Vacuum-Forming RC-Body Shells

Revision as of 13:59, 4 May 2020 by Heiko (talk | contribs) (Decals)
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This work-in-progress. Just wanted to let me know. :-D

The Goal

I wanted to make my own body shells, ones NO ONE has. Insane[1], I know. :)


The Vacuum-Forming Tools


I made two VacForm-Boxes: One with 50cm x 28cm and one 64cm x 34cm. Why?

  • The 50cm x 28cm - sized: because I can cut 3 sheets from the supplied 1000x500mm PET-G sheets[2]
  • The 64cm x 34cm - sized: because some body shells are too large for 50cmx28cm. Unfortunately I can cut only one out of above mentioned sheets.

The boxes are around 10cm high and have one 35mm - hole on the side to attach the vacuumer.

I recommend rubber seals like this: E-Profil-Seal

The finished box looks like this (and yes, drilling hundreds of 4mm-holes really bored the hell out of me):

If you have kids - great, let them help - they will be SO proud:


You also need a frame to mount the PET-G-Sheets in. Mine look like this:

The Form

Ah yes - the most important part. The positive form. I could talk hours about what to do, and what not (that is, you supply enough beverages :-D ).

DMC DeLorean

I found this STL on Thingiverse, plane-split it with MeshMixer and printed it...
DMC01.jpg DMC02.jpg DMC03.jpg DMC04.jpg DMC05.jpg DMC06.jpg DMC07.jpg

And then came filling and sanding. THAT was hard work...

Karmann Ghia

Ein ganz anderer Schnack!


The Heater

I ended up with a box fitting my two frames. It is about 60cm high and houses two RoWi 1.2KW heaters[3] at the bottom and has aluminium (YES. ALUMINIUM![4]) lining on the side walls:

Decals & Masks

Ah, no body shell without decals!


This is how I design them using OmniGraffle: DMCDecals01.png

The Results


VacFormDMCResult01.jpg VacFormDMCResult02.jpg VacFormDMCResult03.jpg VacFormDMCResult04.jpg VacFormDMCResult05.jpg VacFormDMCResult06.jpg VacFormDMCResult07.jpg

The Lessons Learned

  • Print the parts as big as you can, less transitions, less filling
  • Filling takes more time than 3D-designing (see the Ghia's windows!)
  • 140°C is about right for PET-G
  • Act quickly! Heat it up, fire up the vacuumer and hit the box with the frame as fast and accurately you can!

  • Footnotes: