Vacuum Forming Table

I am currently in the process of constructing a vacuum forming table
to allow our Star Wars garrison create custom armor.

My table is based on the design in Thurston James' book
The Prop Builders Molding & Casting Handbook

I am also referencing TK560's fantastic website
for the intricate details of constructing the table.

I have adjusted the size of the table to be a little larger 24" by 32"
This should accomodate large chest  and leg pieces.

Using Visio, I came up with a detailed drawing showing the dimensions
for the four steel frames to be used in the construction of the table. Since
I can't weld, nor do I have the tools to weld steel, I bought some stock
and handed it off to my friend along with the drawings below.

Flip Flop Frame
This frame is mounted to the forming table on two hinge points.
It swings up and over to the oven where the plastic will be heated and soften.
Once the plastic is pliable, the frame pivots to the forming surface where
it is sucked down over the mold on the platen. There are L brackets for
wooden handles to be attached to the frame, and tabs on the top side to
lock down the plastic holding frame


Plastic Clamping Frame
This frame is attached to the Flip Flop Frame with a piano wire hinge at the bottom.
50 grit sandpaper is glued on the inside surfaces to hold the plastic in place.
There are two L brackets at the top of the frame for the bolts used to clamp the
frames together.

Plastic Clamping Frame

Oven Top Frame
TK560 added a metal frame to the top of his oven to protect the brittle Hardibacker board.
Sounds like a great idea to me, and initially I was going to use 1" by 1" angle steel with the
vertical angle inside the oven. However, I was concerned the 1" hang might block the heat
flowing to the plastic. I decided to use 3/4" angle steel, and adjusted the drawing so the
inside dimensions matched the two frames above.

Oven Top Frame

Oven Base Frame
The last steel frame is used for the base of the oven. The bottom of the oven is made from
1/2" Hardibacker board, and the sides will be sitting on top of this base. To help ensure the
sides don't go sliding off the base, I am buidling the bottom frame using 1" angle steel with the
sides standing up vertical.

Oven Base Frame

Waiting for the steel...
At this point, I've handed the raw steel tubing and angle pieces to my friend to weld together.
Once I've received the frames back, I'll post pictures and then cut the Hardibacker board and
MDF for the platen (just in case the inner dimensions don't match the plans above :-p)