P17676: Vacuum Former

Problem Definition

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Problem Definition Phase

Our team has been working towards defining our project goals. We planned on defining our project parameters, and to be ready to begin design by the end of our first review.

So far, we have defined ranges for most of our important parameters. Many of our more specific design specifications cannot be fully defined until we know what funding we will have to work with.

Project Summary

A Vacuum Former is a machine that allows a plastic mold to be created from an object quickly and at a relatively low cost. A plastic sheet is heated on a frame and softened, then lowered over an object and a vacuum underneath draws the plastic in, where it forms tightly around the object, cools, and becomes solid. Cheap, homemade, small-scale and expensive, industrial, large-scale vacuum formers exist, but an affordable but moderate-sized machine is desired to meet our customers needs. The Industrial Design Department has a small-scale former, but can only handle up to 24”x24”x1/8” thick material.

The goal of this project is to analyze and comprehend the process and components involved in vacuum forming, and design (and possibly innovate those concepts) onto a moderately sized version of a vacuum former with a 4’x4’ forming area. This machine should have the forming capabilities of existing vacuum formers while still being affordable, operationally consistent, and easy and safe to operate. The expected end result is a medium scale vacuum former that allows students to make molded plastic parts and plastic molds for casting. The scope includes fully designing the machine and creating the largest scale-prototype possible within the production budget.

Project Goals and Key Deliverables

The goal of this project is to have a working vacuum former for use in the construct. We plan to make it as close to a 4'X4' forming space as possible based on budget constraints.

Use Cases

Use Case

Customer Requirements

Engineering Requirements

House of Quality

House Of Quality


Risk Management

risk management

Design Review Materials

Problem Definition Review Agenda

Plans for next phase

gantt chart

Three Week Plan

Home | Planning & Execution | Imagine RIT

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