In 1984 I wanted to build a 1/32 scale Corsair, but there was no kit and I had no experience in what they called “scratch-building,” including “vac-u-forming” parts. In fact, I had no idea what “vac-u-forming” ment.
I was told to build a box and put a screen over the top and a hole in one of the side’s for my household sweeper to fit into. I could build a box ’cause I use to build houses and knew a great deal about making things out of wood.
After the box was made I lined the top with some aluminum screen that I bought at a local junk yard in San Jose, California. Then I placed a row of soft black stuff that I got at a local NAPA auto parts store. I made a couple of open wooden frame items to hold the vac plastic in, so I could heat them over a new 2-slice toaster.
Attach your sweeper to the box and turn it on before you start to heat the plastic. I burned my fingers the first time I held the frame over the toaster, so I put a couple of aluminum bars on the toaster and set the frame on them.
Now comes the “experimental” segment of vac-u-forming the special type of “K & S” plastic. How long do you keep the frame & plastic on the toaster? As the heat comes up out of the toaster the plastic get hot and starts to sink down toward the toaster, but then it starts to come back up real fast. Now what do you do next? If you leave the plastic there, bubbles will form in the plastic and holes will appear real fast and ruin the plastic. After ruining a few pieces of plastic, you learn real fast how to take the plastic off the toaster and slam it down on you vac box that has the item on it that you want to make a part. For me it was only airplane windscreens and canopies.
I made plaster molds using ordinary household “Plaster of Paris.” I applied masking tape to my clear parts so I could cut off the excess plastic. I had to sand the insides of my windscreens and canopies and polish them with my “Blue Magic” polishing cream. They were mask off and the frame lines were painted on. Most times I attach the w/screens with ordinary Future Floor Wax.
Now it’s your turn to make a “vac” box and experiment making some parts.
In my next story I’ll show some of my model building tools.
If you ask any questions, PLEASE write your first name down and the country you live in as I don’t like to answer what I call “Blank” emails.
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.