View Full Version : RC Vacuum forming plastic bodies etc

3rd December 2011, 08:10 PM
this topic i find very interesting and im seriously toying with the idea of making my own setup, tons of videos on you tube to show how its done and it looks quite easy to do

the main thing is

where the heck do you buy the plastic sheet???

i found this on a web site

Plastic suitable for vacu-forming is very easily found. The most commonly used is polystyrene, which is what milk jugs and many other household goods are made of. Other types of plastic can be used as well, such as polycarbonate (AKA LEXAN), ABS, PETG (2 liter pop bottles), etc. These all work well for vacuum forming.

These plastics can be found in large sheets and varying thicknesses from local industrial suppliers, or online. Local big box type home improvement stores usually carry some plastic as well, most often polycarbonate, and polystyrene. Cheap light diffuser panel

The polycarbonate is usually carried in small and large sheets from .06 to .08 thick. The polystyrene sheets can be found being sold as "light diffuser" panels near the overhead lighting section.(these are the textured panels they cover flouresant lights with.) The light diffuser panels are a good source of cheap plastic to practice vacu-forming with, however they do tend to be very thin.

does anyone have their own plastic former? can anyone shed some extra light on the topic?


3rd December 2011, 08:37 PM
Hope you can make plastics sets for pins that are hard to find now

3rd December 2011, 08:55 PM
Hope you can make plastics sets for pins that are hard to find now

well so long as you have one to clone , or you can make a mould from it with plaster of paris then your cooking with gas

if you look thru my favorites on my youtube channel you will find a number of videos on the topic and its pretty simple to do


whats holding me back at the moment is the lack of the plastic used to put in to the moulding machine to start with

the reason i want to build one of these devices to to make my own rc bodies

5th December 2011, 09:37 AM
some tips on using plaster of paris as well. use plaster of paris to make a permanent mould and then vac form away till your hearts content


the most important bit is to smear some petroleum jelly (Vaseline) around the inside of the mould before you put the paster in to allow easier removal once dried

copied/paste here for future reference

Plaster of paris is a fun art medium that can be used to make a variety of home d?cor and garden d?cor items. Whether you want to make magnets, patio stones or prints of your little ones’ hands and feet, plaster of paris is an easy way to make molds and casts without much hassle and a minimum of mess. Plaster of paris is made from powdered gypsum, the same thing that artists use to prepare their canvases before they start painting. The powdered gypsum changes easily from a liquid to a solid when you add water, making it far easier to use than powdered cement, for example, or even paper mache when you want a quick and easy craft project that is all your own.

http://knol.google.com/k/-/-/3a9e8hggiw4cz/tebkmo/12573416195b278034f2m.jpg (http://knol.google.com/k/-/-/3a9e8hggiw4cz/tebkmo/12573416195b278034f2m.jpg)

You can create unique and beautiful pieces of art using plaster of paris and other artistic media.

Before you start out with your molds and your casts, you need to prepare a work area. While plaster of paris projects are fairly easy to contain, the powder can puff up and spread if you are in drafty or breezy location. If you are going to work outside then this probably will not matter or even be particularly noticeable, but if you are working inside it can be a big problem. Make sure that you are in a well ventilated area, but that it is not drafty. Also, cover your work area with plastic or newspapers. If you will be working with small children, then you should probably tape the newspapers down to keep them from sliding. Wear old clothes since you may end up dripping some plaster of paris on you. It will wash out, but it is still better to do this kind of art in “work” clothes rather than your best.
Next, make sure that you have everything that you need on hand. You will need molds for your plaster of paris. They may be artistic molds, molds made out of plaster of paris – we will talk more about this later – or even candy molds, which make great casts for magnets and small decorations. You will also need paper towels, a mixing bowl, sandpaper, a knife that you do not need for cooking and petroleum jelly. Wipe out all the molds to make sure that they are clean and dry, and if you are using plaster of paris molds then coat the inside of the molds with a thin layer of petroleum jelly to prevent the old plaster of paris from adhering to the new. The petroleum jelly will create a seal that will enable you to turn out the cast once it has set. If you are new to using plaster of paris, then start out with smaller, manufactured molds. As you get used to the medium, you can make larger and more elaborate things.

http://knol.google.com/k/-/-/3a9e8hggiw4cz/tebkmo/240280541489d23176a7.jpg (http://knol.google.com/k/-/-/3a9e8hggiw4cz/tebkmo/240280541489d23176a7.jpg)

The same molds that you use to make sweet little candies are also good for making small plaster of paris projects.

