Vaquform is a smart vacuum former designed for prototyping and manufacturing from your desktop.
A vacuum former works by heating and sucking a sheet of plastic onto a mold for quick prototyping. This technology has been used for years for anything from interior refrigerator panels to prop replicas.
Self-described as the “World’s First Digital Desktop Vacuum Former”; it has an integrated user interface with eight heating profiles. When describing the Vaquform, founder John Tan stated:
It goes far beyond the LCD interface. Vaquform brings high-end process control to desktop vacuum forming, turning it into a smart appliance fit for a modern engineering lab, design office, or artist studio.
How Vaquform works: Once you select the heating profile for the type of plastic you are using; the built-in IR probe tracks the temperature of the plastic and automatically turns on the vacuum when it reaches the ideal temperature. The user then pulls down on an ergonomic lever that brings the sheet of heated plastic directly onto the mold.
Vaquform then uses a two-step vacuum process. The first step turns on at a high airflow/low vacuum pressure that removes about 90% of the air under the sheet of plastic. The unit then kicks into the second step; removing the remaining air at about -12.8PSI. This low airflow but high vacuum pressure makes the finished product highly detailed.
This first iteration of the Vaquform gives the user a 9×12 forming area. At the time of writing, the campaign has approximately 20 days left in its Kickstarter and has over doubled the pledging goal. It has an estimated retail price of $899; available less expensive for backers.
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