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  #1  
Old 07-16-2006, 12:43 PM
chatterx chatterx is offline
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Acrylic forming question

Hello I am new here and had a question. I currently make clear tailights for people that major manufacturers dont make for their specific model.

I completely make the clear lens by hand from cutting to heat forming over the original lens. I use Lucite acrylic .100 . Making one lens takes around 45 minutes per side. I am wanting to cut down that time considerably and have been looking at vacuum forming.

My main question is can acrylic be vacuum formed? I have been looking at plans and do have the money to build a decent size machine. My biggest lens I will be making is 29 x 10 inches. And the thickest acrylic I will work with is .100 and maybe some ABS .060

Has anyone ever vacuum formed acrylic and what was your results. Thanx a million guys for any insight on this

Below is a couple of pics of the clear lens. Part of the lens is painted over to hide the glue line.


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  #2  
Old 07-16-2006, 04:21 PM
Daniel Daniel is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

Hi C,

I've vacuum-formed some parts before using clear PETG, which softens at a lower temperature than acrylic. That worked well for me and would probably be great for your lenses. Since your parts are transparent, you will probably have to polish your molds to a mirror-like finish because the material will pick up any imperfections in the mold.
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  #3  
Old 07-16-2006, 04:59 PM
chatterx chatterx is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel
Hi C,

I've vacuum-formed some parts before using clear PETG, which softens at a lower temperature than acrylic. That worked well for me and would probably be great for your lenses. Since your parts are transparent, you will probably have to polish your molds to a mirror-like finish because the material will pick up any imperfections in the mold.

Thanx a million for your response. I currently work at a plastics factory (little tikes commercial playgrounds) and have very good knowledge of molds and molding so making the mold smooth to a mirror like finsh is no problem with me, heck I can even taken the molds to work and have them done for me LOL. I pretty much figured that a mirror like finish would have to be done.

But my main concern is materialwise, acrylic is the best I have found so far and according to the MSDS on PETG, it does not contain a UV inhibitor which is one thing I am looking for since my product will be outside at all time (unless parked in a garage). I want this product to last as long as possible. I have looked at lexan but I do not like how easily it scratches.

However I will definately look at PETG for interior pieces as they are somewhat out of the sun. Right now I am trying to get this lens making done down to a science so I can do other things.
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  #4  
Old 07-21-2006, 11:32 PM
chatterx chatterx is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

no one???
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  #5  
Old 07-26-2006, 11:09 PM
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Tandigon Tandigon is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

This was posted by 'toyholic' to a thread I posted on vacuum forming Acrylic in May this year
Tandigon
vaccum-forming is a great process and pretty cheap to do for the most part. Here is the site I have created my table from . I haven't formed anything yet because I am still sculpting a few things.
The tables vary greatly but this one works and is a great budget table. they sculpt and build there own stormtrooper costumes and other things from Star Wars.
I'm working on a Legion of Doom headquarters from the superfriends to either vacuum form or silicone mold.

http://www.studiocreations.com/howt...able/index.html
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  #6  
Old 07-26-2006, 11:21 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

"But my main concern is materialwise, acrylic is the best I have found so far"

I understand PC is better than acrylic in withstanding the sun. It seems to be the preferred material by architects for making sunroofs.
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  #7  
Old 07-27-2006, 12:11 AM
chatterx chatterx is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

Tandigon - I must have read this site ten times over and gained a great deal of how the process is done through it, but are they forming acrylic? I dont recall him saying what he was forming. but all in all that is a very informative site... in fact it turned me on to the the book they reccomend which should be here from amazon any day now.

merlon - I assume (dont flame me if I am wrong... not to familiar with abbrevations lol) PC is poly carbonate... lexan in other words? If so I have found lexan to be somewhat more scratchable (sp?) than acrylic... as in scratchable I mean as in fine surface scratches. I have tried to work with lexan and I know it has allot more breakage resistance than acrylic. As of right now I am forming my lenses with a industrial heat gun and working with lexan is a PITA because it always bubbles on me LOL. But if I can form lexan with vacuum forming methods then I will be all for it.

I have a budget of 1500 for building a vacuum forming machine and all of the materials to build the frame I can get at work and I can get the frame built at work. So basically all I have to buy is the elements to heat the plastic and a vacuum source and all the tubing and piping that goes to the machine, plus the glass for the sides.

I appreciate everyones insight on this and I am taking everyones views into consideration
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  #8  
Old 07-27-2006, 05:14 AM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

PC is the common abbreviation for the plastic material polycarbonate. Actually I don't have personal experience with it.

As for being more scratchable, I've just made a test on a sheet sample I happen to have, and notice it is indeed slightly more so compared with my acrylic sheet.
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  #9  
Old 01-30-2008, 03:40 AM
chalene chalene is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterx View Post
Hello I am new here and had a question. I currently make clear tailights for people that major manufacturers dont make for their specific model.

I completely make the clear lens by hand from cutting to heat forming over the original lens. I use Lucite acrylic .100 . Making one lens takes around 45 minutes per side. I am wanting to cut down that time considerably and have been looking at vacuum forming.

My main question is can acrylic be vacuum formed? I have been looking at plans and do have the money to build a decent size machine. My biggest lens I will be making is 29 x 10 inches. And the thickest acrylic I will work with is .100 and maybe some ABS .060

Has anyone ever vacuum formed acrylic and what was your results. Thanx a million guys for any insight on this

Below is a couple of pics of the clear lens. Part of the lens is painted over to hide the glue line.




hi chatterx , i read what u can do , im highly interested coz im struggling for a set of clear lenses for my model as well , my mail address is "me.japan16@yahoo.com" , im desperate for these please let me know, i'll do anything to get them,

thanks. chalene
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2008, 02:25 PM
BPACH BPACH is offline
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Re: Acrylic forming question

Acrylic can be vacuum formed just like any other plastic. The key is insuring that you get the material warmed to the transition state before pulling the vacuum. For a sheet .0100 thick you will probably need heaters on the top and bottom.
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