Hi, folks - I'm new here...
I've made a small (12" x 12") thermoforming rig for making some plastic molds. I used two 500 watt halogen flood lights for my heat source, arranged in a foil-lined "chimney" with the plastic to be heated positioned above them. The heat distribution isn't very good and (depending on which plastic I use) I need to use a heat gun to get the edges up to temp. For HDPE and Styrene (both .030") it seems the proper temp for molding without burning through is roughly 300 degrees F.
I tried a sheet of .030" PETG and it molded well at about 225 degrees F., but it got so soft that it sagged onto itself as I was lifting the frame off the heater and onto the vacuum table - probably because I tipped it (Dummy!)
So, I'm considering moving the lights to ABOVE the plastic, with the entire heater apparatus positioned above the vacuum table - so, that way, I'd be moving the heated sheet straight down onto the platen without tipping it (a pretty major rebuild).
My question(s):
Does anyone know of some reference material for optimal temperatures for thermoforming various types of plastics? (No thicker than .030").
Does anyone know of some reference guidelines (plans, specs, web-links, etc.) for a thermoform device as I've described?
I'm having a lot of fun with it, but operating on a Zero Budget, so I've got to make do with what I have in hand, pretty much - Somehow I feel like I'm re-inventing the wheel...
Any feedback would be appreciated.