Mix the plaster of paris with cool water. Follow the directions on your specific container of plaster of paris since different brands require different amounts of water and mix. The cool water will cause the resulting mixture to harden more slowly, which will give you a little more time to work as you pour your plaster of paris into the molds. Your mixture should be about the consistency of cake batter.
Pour the plaster of paris liquid slowly into the molds. If you pour it too quickly, you will trap air in the bottom of the molds and you will lose many of the fine details in the casting. Make sure that the liquid gets into every nook and cranny of the mold. Once you have filled the mold almost to the top, tap it on a hard surface to get all of the air bubbles out of the mixture. You can rap it fairly hard, but be sure not to jostle the mixture or you will end up with a big mess. Hold the mold firmly in both hands while you are tapping and be sure to keep it level.
Let the plaster dry. Some small molds may need as little as ten minutes, but to be on the safe side you should wait at least an hour before you try to remove your finished plaster of paris project. If you remove it too early, there is no way to go back and get the wet or broken parts out of the mold in one piece. You will just have to start over completely. Keep the mold and its contents in a warm, dry place while they dry out.
When you are ready to pop your mold out, twist the mold to loosen the edges of the casting from the mold. It is similar to popping ice out of ice trays. Obviously, if you are using a mold made of plaster of paris, this will not be an option. You can use a knife to loosen the sides of the mold and to make it easier to get the casting out. Do not use a sharp knife for this since you will likely break the tip off.
Once your have gotten your plaster of paris cast out, it is time to put on the finishing touches. Use the sharp knife you got out earlier to cut off any “seams” that may have slightly overlapped the top of the mold. Use the sandpaper to smooth the bottom of the figure so that it sits firmly and flat on the ground. Now, you can paint your figure or decorate it in any way that you choose.
If you want to make molds out of plaster of paris, simply get a large container like a bucket or a tub that the figure that you want to make a mold of will fit in. Fill the tub with plaster of paris, then push the object into the plaster of paris. It should not have hooks or bends that will make getting the object out without breaking the mold impossible. Once the plaster of paris has dried, you can remove the object, then coat the inside of your new mold with petroleum jelly before filling it with more plaster of paris to create a replica of the original object.

5th December 2011, 04:59 PM
i found a local lot in townsville that sell clear polycarbonate sheets from 1mm to 12mm thick


The standard size sheets are 2440mm x 1220mm. and they cut to any size

dont know how much, i have emailed them but they have shut for the day

6th December 2011, 09:14 AM
some info from northern plastics in townsville

1 Sheet of 1.5mm Clear UV Polycarbonate 2440mm x 1220mm is $66 including GST

1 of 1.5mm Clear Polycarbonate 600mm x 400mm including GST is $31.50

6th December 2011, 07:07 PM
went and had a chat to northern plastics today.they reckon the polycarbonate sheet probably wont work well. im better off getting a product i think was called PDT. dunno cant remember.anyhow its the same stuff he says as what they use to make milk bottles with.reckons i need a .75 mm thick x 2440mm x 1220mm sheet cost $41
dont have any in stock, they order from brisbane every 2 weeks.the guy i spoke to said that if i made a cast out of plaster of paris it probably wouldnt last too long.reckons id be lucky to get 12 runs out of it before it broke.thats cool. i can live with that.

so.just need to find some peg board.i have just about everything else i need and i can make my own vac form machine....yee-haw

6th December 2011, 07:58 PM
so.just need to find some peg board.

or masonite and a 5mm drill bit if you cant;)

6th December 2011, 09:30 PM
or masonite and a 5mm drill bit if you cant;)
its cool. might head out to "treasure island" in the next few days and see what i can find

"treasure island" aka "bob shop" aka "dump"

devil rider
6th December 2011, 10:07 PM
Hi Z

you are going all out hey!

What style of body do you currently run & what will you try to achieve?


7th December 2011, 07:58 AM
[QUOTE=devil rider;586966]Hi Z

you are going all out hey!

