14-year-old Jonny March is a fan of Cubify Invent. He likes to make things, and after watching a video on YouTube about vacuum forming, decided to make his own vacuum former. He told us he made it because he really wanted to be able to make gelatin treats in the same shape of something that he actually printed himself.
The Vacuum Former is composed of several basic multiple STL print files.
The prints are:
- (1) “stand-holds plastic”-holder
- (1) “shop-vac-mount”-attaches to hose or (1) “shop-vac-mount-53.5mm-outer”-attaches to hose
- (1) “gasket”-lets all the holes in the stand to be used (2) “plastic-holder”-holds the plastic
- (1) “plastic-cut-out”-template to cut the plastic or
- (1) “plastic-cut-out-less-plastic”-template to cut the plastic
“I used Cubify Invent (to design these) because it’s easy yet you can do a lot with it, unlike Google SketchUp that is really basic but you can’t do too much unless you spend many hours modeling simple things,” Jonny said.
Once the files for the vacuum former were printed, Jonny used a glue gun for the gasket in between the vac mount. He put a rubber band around the posts on the stand. Then, he cut out the plastic used for the vacuum and placed them in the plastic holder. He connected the shop vac, placed an object on the stand, heated up the plastic, then quickly placed the plastic (in the holder) on the stand with the posts in the holes in the holder, and turned on the vacuum.
A few tips he offers: A heat gun works better than a lighter for this and the maker should place the plastic over the object quickly. Also, a little acetone for gluing works well.
Once the vacuum former was ready, the custom gelatin treats could begin! Jonny made a mold in the shape of a snowflake, filled the mold with a mixture of gelatin and water, heated and then froze the gelatin in the mold. The next day when he brought in gummy snowflakes to school, they were a big hit with everyone!
Make your own Vacuum former with the files Jonny has made available here.