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Vacu-Forming


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I am finishing up some research on building a Catalina 30.  Trying to work out how everything will be made, and a thought struck me today about the deck and cabin structure.  I wonder if anyone has tried to vacu-form certain parts from a plastic type material.  I can envision carving a mould and using that as the pattern.  It would have the ability to simulate fiberglass etc.  

Thoughts? Pros & cons?

 

Gwyl

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I think vacu-forming would work very well. There are lots of how-to videos on YouTube, and with all the blister packaging and plastic containers that we all have to throw away there's no shortage of raw material. Paint the inside of a clear shell, like is done with R/C cars, and high gloss finishes become a piece of cake.

 

post-30-0-61490200-1434260515_thumb.jpg

 

I got one of these for Christmas some 50 years ago and used it to make custom slot car bodies.

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Greetings All,

 

Believe Micro Mark sells a small vacuum/heating unit for doing this. I originally thought of doing vacuum forming for my small boats with something like that. Instead went with cigarette paper mache sort of technique, which works quite well and costs nearly nothing. I should think something similar would work with larger, slightly thicker paper or tissue. Even with just 3 layers of cigarette papers my smallest boat hulls are quite resilient and strong. Depending on  how you plan your model, i.e. any forces that might affect the integrity of the cabin such as mast mounting or rigging tensions, it should work out. Basically it would cost nearly nothing to try, since you'd be making a solid form to mold in plastic anyway. Should you need any internal strength, could be a simple wood framing inside the cabin shell would work.

 

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

Ladysmith, WI

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Man..". I never knew Mattel made a vacuum forming machine back then." I am absolutely choked. When I was an young teenager we used to race slot cars at a big track, 8 lanes, ...with banked curves in the basement of a hobby shop by the name of Morocraft. If I would of known this back then I definitely would have built custom car bodies for Can Am. Thanks for sharing Dave!

Jeff

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Greetings All,

 

Believe Micro Mark sells a small vacuum/heating unit for doing this. I originally thought of doing vacuum forming for my small boats with something like that. Instead went with cigarette paper mache sort of technique, which works quite well and costs nearly nothing. I should think something similar would work with larger, slightly thicker paper or tissue. Even with just 3 layers of cigarette papers my smallest boat hulls are quite resilient and strong. Depending on  how you plan your model, i.e. any forces that might affect the integrity of the cabin such as mast mounting or rigging tensions, it should work out. Basically it would cost nearly nothing to try, since you'd be making a solid form to mold in plastic anyway. Should you need any internal strength, could be a simple wood framing inside the cabin shell would work.

 

Anchor's A Weigh!

John Fox III

Ladysmith, WI

 

I used the same technique to make boats for Esmeralda

 

post-30-0-40252400-1434375407_thumb.jpg

Three boats, two with thwarts painted on clear plastic inserts. Zodiak

hull is a portion of paper boat hull with bent wire for the inflatable pontoon.

Floor boards obscure the Vee hulls in this view.

 

post-30-0-78435900-1434375410_thumb.jpg

Boats in place with oars on the thwarts. Macro-photography is so unforgiving.

 

post-30-0-05419300-1434375713_thumb.jpg

One of two more boats in an assembly with davits and inflatable life boat containers below. 

 

Man..". I never knew Mattel made a vacuum forming machine back then." I am absolutely choked. When I was an young teenager we used to race slot cars at a big track, 8 lanes, ...with banked curves in the basement of a hobby shop by the name of Morocraft. If I would of known this back then I definitely would have built custom car bodies for Can Am. Thanks for sharing Dave!

Jeff

 

The track I raced on was in the basement of a pool hall. I (mis-)spent a lot of my time and paper route earnings in that place doing both. I was something of a junior hustler in those days.

 

I also had a Mattel wood turning lathe.

 

post-30-0-46724500-1434376983_thumb.jpg

 

What a different time that was (50 years ago) when boys worked paper routes at as young as 12 and products were sold for use by children (with adult supervision assumed) that would have the nanny state banning them today to "protect" the users from assuming the responsibility for using the tool safely and learning valuable lessons in the process.

 

Thanks for the responses on this so far.  Bob, nice work on such small scale.  It does look like it has a place in my modeling tool box.  Mattel seems like it was ahead of it's time for some products!

 

Gwyl

 

It seems to me that both techniques have their uses. Vacu-forming seems to have limitations for very small parts due to the thickness of the plastic sheet where the paper mache can work a bit better. Both techniques work well for multiple copies of items. I haven't made a vacu-forming tray like the one shown yet but won't hesitate when the time comes.

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