Vacuum forming is an excellent way of making a case, it involves sucking a heated, flexible piece of plastic over a mold to form a desired shape or case.
What is needed when Vac forming
, a major part of the process and there are many variations that are usable. (two are listed below)
is a very simple table to make, I have used this table in the past it has no heat source and it involves heating the plastic on a simple rack in your oven. The guide explains it all even making a mold.
Cost= very low
guide is a very extensive one that explains how to build an awesome table. I recently built this table and it works great. This table has its own heat source suspended above so all you need to do is let go of a few clips, slide the plastic down, and turn on the vacuum.
Cost=kinda expensive but worth it if you plan on making a bunch of cases
Polystyrene is recommended at a thickness of ~.080 centimeters.
I have read that ABS plastic is also usable, it is apparently more brittle and harder to work with though.
, the link has some good prices for styrene if you can't find any just click on the ".080 high impact styrene" thats what you'll be wanting.
Needed to form over, it should look like what you want your case to look like, except be several inches thicker, or else it is a female of the dog species to form over
can be made of
, very simple guide below, yields good result sometimes a little rough but can be sanded when done.
1.make a clay mold of what you want your case to look like (several inches thick no matter what the desired thickness is)
2.cover that clay mold in a plaster cast pretty thick maybe 1/2 an inch
3.once it dries take the clay out, grease up the cast with whatever (vaseline worked best for me)
4.then fill the cast with plaster
5.after that dries (let it dry overnight make sure that it is dry)
6.snap off the edges of the cast with your hands to try and get the cast off of what should be a plaster form of your original clay mold
, Marshalh had this awesome idea I tried it out and loved it. It gives you a very smooth very nice mold, you will need some wood working tools to do this.
1. draw your case design on graph paper to make sure both sides are symmetrical
2. cut out the design with an X-acto knife, but cut out slits near the edges also (then set this aside for a little while)
3. glue together some wood and make sure it is a few inches thick (~2)
4. once it is dry tape your design you cut out earlier onto the wood you just glued together, you should be able to tape it on through the slits you cut near the edges of your design in step #2
5. trace your design onto the wood with a pencil, try to make it as noticeable as possible. then you can remove your design
6. cut the design out of your wood with a band saw
7. bevel the edges with a router to give it a nice rounded feel
8. sand it with some high grit sand paper
before you form over wood make sure that it is well lubed
bondo is used to add things like controls and screen holes to your vacuum formed shell, dkaps portables at www.davesportablesystems.net
have bondo in them
I reccomend a two step bondo proccess
1. start off with bondo marine putty to fill in all of the bigger holes, sand this with lower grit paper
2. go over it with some bondo spot putty for a nice and smooth finish, sand this with very high grit sand paper, i usually go over it with steel wool after i sand it to get it real smooth
to make a simple back to your case
1. trace your case on a sheet of plastic
2. cut as close as you can to what you traced except try and make it slightly larger
3. drill holes where you want to put your screw posts (for screw posts I have used screw posts from the console I have gutted, or wooden dowels)
4. place your screws in the holes you have drilled
5. screw your posts onto them (not to tight) while in the plastic
6. place your back on to see if the screw posts will fit inside
7. heat up your hot glue gun and load glue onto a screw post then put the back on the case again
8. once it dries carefully unscrew the screw from that post and load it up with hot glue or epoxy
9. once that dries loosely put the screw back in the post with your hand, so you can still lift the back off the case and put more glue on the other posts
10. then go crazy with the glue on the other posts, wait for them to dry
11. then carefully take the screws out of them and load them up with hot glue
Now you should have a back that you can screw onto your case, but wait it still should look kinda funky cause it doesn't fit right.
12. once the back is completely secure on your case sand it so it is flush with your case
Any opinions, suggestions, or corrections would be greatly appreciated
Made sticky by request of author and for the forum's benifit. - Sparkfist