What style of body do you currently run & what will you try to achieve?

i have an erevo body 1/10th scale ( more realisticly its 1/8th)


my main reason to do this is for myself to save some bucks on new bodies. being a basher, bodies dont last too long, and funny enough when your doing 40kmph and you flip it on concrete or tar, bodies wear our very fast...lol

what id like to do is buy a brand new body and take a plaster of paris mould from it and remove the plaster and keep the new body and put it aside to make new plaster of paris moulds

i can then use the plaster of paris as the mould to form new bodies.
if i buy a sheet 2440mm x 1220mm sheet cost $41 then i need to cut smaller sheets from it about 600x400 to cover the erevo body and have 100mm gap around the edges
this would give me 2440/600=4 and 1220/400=3 so 12 bodies per sheet
so $41/12=$3.42 per body as apposed to $32 + post

i have no intentions of making these and selling them on ebay or the likes, just do it for myself


someone mentioned earlier about pop bumpers, well im sure i could help out there too

7th December 2011, 10:09 PM
found a few instructionals on the topic



i did find a great DIY one in the usa on youtube and i added it to my fav's. it uses 2 air rams to move the heated plastic up/down on to the mould. very smart.they made a ghost busters logo with it.

pitty im working this weekend or i would make a start on building my own vac former

8th December 2011, 02:43 PM
starting to collect parts for this.i will build at *least* 2 different sized formers. one will be big enough to fit a plastic disposable plate onto it for small stuff (like pinball pop bumpers) and a larger one for my rc bodies

im chasing peg board and a decent sized workshop vac. i have put an advert in our local free cycle and see how we go


keep you posted:)

14th December 2011, 04:27 PM
i got some peg board today!!! yippe!!! only *JUST* fit in the rear boot of my commodore wagon!


i have a few things to do this arvo and in morning but im on 4 days off, don go back till monday so hopefully i can get something done.want to build a small one first as a test and can be used for pop bumpers too:cool:

14th December 2011, 09:30 PM
i started this tonight

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/7338/s6300364r.jpg (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/412/s6300364r.jpg/)

Uploaded with ImageShack.us (http://imageshack.us)

this is a small one that i can fit a plastic plate to and make pop bumpers and other small stuff with. tomorrow i will screw/glue/tape it together and also cut out the peg board to fit on the top.


14th December 2011, 11:23 PM
vac former base almost done

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xzlsra1kgf8&list=UUsJfsvVWJkYvOPhrLR4T1Yw& index=1&feature=plpp_video

15th December 2011, 02:55 PM
well im getting closer and closer to finishing this. i picked up a Karcher A2004 workshop vac wet/dry this morning for practically nothing and it works well too!!! i will use it for the suction and i just need some 3 ply or similar for the top to hold the plastic plate


15th December 2011, 06:27 PM
Go Zed!

Very interesting.

15th December 2011, 07:23 PM
Go Zed!

Very interesting.

thanks mate, with a bit of luck tomorrow i will have the 3 ply i need to make the top assembly to hold the plastic plate.im keen to see this working:cool:

15th December 2011, 07:27 PM
thanks mate, with a bit of luck tomorrow i will have the 3 ply i need to make the top assembly to hold the plastic plate.im keen to see this working:cool:

That camera was a good score for you , loving the vids :D Will watch the vacuum forming ;)

15th December 2011, 07:30 PM
That camera was a good score for you , loving the vids :D Will watch the vacuum forming ;)

mate i love my Flip Video Camera, best present in ages. i uploaded just over one gigabyte to youtube today, a 17 minute video of a thunderstom that came thru town at 4am this morning.

im not finished the vac forming machine yet. hopefully tomorrow.i have one small thing left slowing me down....actually two. i might even go out to my shed and make another quick video and show where im at and the 2 minor obstacles i need to over come

15th December 2011, 09:39 PM
how to get that big rod to fit in a small hole

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFGFbAiEpsA&list=UUsJfsvVWJkYvOPhrLR4T1Yw& index=1&feature=plcp

16th December 2011, 06:21 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfxLIB8GcXg&list=UUsJfsvVWJkYvOPhrLR4T1Yw& index=2&feature=plcp

it lives

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsqx_wUFq1k&list=UUsJfsvVWJkYvOPhrLR4T1Yw& index=1&feature=plcp

16th December 2011, 07:27 PM
Nice. You are really giving that camera a workout. Very cool stuff. Have always wanted to vacuum form HO slot car bodies myself.

