General Vacuumforming

February 3, 2017

What is Vacuum Forming?

Vacuum forming is seen as an easier form of thermoforming. The method consists of heating a sheet of plastic (usually thermoplastics) to what we call a ‘forming temperature’. The sheets of thermoplastics are then stretched out over a mould, the sheet then being forced against a vacuum and sucked into the mould.

This form of thermoforming is mainly popular due to its low cost, ease in tooling and efficiency/swiftness when on a quick turnaround for creating particular shapes and objects. It is also often the method used when wanting to achieve shapes similar to boxes and/or dishes.

Vacuum Forming Thermoplastic - Talbot Designs

Vacuum Forming with Talbot Designs

Talbot Designs are able to manufacture high quantity and cost-effective moulded shapes, using our computer controlled vacuum forming machines. With a bed size of up to 70″ x 46″ and a draw depth of 14″+, we are able to cope with a very varied range of different shaped and sized mouldings. We use all the thermoplastics available to produce components to our clients’ exacting standards, with the latest materials and advances in vacuum thermoforming to provide an outstanding result, time after time. Even in cases of completely custom vacuum forming, Talbot Designs can help you.

Vacuum Forming

We have an in-house tooling and assembly department, where we can monitor quality throughout the whole vacuum thermoforming process. We also have modern trimming band saws allowing for cost-effective finishing of the moulded plastic, once the plastic vacuum forming is complete.

Talbot Designs can make one-off samples, or set up for long production runs of plastic vacuum forming. The process of heating a flat sheet and vacuuming over a 3D shape allows us to create an almost endless variety of moulded shapes. We can advise you as to the suitability of the shape for vacuum forming so please call us with any queries.

Vacuum thermoforming is one of the most diverse and versatile plastic fabrication techniques, providing you with almost endless options. If you are interested in custom vacuum forming, don’t hesitate to call us on 020 8346 8515 or visit our Contact Page.


  • How does vacuum forming work?

Vacuum forming sounds complicated; however, it helps to think of it as just a method of transformation – a way of turning a plastic sheet into a multi-dimensional item or product.

The process can be broken down into three simple steps. Firstly, a sheet of plastic is heated until it becomes soft and pliable and then draped over a mould. Secondly, a low-pressure vacuum is applied, sucking in the plastic and forcing it against the mould. Finally, the plastic is cooled and set in place and it is subsequently trimmed to create the desired shape. Most thermoplastics can be utilised in this process and a diverse range of products can be made.

One of the main advantages of the vacuum forming process is its cost-effectiveness. Compared to other plastic fabrication techniques, large quantities of a product can be made in a short period of time and relatively inexpensive materials – such as acrylic, polyethylene, and polycarbonate – are typically used.

Equipment costs are also substantially less; yet, despite these savings, the products created are high-quality, durable, weather-resistant and still look great.

A further advantage of vacuum forming is the endless possibilities that it provides. It doesn’t matter what size or shape of item you have in mind. Whether you need large quantities of a simple product or a one-off complex design, the chances are, it can be made via the vacuum forming process.

  • Are there restrictions on size with Vacuum Forming?

At Talbot Designs we have vacuum forming machines with a width and length of 70” x 46”, plus a draw depth of 14” and upwards. With this much varied space to use, it is unlikely that our services at Talbot Designs won’t be of use to you. We are able to play around with any design you may have and ensure that your vacuum forming is done to a high standard, resulting with the exact product that you need.

  • What kind of items can be made through Vacuum Forming?

Vacuum forming is actually responsible for the creation of many more plastic products than you expect. The process of vacuum forming tends to be used for making everyday items that you yourself may constantly be around. Food trays. Office parts. Dashboards. Children’s toys. Bath seats. Door panels. Perfume display trays. Engine Covers. Garden equipment. These are just a small variety of many plastic items that can be created through vacuum forming by Talbot Designs.

  • Is Vacuum Forming better than Pressure Forming?

If looking for a process that will get the job done quicker, then yes. Vacuum forming may not go into as much detail as the process of pressure forming, but items will be created for you in record timing. This will not affect anything to do with size as well. Even if the item is of a huge size, vacuum forming still allows for the job to be done quickly and to a brilliant standard.

  • Is Vacuum Forming cost-effective?

Vacuum forming is actually seen as one of the most cost-effective processes to produce plastic items, both for companies and customers. This is mainly down to the fact that the tooling involved is low in terms of cost compared to the tooling involved in other plastic forming processes. The process of vacuum forming does not always require the most sophisticated tooling, even with moulds involved tending to be quite inexpensive. In turn, customers get to buy equally inexpensive plastic parts.

  • Why use Talbot Designs for your Vacuum Forming?

Talbot Designs have been in the business for 70 years and are now professionals in the process of vacuum forming. At Talbot Designs we handle everything for you with our in-house tooling and assembly department, enabling us to quality control every step of the process to making your bespoke plastic items. The possibilities are endless with vacuum forming here at Talbot Designs; heating thermoplastics upon a 3D mould of the plastic’s eventual shape means we can design you anything!