Vacuum Former (oz14905)


Vacuum Former (oz14905) by John Jennings 2017 - plan thumbnail

About this Plan

Vacuum Former (MAN article title: "How to Vacuum Form: A fast, easy method!").

Quote: "Mary, Here is a construction article [and drawings] for a cheap, quick and effective vacuum former. I do not know if y’all have any interest in this kind of article. If you do, this is my design and article and you have my permission to post it on your Outerzone site."

Direct submission to Outerzone.

Quote: "DIY Vacuum-Forming Machine. You know all those models you wanted to build, but did not attempt because they required a vacuum formed canopy? You remember reading about all manner of complicated vacuum formers that took a month to build and cost as much as a seven channel transmitter? Got $20.00 for materials, a few hand tools and an afternoon? Then it is about time you started vacuum forming!

Get the vacuum cleaner with a hose from your home closet. If you can turn the vacuum cleaner on, put your hand over the end of the hose and it sticks to your hand, you are in business. If not, you either need a new vacuum cleaner or to change the bag. No, your shop vac will not do. It does not have the needed suction...

You need to decide how big an item you are likely to want to vacuum form. I build peanut scale and up to about 30 in wing span models. If you build much larger models, you can easily make some changes to this design or consider making your canopy in two pieces.

I made my plenum to use the 12 in picnic plates as a cheap, readily available source of plastic. You can easily make your plenum larger. There are plenty of large sheets of .02 - .03 in thick PET G plastic, that is great for vacuum forming clear canopies, available from Amazon.

If you want larger canopies, or other vacuum formed parts, build a larger plenum and plastic holder. It will still work, but you just left the $20.00 materiel territory and are on your own!

Except for a place to plug in the vacuum cleaner hose, there is no point in building a box to just have to suck all the air out of, before the forming starts. You will be plugging the hose into the part of the bottom of the plenum that hangs over the edge of the table. It does not appear to make any difference whether you plug the hose into the center or the corner of the plenum. What air there is, is evacuated very quickly and the forming is done in a split second. The two 4 inch C-clamps hold the plenum in position on the table or counter edge..."

Supplementary file notes

Planfile includes article.


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Vacuum Former (oz14905) by John Jennings 2017 - model pic

  • (oz14905)
    Vacuum Former
    by John Jennings
    from Model Airplane News
    clean :)
    all formers complete :)
    got article :)
  • Submitted: 28/10/2023
    Filesize: 462KB
    Format: • PDFbitmap
    Credit*: JohnJennings
    Downloads: 1422

Vacuum Former (oz14905) by John Jennings 2017 - pic 003.jpg
Vacuum Former (oz14905) by John Jennings 2017 - pic 004.jpg

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User comments

This is interesting. Looking at the numbers - almost 600 downloads on the the first day - this article / drawing is a very popular submission. I wonder, what other drawings are out there, for 'extras' like this?
SteveWMD - 05/11/2023
Ah, but many magazines have over the years published a sizable number of pages dedicated to "tips & tricks", in one form or another.
Late lamented RCM even published a series of thick books collecting these "For What It's Worth" pages which, alas, are to be found no more. Except for one lonely volume in the RCLibrary *.
* Who?
Miguel - 06/11/2023
Hi Miguel,
the book "For What It's Worth" edited by Don Dewey can be downloaded at
Greetings Martin
Martin Huebner - 07/11/2023
Thank you, Martin, and I see the Gruppo Falchi have quite a good library of dowloadable books at
I don't know who invented this vacuum-forming process, but it can give great results. This is a good article. Your good results will come from a well built box etc, and patiently made plugs. "Where did I buy those? Nowhere, I did them myself."
Miguel - 07/11/2023
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