16th December 2011, 08:43 PM
Nice. You are really giving that camera a workout. Very cool stuff. Have always wanted to vacuum form HO slot car bodies myself.

mate i love this camera.best present i have had in years. been hanging out for something that does a good job and small and easy to use. magic kit.:cool:

so long as it isnt raining tomorrow i will probably drag the small oven, vac and vac former in to my driveway and have a crack at vac forming something and see how she goes:)

a slot car body will easy fit on to a plastic dinner plate so this setup will do it piece of cake

20th December 2011, 06:51 PM
i just found an interesting ebay advert


i will copy/paste the most interesting bits here for prosperity

Don't try this with your stock body...... check this out, my photography skills are terrible but I think you'll get the point.

If you can even find a new one of these TRA5611x bodies right now, they'll cost you close to $33, multiply that by 8 and you're at $264 just in body costs alone. That's not even taking into account the time spent trimming and painting each individual body. Not to mention the money you'll spend on paint, about $5 a can last time I checked.

Spend a little more now to save a lot more later, it's that simple. Keep in mind, the added weight of the material used on this body will not make it the best choice for the avid racer on short course tracks (usually, lighter is better) The extra weight however will help keep your truck more stable at higher speeds, it'll keep the wheelies down and reduce the parachute effect caused by too much power and big body aerodynamics.


now for me to see if i can find this stuff in australia. cos if i can, heck i will just buy it and paint my own body's and use this underneath it :lol

20th December 2011, 09:25 PM
a little research and i found

rhino liners

been around for years. they have a ute spay on liner thats 2mm thick, might givem a call tomorra and see how much to spray my erevo body


07 4779 3588
Unit 5 3-12 Veness Street
Townsville 4814

20th December 2011, 10:04 PM
Yeah, they started just doing the prefab ones I think and then got into the spray on stuff.

5th February 2012, 01:54 PM
Well today is a very nice day, hardly any wind around and had a chance to have a go at my vac former.had 5 goes at it. first 2 was with standard old plastic throw out plates used at a BBQ. they worked ok, not the best, but it worked, i then had a go with milk bottle plastic. cut the milk bottle in half and heat it up in a small oven.

wow. 170 degress is nice, maybe a bit hotter might make it work fast, but the plastic goes clear and sags, whack it on top of the vac former and hit the go button on the vacume cleaner and we are good to go

so, who need pop bumpers made for their pinnie? make a plaster of paris mould and send it to me and i will have a go.destructions on how do it earlier in this thread


theres a few more videos uploading at the moment on my channel

6th February 2012, 09:55 PM

6th February 2012, 09:55 PM

6th February 2012, 09:56 PM

6th February 2012, 09:57 PM

8th February 2012, 06:28 AM
Starting to get some good results there. The Milk Bottle/Oven combo seems to be paying off.

Nice Work.

8th February 2012, 07:23 AM
yeah the secret with the oven was to watch the milk bottle plastic turn clear and droop downwards.unreal to watch

8th February 2012, 09:45 AM
Looks good! You'll be vac forming pop caps soon!

Question though, in video one @ 12sec, what does 'bre-yant' mean? :p

8th February 2012, 06:31 PM
Looks good! You'll be vac forming pop caps soon!

Question though, in video one @ 12sec, what does 'bre-yant' mean? :p

smart arse, i said "brilliant", i sometime tend to mumble a bit.

25th June 2012, 09:38 PM
i know its been a while, but how did you go doing the bodies?
i'm just getting into r/c cars/buggies so i find this pretty interesting

26th June 2012, 07:01 AM
i know its been a while, but how did you go doing the bodies?
i'm just getting into r/c cars/buggies so i find this pretty interesting

i need to build a bigger vac former to do it with and im going to needa much bigger oven then the one i currently have in the kitchen.
i have no doubt this would work to vac form bodies on a bigger scale.
i have abandoned making a bigger one though as i have got a steel roll cage for me erevo now and its tough as nails.i can stand on the cage on one leg and it doesnt even look like bending


delivered to my door $100, saved me a lot of time stuffing round thats for sure.