An ODST visor vacuum formed in Polystyrene

Pulling a visor in PETG.

PETG visor removed from the buck.

PETG visor fitted in a MK5(B) helmet.

 Vacuum forming is the process of taking a solid model and pulling plastic onto it, commonly used to make visors, but with some work it can be used to build the entire suit. Notably, the Stormtroopers in Star Wars are almost completely made of vacuum formed parts. Like Mold Casting, it takes an existing solid model and creates a plastic copy that is lightweight with good strength. There are many more factors and preparations that need to be considered when vacuum forming, but it generally has a lower cost than Mold Casting.

Procedure[edit | edit source]

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Materials[edit | edit source]

There are many different materials that can be used for a variety of purposes, they are broken into "visor" and "armor" as these are the most common needs for vacuum forming in armoring.

Visor[edit | edit source]

  • Acrylic "Plexiglass" - A hydroscopic transparent plastic. While it is strong and cheap, it is prone to cracking and its hydroscopic properties demand special extra steps in order to vacuum form. It requires the most care to pull correctly, but if it is taken care of and not dropped, it will give the most asthetically attractive appearance for the longest time, making it suitable for regular consumer uses.
  • Polycarbonate "Lexan" - A stronger but more expensive plastic than Acrylic, it is more crack resistant but much easier to scratch. While expensive, it is several times stronger than Acrylic making it ideal for situations where damage to the visor is frequent (like motorcycles), but it tends to look scratched and yellow with time.
  • PETG - A very cheap plastic, it is the same type used to make soda bottles. As such, it crumples easily, tends to be thinner, and picks up imperfections in vacuum bucks easily. It is very good if catching every tiny detail IS the desired effect, but for visors, acrylic and polycarbonate tend to make "smoother" pulls, but PETG is a very easy to use plastic that can get mediocre results without the large amount of time and care acrylic needs to pull correctly.

Armor[edit | edit source]

  • ABS
  • Polystyrene
  • PETG

Tips[edit | edit source]

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A vacuum forming buck with bad draft lines.

A vacuum forming buck made from a cut-out visor.

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