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Jun 05, 2019, 04:23 PM
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vac box and frame


The vacuum table/box I built for vac molding parts is 12 x 18in. I think the sides are 1/2 X 1 1/2in pine and the bottom is 1/8in ply. There are interior wood supports that keep the peg board from flexing. It is fastened and glued together to make it air tight.
The PVC coupler is what I use to attach my Shark vac to the PVC outlet on the table.
The frame is the same material as the box sides and 1/8in ply was used to provide a flange for clipping plastic sheet to the frame.
I ended up using some weather stripping to provide a seal between the box and the frame.
Last edited by phantomphan; Jun 05, 2019 at 05:11 PM.
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Jun 05, 2019, 05:09 PM
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vac mold


To vac mold a part I heat my oven to 310-315 F. I get my table set up. If the plug is painted I dust it with talc and wipe it with a paper towel. The talc keeps the hot plastic from sticking to the paint. If the plug is bare wood I haven’t found a need for talc. Once the plug is prepped I center it on the vac table.

When the oven is at temp I turn on the vac and then put the frame and plastic into the oven. I end up leaving the oven door slightly open so I can watch the plastic for sag. Once the plastic starts to sag about half the depth of the frame I quickly pull the frame out and push it down over the plug and onto the table. When the plastic is sufficiently cooled and I go about removing the plastic from the frame and popping the plug from the plastic.

Of note:
To get smooth blemish free pieces such as a canopy or the cannon blister in the pics the plugs have to painted. Any surface defects in a plug will show up in the plastic part.

Example: When I was trying to make a canopy the first 3 I did were junk. The oven temp was wrong and or I didn’t let the plastic sag enough. On the 4th try I got it right and produced a decent part. I was going to make a backup canopy and my canopy plug cracked on the fifth use. The crack showed up in the plastic and the result was another junk part. Check out the pic attached.

Example 2: When I made the cockpit bits I didn’t paint the plugs and let the surface texture show in the vac molded parts. After the parts where painted flat black the look is similar to whats called soft-touch textured plastic we find in automobiles.
Last edited by phantomphan; Jun 05, 2019 at 08:07 PM.
Jun 05, 2019, 05:25 PM
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Cutting out 1 of the 2 cannon blisters I molded. Then test for fit.
Jun 09, 2019, 01:13 PM
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With a rainy weekend here I was able to get the cannon blister installed. (Prior to install I was playing around with a new airbrush and wanted to see what the part would look like prior to being glued to the fuse. Thats why the blister had gray on it already.) Anyway, I started by masking around the area the vac molded part would cover. With the tape serving as a guide I removed the Ultrakote film. Then I used medium CA to attach the blister. A little Bondo was used to blend the surfaces. Once I was happy with the sanding I cleaned everything and masked for paint. The last pics are right after the masking was removed.
Jun 09, 2019, 01:24 PM
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After the paint cured over night I used several pics from the web to see how the gun door and the vent should look. I used 1/32 vinyl tape to outline the door.
With a little experimenting I found that if I use some glass fiber, paint it with a charcoal color, lay it over a surface, and then press it down it did a fair job of transferring the weave pattern and giving the look of the screened gun vent.
Jun 16, 2019, 12:34 PM
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Dirty Dee's Avatar
Good to meet you at Jet Jam phantomphan, the F35 is gorgeous in person.
Jun 16, 2019, 09:46 PM
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Thank you DD. It was nice meeting you as well. I still cant get over your A330
Jun 17, 2019, 07:19 PM
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It was a pleasure meeting you! Awesome model and very well thought out!
Jun 17, 2019, 11:05 PM
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Wow. Thats a great series of pictures! Taxi out, takeoff run, couple of fly-by's at cruise, approach, and rollout.
It was great meeting you as well I was a little bummed I was only able to attend the Jam on Friday, but it was a really nice day with a lot of fun and cool people. Thanks a million
James
Last edited by phantomphan; Jun 17, 2019 at 11:11 PM.
Jun 24, 2019, 12:56 PM
Classic jets rule
AIR SALLY's Avatar
nice work on your vac box frame ...think I need to mod mine to use the clips ...I have been just taping my plastic to the frame.
the pics from jet jam look great too.


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