Theraforming zepron..Lets kick it up a Notch - Page 3 - RC Groups
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Nov 02, 2002, 08:39 AM
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Rig Pic's for you guys
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Nov 02, 2002, 08:40 AM
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Detail of the frame.......Note how the Corner's There just a small slit and bent to shape......last side get 2 srews
and the clips to hold down the foam....
Nov 02, 2002, 11:09 AM
The effect is sadly temporary
Hippo's Avatar

So how long is it?


How far is your vacuum setup from the heat source? You're heating the foam in the oven right? Are you heating the box too? or just pulling the frame from the oven and running to the box. If that's the case, how long do you think it takes to get from the oven to the box?

I'm curious how long Zepron will hold it's heat. Like I said before, BlueCor will solidify almost instantly.

Nov 02, 2002, 12:48 PM
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Hi dan....I just took that picture out side to show the setup
the Unit set's right by my oven in side.....I would say 2-5 second's
is all you have......Pull it out and slam it down...

When I go to Lowe's I see the flashing/molding stuff look like its
formed blue core......I dunno if you ever saw it....its long and molded looks like a Bunch of cups sticking out of it......and its very thin that might be Vacume formed dunno

I never Tried blue core how thin can you get it?......
What you could build a pro vacume form table....One side of it is the Heater/oven....the other side The forming table...your foam is mounted on a Frame that is hinged Between both side's you heat it up and flip it in like 1/2 second its fast....and might work for blue core.....dunno......Im going to make one I bought all the parts for it.....just havent had the time for it....

Nov 02, 2002, 12:52 PM
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If ya want to build a heating table....this is where I get my parts from...they have ever thing you will need.....but ya dont really need there power supply you could just use a dimmer..

Nov 02, 2002, 12:53 PM
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Duhhhh the link..
Nov 02, 2002, 01:25 PM
KSU Flyer's Avatar

construction of a vacuum bed

Hey guys it's easy...I've posted a link to my website before when folks wanted to make canopies, but I'll post it again. There is really no fundamental difference between my vacuum bed and aerogel's, he just made a larger bed for larger parts. My bed is small to conserve the marginally expensive clear canopy plastic that I purchase from Sig. Actually if you go to my website, you'll see that my vacuum bed is contructed from a small cake pan! Let me know if you have any questions, I've built other ones too.

My website

Good luck!

Nov 02, 2002, 01:44 PM
Registered User

Vac forming oven

I may be missing something, but it seems to me that if you incorporated a well insulated lid you could lay in the foam cold, use the lid to clamp the foam sheet, and then pump heat into the lid to soften the foam before applying vacuum. For heat I am thinking maybe an aluminum sheet plenum chamber with a hole pattern that would distribute the heat evenly over the foam. The heat source could easily be one or two heat guns with adapters allowing attachment to the plenum chamber. The lid would be sort of a box with another box inside (plenum chamber) surrounded by insulation. I guess I'll have to build one and take pictures. I can see it, but this description isn't very good. Anyway, putting the "oven" on top of the vac box would keep us out of the kitchen and out of hot water with the spouse and more importantly, give us better control over the conditions necessary to successfully form foam parts.

A good material for foam plugs is Fixall, a patching compound that doesn't shrink. I've used it to make canopy molds and even made a mold for some lead weights. It didn't like the heat from 8 oz molten lead, but I don't think we would need that kind of heat for foam. It might be necessary to make a female mold and then cast a male plug, but the mold would pick every bit of detail from the original.

I should have stayed in bed. All I need is one more "project"!

Nov 02, 2002, 02:44 PM
Registered User

How much vacuum?

Now that I have decided to pursue this, How much vacuum pressure is needed? I can see using the wife's vacuum, or maybe a shop vac, but is there any data to tell me how many inches of water or inches of mercury the vac pump needs to pull?
Is it variable depending on the type and thickness of the foam? Is it, as I fear, entirely subjective? I get the sneaky suspicion that it is more art than science. Somebody please tell me I'm wrong!

Nov 02, 2002, 02:57 PM
Motors beat engines!
Theres no need to buy expensive plastic to make canopies with.

2 litre soda bottles are made from lexan. Its crystal clear, very tough, and most importantly for us here, its shrinks like a son of a gun when you hit it with a heat gun.

Keys for successful heat shrinking:

1) the plug must be crush and heat resistant. I just sand wood 2x4 pieces to shape.

2) the plastic must be very secure to avoid pulling itself off your form while shrinking.

The easiest way is to make a plug that can insert into the bottle you've cut the bottom off of.
Imagine a 2x4 with your wooden canopy shape glued to one side. Insert it into the opened bottle bottom, and hit it with the gun, working around the piece gradually.
It will shrink everywhere, locking into place on the plug, and molding itself perfectly over the canopy plug too.
When it looks good, use a knife to cut it off.

All done, and likely the toughest part of your plane to boot!

I started using this method for making cowls, and would love to find a way to make other parts as well. The strength and ease of building is outstanding.
I've more than once pictured a wing skin made this way covering a CF tube spar structure, and painted on the inside before assembly. It would be practically indestructable and very fast building.

Dean in Milwaukee
Nov 02, 2002, 03:06 PM
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Hi DEPENDS... I have a book somewhere with some numbers in it
Ill have to find it.....You will get more Vacume with a Vacume
pump or Useing a air tank....You also can make to stage vacume one of them shop vac the other air tank....

My shop vac's works fine......for The Zerpon....any other foam
who know's

Nov 02, 2002, 03:16 PM
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Ya know Im am kicking my self in the but ever time I think of my next to Neighbor went out of Bizz with his pizza chain about 5 years ago he had a Pizza oven he was going to give me with a 4 foot wide by 1 foot high oven space and the brick to boot....
And I tured it down..

Goes to show you One man's Garbage is another man Treasure

Nov 02, 2002, 11:31 PM
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Spent Most of the day forming a Mig and another F-16
And Chucking My 1/48 scale F-16 around the yard it Fly's real well
And IM going to try to put a ˝ inch ducted fan in it.... I have to solve a problem first
I thought It was hard to Trim and mate Vacuum formed plastic.... The Zerpron2 Is very hard Its 1/64's and smaller after I form it...One Way IM trying to fix this problem is with Polyurethane glue Around all the trim edge's.....Also to give the Body some Strength I do Like the all most 0 weight of this stuff after its
Formed reminds me of stick and Tissue. Or just find a thicker virgin foam…
Nov 04, 2002, 10:34 AM
zbrubaker's Avatar
I'm glad to see someone has been successfully vacuum forming Zepron. I just bought some a short time ago, and I'm making plugs now for a plane.

I've drawn up plans for a vacuum forming box that I'm going to build. The upper box is the heating chamber, and the lower box is the vacuum table. What you see in the middle is the frame. Rather than having multiple vacuum tables, you can have multiple frames for different sheet sizes (much cheaper and more compact!)

For a heat source, I was planing on using a paint removal heat gun that would fit onto a hole in the heating chamber. This way, the heat gun can be easily removed for "spot" heating if necessary. Holes will be drilled around the base of the heating chamber to allow the blown in air to escape, and to promote/improve even heat circulation. Once the plastic and/or foam is heated, just lower the frame onto the vacuum table.

If anyone is interested in this design, email me or send me a PM.

- Zeke
Nov 04, 2002, 11:24 AM
Registered User


Just a thought here.....totally out of the box.
why is the vacuum platform always down?
If the foam cools so quickly, how about having the frame
holding the foam, suspended over a heat source......
Then turn on the vacuum.
Like zbrubaker only upside down........I think

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