The Hive's new VacuForm machine has arrived

See the blog post on the main site. The Hive’s new VacuForm machine has arrived. It is a CentroForm EZForm LV 1827. There are two 1500 watt (3000 watt total) fused 110VAC 15A heaters built into the top. The two power cords should be plugged into separate 15A circuits.The plastic sheet size is 20-14" x 30-1/4" and the forming area is 18" x 27" with 9-11" depth of draw based on mold geometry. Typical forming plastics include styrene and ABS in .020" to .040" and even .090" thicknesses. It came with a formed test sheet example. A starter tool project page has been created on the Wiki [link]. Show up at an upcoming meeting and join the team that will complete the installation and determine the start-up and certification procedures for this new tool. JimD

How exciting! I’d be happy to help set it up and document setup (assuming I have a sitter for my kiddo)

So at maximum space its roughly a little over 3 cubic feet if you have a very large object to form over. Decent bit of room…(thumbs up). With the heaters, maybe a 240V 50 amp circuit ran someplace wouldn’t be a bad thing to have to run it. You could split the 240V in a control cabinet to feed the heaters and vacuum source on a cart perhaps.

itd be really nice to have a 240v 50a circuit somewhere in the hive anyways!

That it would :). Just for some quick reference I was looking on shop vac’s website for the best source of quick and dirty vacuum pressure. Best offering I could tell from them is Listed at a rating of 105 inwc static pressure which translates to 7.72 inHg. That big vacuum pump sitting on the table in the annex is labeled as 120 mbar or 26.38 inHg. So if you want to get the finer details a few storage tanks and a dump valve would do the trick. Not difficult to setup with a hand trigger or foot pedal, just need the parts.

I noticed on facebook there was a decent size air storage tank around 30-35 gal for cheap so drove to Dayton to pick it up. Has two 1 1/2" ports, one 1/2" port and three 1/4" ports so plenty of connection option for a manifold. Could use a good sandblasting and flush with some CLR with an inner coat to freshen it up but otherwise should be a decent storage option for the current setup.


Looks sweet.



Well daaayaaam! That vacuformer’s gonna suck! :slight_smile: :wink:

The potential for great sucking is indeed a possibility. But it doesn’t suck more than this :wink:


Have been working on the tank a bit and have dumped out about an 8th of it’s volume in oil soaked scale, lovely. As I made mention over video feed yesterday the genius operator of this lovely tank decided it was a good idea to drill a half inch hole in the bottom of the tank wall and try to thread the material and use that as a drain instead of the welded bung on the opposite end of the tank. So, I’ve ordered a 1/4" npt bung to weld over the “drain” hole and plug for use. However, due to the accumulation of water that couldn’t be drained because of the pipe nipple installed in the wall, the bottom thickness of metal is now thinner than the minimum thickness required to use with low vacuum. So this tank will need reinforcement rings welded onto the exterior to be usable. Will be some work but rolled angle in various ID’s are available commercially for a reasonable amount. Still, cheaper than buying a new tank with a thick enough wall for the purpose despite the added work.

I'm late to this party but saw the machine yesterday. What exactly are we after to get it working? I saw the note about a vacuum supply but can't tell what we need. I have about a million projects in mind and might be able to help.

We just need 2 things

  1. shop vac for stage one (get lots of air out fast at low pressure)
  2. vacuum pump (pull rest of air out at high pressure)

We have both of these. The vacuum pump is overkill, but, since we don’t have an electron microscope or vacuum deposition chamber, it’ll suit this just fine. The pump is a big orange piston pump under the workbench. Brad was messing with it the other day, seems to be single phase 240V – right Brad?

A tank can be useful in the future, but it’ll work without one for now. Also, I kind of worry about that vacuum tank imploding with such a big pump. If the pump can pull a hard vacuum, I’d rather not screw around…


The orange pump I brought from uc was 240, which was why we weren’t able to use it in our lab. :slight_smile:

It looks like the motor goes down to 120v.
We should pull the instructions off the web. I’ll dig around my files to see if I have anything.

These are the pics I took a while ago.


Sorry this may already have been covered but did this machine come with a silicone rubber sheet to install in the frame to use with smaller sheets of plastic preheated in a toaster oven basically?



i don’t think it did, Kevin… it had a sample sheet, and a single frame, and that’s pretty much it.
I think your idea would work, though, and it should (?) be possible to make a smaller frame to hold smaller sheets… and block off the unused areas of the bed with something… I bet even a sheet of cardboard or luon would help. it wouldn’t be a perfect seal, but it would block a lot of the vaccume effect, right?


I made my gun holster out of the kydex by getting a sheet of hi temp silicone for vaccum forming off ebay. There are some youtube vids showing it and it saved me a ton of money.

I buy silicone baking mats from amazon – same stuff, but cheaper. Just be sure to get the thick ones (there are a few that are 1-2mm or more) otherwise they can be really thin.

For a making smaller sub-frames, I would suggest aluminum channel / sheet & a high temp insulation. Sufficiently thick polyamide tape and / or silicone baking mats. Best not to use something that has fire as its failure mode… Failure mode of polyamide and silicon is stinky goop (at about 300C, which is pretty darn hot).

The autoignition temp of dry wood is as low as 300C, cardboard & other papery materials 250C. I wouldn’t mess around.


Greg converted the heaters to 220V so we don’t have to find separate 110v circuits.

I think we need to get the rest of the stuff needed for the machine together (vacuum source and plastic sheets) and have a “meet the vacuum former” event in the near future. I know we have a 220V vacuum pump but I’m thinking it might be nice to get a small 110v high vac system. I think they are not too expensive.

I’m guessing this will fall under the fablab warden area? Do we have an owner of the equipment? What does help look like?

I sent Jim the list of Vacuums needed when we first approved the votes, I planned on setting everything up once we got confirmation them arrived and we got some plastic sheets. I havent heard anything recently