Vacuum Thermoforming device for your household
Szwarc Design creates and designs products not only for its customers but also for their own experimental projects. One such project was a device for thermoforming plastics. This process involves heating the material above the softening temperature, and then it is applied to the die and suction the air out so that it thoroughly fills it.
Our actions in the case of the device above should be described as comprehensive, since we started to deal with everything from scratch. We developed not only the product?s appearance, but also the manner of its operation. We designed the electronics, as well as we did the realization of the prototype and its visual communication. The biggest challenge in this project was to transfer technology used so far only in industry, to the benefit of an individual customer. The device provides the possibility of making plastic products at home. It is aimed at hobbyists, jewelers, small design studios. It can also serve as an educational tool, e.g. for technical universities, because it shows the process of thermoforming. Moreover, it can be used by even micro-entrepreneurs, using it for the production of casing products and plastic packaging.
Many of implementations, similarly to the thermoforming device, pose a challenge which is to create a possibly most ergonomic device. In the case of this project, we had to take care of the safety of working at high temperatures and making it as simple as possible by providing intuitive use and reducing the steps necessary in the process of creating thermoformed materials. One of our main goals was the mobility and ease of storage, which is why we put the device into the form of a laptop or suitcase. It is divided into three zones: heating (with IR illuminators, marked in the warning red), the control with a touch screen and a temperature table for different materials and thicknesses, and vacuum ? where the so-called air exhaust takes place (provided by a connected vacuum cleaner). The whole device is surrounded by a frame with handles, in which the plastic is moved between the heating zone and the vacuum.
The creation of the unit required building a number of functional prototypes. The final product is partly an alternative to 3D printers, although a more accurate statement is that it supplements their action. The result of our work is an ergonomic and easy to use device for thermoforming at home.