that I have a vacuum table I need a frame to hold the
plastic sheets of Kydex and heat it in the oven (don’t
tell my wife). I looked at using a picture frame or any
other type of frame that would hold the plastic on the
edges, but allow the center to freely hang down once
heated and soft.
Again going back to my plywood supply I made a
cheap but effective double sided picture frame. You can
see in the bottom right photo above the frame sitting on
top of the vacuum table. It clamps down on the plastic
by 8 screws and t-nuts that are mounted around the
now I have my plastic support frame, a vacuum table and
the plugs to mold my plastic on. I start by preheating
the oven to 355 degrees Fahrenheit. Next I cut a 12”
square piece of .060” Kydex and clamp it in the frame.
The vacuum table is set up on my kitchen counter and the
shop vac connected. I place the plaster plugs on the
table so that the holes are visible all around the edges
so it will get a good vacuum seal around the plug.
it is time to heat up the plastic. I place 2 bricks in
the oven to support the frame. Like the pillars of a
bridge I place them 12” apart and then place the Kydex
load frame as a span between them so the plastic can
heat up and sag down.
won’t go into the details of how long to heat the
plastic because there is a great article on the Kydex
website about this. It is located in the Technical
Briefs Section and is the one on Thermoforming.
that the plastic is hot it is time to pull some plastic!
Once the plastic is hot and soft, drape it down on the
table slowly and get it centered. You will see the
plastic start to fall and form around the plugs. Now you
must turn on the vacuum and let it run till it pulls the
entire sheet tight down on the table and plugs.
Here are some photos of the process: