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Old 06-07-2014, 05:36 AM   #1
rarepartbuilder OP
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vacuum forming:best plastic for bike parts ??

Hi Folks
Calling in the plastic experts here!
I am building a vacuum forming unit that will max accept 24" square plastic sheets..a simple 2d cad drawing is done for the build along with procurement of cylinders and vacuum pumps ...prebuild of many parts is already completed . ..the ecd is next farkle season when the cold will freeze the b@ll$ off a moose.
I'm tired of looking at windshield and replacement parts 5000 % higher priced than the material costs..
Right now i am only thinking about 2 things... bike windshield designs and replacement side panels/fairings. The windshield materials is a no brainer.. the side panels /fairings i want to make robust like the older trail bikes..none of that crotch rocket plastic {profanity }that cracks so easily...but seems to be showing up on the newer dual sport bikes...

I don't mind researching materials but it would be nice to get some inmate input on some materials thats some combination between robust and cost effective...and has some repair hope if a bike takes a nap.

thanks
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:55 PM   #2
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The stock plastics probably have a stamp from the mold stating the material they are made of. I'd start there. Other than that, LDPE, or UHMWPE would be my first guesses, but I'm not sure how the UHMWPE vacuum forms.

As far as repairing it goes, that's a tough problem. It seems like nothing will glue modern plastics, you either have to chemically dissolve/weld or heat weld them back together.
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:21 PM   #3
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ABS. It's one of the Honey Badgers of plastic.
Glue together with ABS glue or weld with plastic welding setup.
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Old 06-12-2014, 05:42 PM   #4
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I have made snowmobile ski skins out of HDPE, snowmobile skid plates and bike side panels out of copolymer. Not Sure It It Is The Best Material, It Is What I had and not worked well.
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Old 06-13-2014, 07:50 AM   #5
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Starboard or Seaboard are easy to hot form.
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Old 06-16-2014, 03:41 PM   #6
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You have to consider the properties you want the final part to have.

Rigidity, clarity, abrasion resistance etc.

Another aspect is how the plastic acts in terms of shatter resistance when cold.

I'll have to check out starboard - hadn't thought about heat cooking it.
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Old 06-17-2014, 07:31 AM   #7
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I'm no expert, but after searching for a few days I decided to use ABS.

Here's a skid plate I thermoformed out of 1/4" ABS..





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Old 06-17-2014, 04:10 PM   #8
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this is good info!

oh cool... thanks tirebiter ..If i make replacement fairings from the abs... what about painting it? Im thinking of abs pipe in houses that accidently had paint rubbed or spilled on it... gotta sand it to get it off!

How long did you have to cycle the heat over the 1/4" abs?
did the plastic fumes get to the point where an exhaust fan was needed?
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Old 06-17-2014, 04:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rarepartbuilder View Post
oh cool... thanks tirebiter ..If i make replacement fairings from the abs... what about painting it? Im thinking of abs pipe in houses that accidently had paint rubbed or spilled on it... gotta sand it to get it off!

How long did you have to cycle the heat over the 1/4" abs?
did the plastic fumes get to the point where an exhaust fan was needed?
I took the top off an old electric kiln and laid the form on top, took about 10 min for the ABS to sag, heat was approx. 275 deg f.
I did it outside and yes it stank enough to get the neighbors interested..
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Old 06-17-2014, 05:54 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by tirebiter View Post
I took the top off an old electric kiln and laid the form on top, took about 10 min for the ABS to sag, heat was approx. 275 deg f.
I did it outside and yes it stank enough to get the neighbors interested..
I've bought two ceiling mount infrared heaters to start out with..

thanks for the input
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Old 06-17-2014, 06:02 PM   #11
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Poisonous fumes.
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Old 06-17-2014, 08:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rarepartbuilder View Post
I've bought two ceiling mount infrared heaters to start out with..

thanks for the input
Did you search homemade thermoforming?
There's lots of different ways to contain heat, and if your plans are celling mount infras, I hope you plan on building some sort of maneuverable, quick opening box to contain that heat. They can get real hot in a flash and it's essential that your able to shut down the whole process if necessary.
I've read your other threads, and I must say- You, sir, are a master of detail.
My gut feeling?
I sense that some time in the near future ABS will replace all them clinkers....

Fluke thermos are your friend


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Old 06-18-2014, 03:16 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tirebiter View Post
Did you search homemade thermoforming?
There's lots of different ways to contain heat, and if your plans are celling mount infras, I hope you plan on building some sort of maneuverable, quick opening box to contain that heat. They can get real hot in a flash and it's essential that your able to shut down the whole process if necessary.
I've read your other threads, and I must say- You, sir, are a master of detail.
My gut feeling?
I sense that some time in the near future ABS will replace all them clinkers....

Fluke thermos are your friend

thanks for the tips and kind words. The vacuum forming build next biking off season will be well documented . i'll probably start a separate thread so some fellow inmates may also take the plunge and quit getting screwed by replacement parts cost. Tooling/models for the vacuum form shapes will likely start out using auto body fill or something similar until i find the best casting plastics etc...

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Old 06-18-2014, 07:29 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rarepartbuilder View Post
thanks for the tips and kind words. The vacuum forming build next biking off season will be well documented . i'll probably start a separate thread so some fellow inmates may also take the plunge and quit getting screwed by replacement parts cost. Tooling/models for the vacuum form shapes will likely start out using auto body fill or something similar until i find the best casting plastics etc...

Yeah, the price they want for a plastic skid plate is what got me started.
It's funny you should mention body filler, my buddy mentioned using it yesterday. I used plaster the first time, took forever (Two weeks!) before it was dry enough to sand, and was destroyed during separation from the ABS.

I mocked up a rough template out of 22ga steel, used chain wax as a mold release- worked perfect.




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Old 06-18-2014, 10:27 AM   #15
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the stuff that replaced plaster is hydrocal it dries more like cement {reminds me of durabond 90 used on home/crackfilling . In fact there is a 2 part plastic you can buy now that you paint on like gel coat then pour hydrocal onto the sticky plastic to make a plastic face cast.

HERE is a site that you can sign up and get free product use demos .. it's worth checking out.
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