Vacuum-Forming RC-Body Shells

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Revision as of 13:25, 5 June 2020 by Heiko (talk | contribs) (The Lessons Learned)
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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. :)

Building

The Vacuum-Forming Tools

Boxes

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):
VacFormBox01.jpg

If you have kids - great, let them help - they will be SO proud:
VacFormBox02.jpg

Frames

You also need a frame to mount the PET-G-Sheets in. Mine look like this:
VacFormFrame01.jpg

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!

TBD

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:
VacFormHeater01.jpg

Decals & Masks

Ah, no body shell without decals!

I use OraMask masking tape and Sattleford adhesive film with a Oki C332 colour laser printer, which can transport the film without bending.

DeLorean

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

The Results

DeLorean

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 (meaning: less parts, less transitions, less filling, less sanding)
  • Filling takes more time than 3D-designing (see the Ghia's windows!)
    • Don't ever use different fillers on the same surface! (I did...and ended up with an surface on which I have two fillers, one is easy to sand, the other is not, which makes it very hard to get it levelled!)
  • 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: