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  • Building a Hot Vacuum Press

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by Avidlistener, Jan 23, 2013.

    1. Avidlistener

      Avidlistener New Member

      Jan 2013
      Likes Received:
      So I'm thinking of actually building this piece of equipment instead of purchasing it for upwards of $6,000, because it doesn't look that complicated. My education lies more along the lines of professional photography and large format archival print making rather than engineering, although my grandfather was an electronics engineer so I have access to pretty much everything (besides CNC machinery) needed to build it. e.g.welding equipment, powder coating stations, C02 Lasers, electronic sheet metal press breaks

      Photos of the current industrystandard:
      ^Too expensive, not big enough, andmade in the UK(expensive to ship)

      Our main use for this is to apply Drytac's Satinex and Matte Artshield Varnishes to inkjet canvas prints. We have somewhat successfully done this using a Hot Roll Laminator that we use for acrylic lamination, but the laminate doesn't fully take to the shape of the canvas. There are little air pockets that are noticeable in the darker colors of the canvas prints. Drytac states on their website that " When provided with adequate dwell time, temperature and pressure, the laminating film will take on the texture of the canvas for a beautiful textured finish." The Dwell Time is obviously our issue here.

      The ideal size for our company/mypersonal work would be 46" x 110" x 5"
      My Questions:
      • Is there some type of kit that I can buy for heating the case to temperatures around 150-300 degrees?(using a regular household OR 240V 50 Amp power source)The temperature, as well as pressure in the case would have to be adjustable and maintainable for up to 10 minutes at a time.
      • Would White Oak Hardwood lacquered with an air tight acrylic coating be suitable for building the case or would the properties of the wood change too much over time and become warped? It doesn't need to have a glass top like the one pictured above, I just need to be able to check the temperature/pressure.
      • What specs and type of vacuum pump would be suitable for a case this size, and is it necessary to disperse the suction evenly throughout the case or would it be fine coming from one hole in the back left corner? the pumps built for the case pictured are made by Gast(http://www.gastmfg.com/)

      Any help/education/suggestions of materials to use would be very appreciated!
      I will gladly provide detailed photos of the process in building this if others are interested.
    3. Steve6br

      Steve6br Member

      Aug 2011
      Likes Received:
      Vacuum forming operation

      Have you thought about laminating the case from epoxy resin and glass fibre cloth? The epoxy will easily stand the temperatures you mention. If you are turned off, you could machine the forming bed from an aluminium filled epoxy sheet available from Axson UK among others. This material is used for vacuum forming moulds so will stand the heat easily, you could heat it using the slab heaters available from RS or using cylindrical cartridge heaters although the slab type should give more even heating.

      There is even an aluminium filled board on the market that is porous so you can oull vacuum through it without having to drill small holes everywhere....

      Any interest?


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