The majority of thermoplastics may be used. They must be in sheet form (sheet or rolls).
They may be made of the following materials
- Aluminium: Undefined life cycle. For long series. Provides good finish for parts.
- Resin: Prototype phase. Short series.
- Wood: Practically in disuse today. Samples or short series.
Consists of the following steps:
- Board extrusion
- Placement of board on the mould
- Moulding by applying vacuum
- The mould is placed in the thermoforming machine.
- A plastic sheet (for example, ABS) is placed on the mould.
- The plastic sheet is heated until it softens.
- Vacuum pressure is applied, and this removes all of the air under the plastic. The atmospheric pressure on the plastic makes it adapt to the mould.
- With an internal mould cooling circuit and fans, the plastic is cooled. Once sufficiently cooled, the vacuum is turned off.
- Removal from mould
- The plastic is removed from the moulding machine. The sheet has taken on the desired shape.
- Excess plastic is removed, and the part remains clean.