gal tanks or even two 10 gal tanks ?

For pulling Lexan .020 to .040 thick. R/C Car bodies.

pulling surface L24" X W12" X H8"

heating elements what would be best?

Electronic valves for the tanks ? are there such a thing?

110/220 ? I would like to keep it 110V but I find most are 220V

Any help on this would be great. pics of routing the pump and tanks would be cool also.

or should I just buy the plans from workshop publishing for 125.00 and hope it helps and works out. (Proto-Form Construction Plans)


Thank you.

What I do!

03-21-2009, 02:04 AM
I guess there is no way to get any help here.

So is there a place I can go to get some help.

Thank you.

03-21-2009, 02:31 PM
I wouldnt get so testy when asking for help. There are those of us that drop in from time to time with helpfull advice..... we have jobs and lives... Plz consider this before you toss in the towell...


NOW lets look at your questions.

Your'e pulling pretty small simple stuff, Big tanks are always better than small tanks if you can pump them down fast enough. The rule of thumb is to have a twice as much tank as you need to pull the part, a pump that can empty it to something around 25 inches in the time you need to run a part cycle. Something good to do is to gang the tanks to a manifold that allows you to downsize the tank volume for smaller parts with faster cycle times....

I have 3 pumps. A small a/c pump. A large a/c pump and a vane pump on 3 phase. Sized the pump to the job, its not that hard....

8 or 12 cfm is less concern than if it can keep up with your production rate.
Dry pumps are better for extended running as oil pumps create a mist in the shop and overheat with prolonged use. Some of this can be oversome with vac limit switches to control the motor, but ultimately, dry pumps win..

Back to what I really say about the real world...... Build the tools and farm it out.. Why tie up the capital and floor space doing something that others do a lot better as a full time job? Just thinking out loud.....


03-21-2009, 04:50 PM
Thank you Scott, So maybe I was getting a little testy Sorry.

Do you know of someone or a company that can build or would build a Machine in the specs I need ?

For pulling Lexan .020 to .040 thick. R/C Car bodies.

pulling surface L24" X W12" X H8"

Thank you


03-23-2009, 11:35 AM
Hello MLP,

I'm also someone that only stops by here occasionally but here's my suggestion if you build your own machine. Get a set of plans from here:
The plans will save you hours & hours of time, frustration, money, and re-inventing a perfectly good wheel.
You might also check out this website where there are a lot of people that do hobby thermoform: http://www.tk560.com
just my .o2, Doug

03-23-2009, 03:15 PM
Thanks Doug, I have started the build I am making the frame right now it is what I would call a mini forming machine - 1/2 scale of the Bel o vac C class I had and sold I never did get a chance to go over the bel-o-vac in detail I did get to pull 5 good bodies after wasting 20 or so good sheets of lexan.

See I need to start pulling bodies by June First I guess that is why I am in a rush I guess.

I will order the plains from Build stuff.com as I have talked with them and I will be going with there heating elements anyway.

Im not going to go with a Gast pump like bel o vac just cant spend 3000.00 on a pump so I was looking for the next best thing. LOL

Thanks for the help.

03-24-2009, 09:25 AM
Hello MLP,

My pump is as redneck as you can get. It is a York A/C compressor off an old volvo. It's a piston style but it still pumps down to 27+ inHg. Probably inefficient too since it takes a 1.5 hp electric motor. However, the York pump cost less than $20 at the local junk yard and I already had the electric motor. Some guys are really convinced that pump CFM isn't as important as tank capacity. For a 6" pull on my 2'x4' planten it takes 50 gallons of tank capacity to get a good pull on 3/16" ABS. Of course, using thinner lexan on a much smaller planten will require a lot less capacity so you're off to a good start. I started with what I had and changed/added as needs dictated.
Good luck with your build! Post picts when you get going.
Doug N

03-27-2009, 01:34 PM
Hey Jdoug makes no matter what you go with as long as it works right.
Thanks for the help, I will post as we go I guess, we will see how it all works out!

Peace out


03-28-2009, 01:11 PM
I was looking at your site, you didnt have a phone number..
call me and we can talk a while..


Scott Correa..

03-28-2009, 02:45 PM
Hey scott
Thanks for the info and all the help!


03-30-2009, 08:38 AM
Any time Marty..

Oh Yeah Russ Brawn is GOD, did you see them smoke the field in Roo Land?
It's going to be a heck of a season.......


03-30-2009, 11:36 AM
Sure did Scott and yes Brawn is the Man!!!!

This place went nuts when old JB and RB finished 1 - 2 LMAO @ That.

The others will catchup but I hope they win the series and Championship!

05-12-2009, 09:23 AM
well so much for the others catching up.

I think this season is basically OVER!!

Imagine the fools at Honda, double thinking the team sale..
What morons. But in any case, Bravo Brawn..
I expect the slaughter to continue in Monaco, as Brawn is the BEST
stop and go car there.......