Build Your Own Vacuum Forming Machine

Workshop Publishing has been providing simple, detailed build plans for over 15 years.

We offer build plans for small and large vacuum forming machines. Our customers are hobbyists, makers and large corporations in many industries.



Hobby Vac Build Plans

A table-top vacuum forming machine

Construction plans for a tabletop vacuum forming machine that can mold flat plastic sheets into complex shapes using heat and vacuum. The plans are delivered digitally in PDF format.

There are no comparable small machines currently being produced with this level of performance. Perfect for the serious hobbyist or small business.

Build it Yourself and Save!

Features

  • Designed to be an easy 2 or 3 weekend project
  • 5 times more forming power than ShopVac powered machines
  • Uses ordinary parts and a wood cabinet
  • Features a built in 110 volt oven and powerful vacuum system
  • Is the largest size you can run on a residential house 120 volt circuit
  • Form up to 1/4 inch thick plastic sheets
  • Supports sheet size is 12 x18 inches or smaller and depth of draw is up to 6 inches
  • Several vacuum options including a 2 stage system

What's in the plans

  • 100 page illustrated assembly manual
  • 2 large photo pages
  • 32 detail drawings
  • A large cut away drawing
  • Tips and techniques for vacuum forming

Proto Form Build Plans

A large format vacuum forming machine

Construction plans for a larger vacuum forming machine. Information is included to build three sizes, 24x24, 24x36, and 24x48 inches. Ideal for prototyping, packaging and short run production of larger parts. The plans are delivered digitally in PDF format.

Features

  • Build this machine for thousands less than a new unit with the same performance
  • Form up to 1/4 inch thick plastic sheets with a 12 inch depth of draw.
  • Oven is mounted overhead so it takes up minimal floor space
  • Rugged manual lift linkage - easy to operate… cheap to build
  • Removable platens let you change sizes quickly and easily
  • Easy to build with no machined parts
  • Steel chassis with wood exterior is both rugged and attractive

What's in the plans

  • 100 page illustrated assembly manual
  • Parts and material cut lists
  • 27 parts drawings
  • 3 full size cut-away drawings
  • 36 color pictures
  • Written, detailed instructions that guide you through the build process
  • Tips and techniques for the vacuum forming process

Industries

The Hobby-Vac and Proto-Form are versatile machines
capable of high volume production and custom prototypes. Here is a selection of industries and companies using them.

Special Effects

Theatre Props

R/C Modeling

NASA prototypes

Outdoor Recreation

Candy and Soap molds

Scale model

Industrial prototypes

Architectural Models

Signage

Motorsports

Hackerspaces

Toys Hobbies and Crafts

Automobile Parts

Motorcycle Parts

Packaging

Mythbusting

And many more!



Proto Form on Mythbusters

Adam Savage and his Proto Form

Adam Savage and a Proto Form

 

I emailed Adam Savage after someone spotted
a Proto-Form on the "Bug" episode, here was his reply:
I purchased it secondhand and 90% built for 500 bucks. I put a bunch into it with a double tank and high volume vacuum pump. I also put a switch in that splits the heating elements into two groups so I can run things like acrylic on a lower heat.

It's a lovely machine.

Customer Testimonials

Your Vacuum Forming overview, parts lists, building instructions, then "how to operate" instructions were well beyond the promised blueprints.
Kevin and Michael Ford
I purchased it secondhand and 90% built for 500 bucks. I put a bunch into it with a double tank and high volume vacuum pump. I also put a switch in that splits the heating elements into two groups so I can run things like acrylic on a lower heat. It's a lovely machine.
Adam Savage of MythBusters
Hey, so, I just wanted to let you know that these are by far the best construction plans for anything that I have ever used. You really did think of everything. I spent easily two weeks trying to design and prototype something that isn't nearly as good. As a last resort I purchased your plans and I'm now kicking myself I didn't do that in the first place. I'm glad I didn't carry through with my original design, though, because I would have ended up with something three times as expensive and half as good. The research you've done is alone worth twice what you're charging.
Jaybill
Thank you very much. BTW, your kit is very nice. I really appreciate the organization and thoughtfulness that you have put into it.
John Bandringa
I just wanted to thank you again and let you know that I think your plans were fantastic.
Rick Osgood - Eugene Maker Space
I am a very happy builder of your table top vacuum former. Here are the results: http://www.lunarreliefcharts.com
Howard Fink
I have completed the "Hobby-Vac" and it works great! Just as advertised.
M. Bennett
I just completed putting together my vacuum form machine. It works great. I found the plans to be complete, correct, and thorough. Good job.
Jay Rawot
Your plans are great. I'm going for the Cadillac version, Oak & Poplar.
Steve LaPorte
Just thought it was about time to write and say a huge thank you. Both for your plans and for your time and understanding in helping get it finally up and running. We’re cooking perfectly now and because of all of this you have made me look exceedingly good with the art department that I am working with here in Rosarito.
Colin Thurston
I Got my 32x48 inch vacuum former built with 7 more on the way vacuum forming 2100 parts with one machine a day.
Duane
This has been the most enjoyable project that I have tackled in 45 years. The last one would be a Heathkit short wave radio I built when I was 15. Your instructions were clear and concise and accurate...well done!
Brian Male