Vacuum Forming Machine

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To provide the members of i3Detroit with another fantastic tool to build their projects.


Hard to guess on this one. Factors include builder availability, acquiring parts quickly, communication between builders. I would guess several months will go by before we can do some forming. I will not be available to build in March so I suggested we start during the first week of April. This will also give us some time to gather building materials.


While I have been a member for nearly 1.5 years, I have not yet worked on a team build. This will be my first team build and also my first time leading a team build. So far about 4 members and myself are builders. I hope to add a few more in order to add high quality welding and knowledgable electrical skills. Brian W. has volunteered to work on the vacuum pump, tanks and the control panel. We also have talented members Glen M, Brian B and Nick B.


After meeting with a few of the project builders, it was decided to build a larger machine than I had planned to build alone. We looked at different designs and decided to purchase the "Proto-Form" plans online. I have bought these plans and printed them out. Builders are welcome to write notes and comments on the plans as they need to.


Sure it going to cost a few bucks and a few calories but all the tools to build a vacuum forming machine are already at i3Detroit. Several members have pledged donations for purchasing materials. Most of these members are also on the build team. The oven/heating unit is a bit expensive and I'm not sure about the pricing for the metal frame and electrical connections.


Metal Mart and McMaster Carr

Here's a short list of parts already available (or almost available)


Vacuum Pump.

Two 11 gallon air tanks.

Cart wheels.

2 x 4 wood for mobile cart/base.

Parts that need to be purchased soon

Metal square tubing for framework, carrier and carrier lift. Ted: I don't think we can get that aluminum to work but thanks just the same.

Sheet metal for oven/heating unit build

Completed Work

You know we didn't start yet so how can anything be completed? Placeholder.


The plans for the Proto-Form were created by a man from Lake Orion. I will surely invite him to i3Detroit to see the build when it is completed. I will be purchasing the heater parts from him at some point.

We all love the Mythbusters, right? Well guess what vacuum former they use? The same one we are building. I heard they used it to build Buster 2 in one of the episodes.


John Sugg

sugg3d@comcast.n e t