Vacuum Form Build part One

A Vacuum Form build in pictures (250+) – Part One The Frame

This is a 2′ x 4′ build from Doug’s plans at  I recommend the plans as they are a great compiled source (125+ pages) of practical information on the topic, even if you don’t want to build one it’s everything you would want to know. Also this is the same machine that is used on Myth Busters (theirs is a smaller 2′ x 3′) and if you look close it can be seen in some of the background shoots of the shop area. Most likely built by Jamie.

There are over 250 pictures in this series of 14 articles.  By clicking on any image below the gallery will open allowing next and previous click navigate to the larger view of the images.  All rights reserved.

This project started 7/12/10 – from Proto-Form Construction Plans Downloadable PDF. It took most of 5 months to complete working on and off some weekends and evenings. In addition to the time a number of tools, skills and resources ($) where needed. This is not, repeat, not a project I would recommend if you are not extremely handy and have a fairly well rounded shop of tools already.

These articles are not intended to be building instructions of any sort. The Plans come with excellent instructions and a good deal of background and supporting information, all of which I highly recommend for anyone attempting to build to read. These articles are only provided to show that the project can be built from the plans and to provide helpful insight to those attempting to do so. If you think you are interested in building one, buy and read the plans first. If you still think it is a project you would like to tackle, then proceed.

As you will see in these photos, I made a slight change to the frame design. By making the side frames in two parts, the same vertical ends can be used for a 2×2, 2×3, or 2×4 machine. The lower rails are then made from angle iron cut to whatever length you decide. Initially I did not know what size machine I was going to construct. Not knowing what power was going to be available. So I had the frame welded up in a way that I could make the choice later. I ultimately decided to go big or go home and built the full 2×4.  Side note- a cheap source of very strong angle iron is old bed frames. They can often be picked up for free by the side of the road on moving weekends.

Other variations: This build in not strictly to the plans. I chose a different lift arm and lift frame setup. I chose different top construction, different front panel layout, different selector valve options. The reason for these choices are discussed in the later parts of the series of articles. Not being an authority, defer to Doug and other experts at TK560. TK560 is a very large discussion board for this topic.

At the bottom of each article is a link to the next part of the story. Just click it to continue.