Unlike desktop 3D printers, which have only grown more connected and technologically advanced over the past few years, vacuum forming has remained somewhat Lo-Fi—oftentimes consisting of a homemade jig hooked up to a shop vac. But what if desktop vacuum forming finally got smart? It would probably look a whole lot like the Vaquform, which bills itself as “The World’s First Digital Desktop Vaccum Former”.
But what exactly makes a vacuum former “digital”? According to Vaquform, Inc., the digital integrations go far beyond the machine’s LCD interface.
The Vaquform is the first thermoformer that has preset heating profiles and an IR probe to monitor different types and thicknesses of plastic materials including specific temperatures so as to not waste material. Once a material has hit its ideal temperature, the machine alerts the user and automatically turns on the vacuum to begin the forming process.
Using a hybrid vacuum system, the Vaquform first uses a low-pressure, high-speed vacuum to rapidly suck out the majority of the air, followed by a slower but more powerful vacuum to help mold the plastic more closely against tight details.
Having raised nearly $200K with an original goal of $60K, it’s clear that the Vaquform team just might be on to something here. While the Early Bird Kickstarter specials have already sold out at a price of $539, those who manage to get in before the campaign ends on March 13th can still swipe one for $645.
Find out more over at Kickstarter.