P19415: Vacuum Former for Haiti

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation

Table of Contents

Your website should document your journey through MSD, so include work-in-progress as well as latest results. Use pdf's for display whenever possible so that information is easily viewable without the need to download files and open applications. (Your EDGE file repository should still contain original editable files).

Team Vision for Final Demo and Handoff


Test Results Summary

Summarize test results and assess effectiveness of test plans to unambiguously demonstrate satisfaction of the engineering requirements. Include photos and videos as appropriate

Inputs & Source

Once the vacuum forming unit was deemed operational, true testing could begin. The only purpose behind these tests was to debug the operation of the machine and determine how many operators would be recommended to effectively complete a production run. Debugging came in a few different forms. First, we realized that there was no need to have as much distance between the suspended plastic sheet and the vacuum box. As long as the mold could fit under the plastic when it was at its highest point, there was enough distance. Additionally, less travel means less work for the operators which, in the long run, is more ergonomical. Next, testing was done to see which type of plastic would best serve our purposes, both the thickness and the material. We tested using 1/16", 1/8", 3/16" and we alternated between using HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) and ABS. 1/16" plastic was by far the easiest to form. It took the least amount of time to heat and captured the most detail from the molds we were using, however, it did lack some rigidity. The 3/16" had plenty of rigidity, but took much longer to heat up, cool down, and did not hold as much detail. It also had a tendency to "pull off" from the mold as it cooled. ABS had a tighter window for forming time, so that was also ruled out. We ended up deciding that 1/8" HIPS would best suit our needs with a good balance between heating time and rigidity. We also determined that the time to heat a 1/8" sheet is about the same as it takes to pump down the two vacuum tanks, resulting in a smoother production flow (the vacuum pump and heater can simply be turned on at the same time). Once we had the unit running smoothly and consistently, the played around with the number of operators required to run the machine. Although it is very possible to operate the system with two people, it is much less stressful and poses less of a risk if three people are there to help.

Outputs & Destination

Our final product is a trimmed down version of the unit constructed two years ago with some minor adjustments and improvements. It is also much easier to use because of its reduced size and gliders that were used to hold the plastic sheets. Not only does our final product have a good outward appearance, it is also extremely functional and produces repeatable, quality parts. This was demonstrated successfully at Imagine RIT where over eighty tiger masks were formed and distributed.

Risk and Problem Tracking

Risk Management

No new risks were identified during this phase. The full risk management document can be found at the Risk Management.

Problem Tracking

The final Problem tracking sheet is shown below and can be found on the Problem Tracking page.
Final Problem Tracking

Final Problem Tracking

Final Project Documentation


The following images are on the heater's old heat shields but are not no the vacuum former. New stickers can be order from Daniel Stewart at danielstewart@gasfiredproducts.com
Heater Warnings

Heater Warnings

Heater Operation Requirements and Instructions

Heater Operation Requirements and Instructions

Heater Electrical Diagram

Heater Electrical Diagram

Plans for Wrap-up

As a team, we have successfully completed our task of building a functional vacuum former that can be shipped down to Haiti. There is really only one task remaining, which is to disassemble the unit one final time in order to prepare it to be shipped. The only other job that still needs to be completed is printing out a copy of the Assembly and Operation instructions.

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