Customs: Vacuum Forming for the purpose of recreating or modifying Blister Packaging.

Discussion in 'Creative General Discussion' started by gaetz, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. gaetz

    gaetz Gaetz

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    I will do my best to keep this short and provide links at the bottom to allow you to critique my research.

    So, in this moment of curiosity a few questions came to mind.

    1.
    I was curious about how bubbleformers.com re/created there blister packaging. Not to say what i'm going to explain below is how they do it.

    2.
    Is it something that can be a DIY project?

    3.
    If so, can an existing blister be modified for custom toys or those that pre-exist?

    So I started to do some research. Where I discovered Vacuumforming.
    A muliti step process. First, heating a sheet of thermoplastic so as to be maluable. Then placing the thermoplastic on a specially constructed box. This box will hold your mold, aswell as allow for the suction of air (via a shop vac or equvialant). In order for the plastic to take form around the desired mold. My research has implied that such a system could be constructed for less then $50 with some currently owned house hold items, and others from office supply/hardware stores.

    At this point I can concluded that 1. Items like those created by bubbleformers are made by a process similar to Vacuumforming. 2. This is a project that can be DIY. It can be done economical, depending on your project scale. However, this did lead me to search out what type of thermoplastics meet all the clarity, thickness and economical requirements that i'm personally looking for.

    I started out looking at medical grade PVC to a dozen or so other types of clear plastics. I concluded for economical reasons PET/PETG(polyester) would be the best choice.

    Its a thermoplastic, avaliable in .020'' clear sheets or rolls. The .020'' was determined to be the thickness of a standard plastic packaging for a reissue g1 starscream. However, depending on the site you go to, you can get it in thickness as thin as .002 or as thick as .5''. I recomend shopping around, as you may want something thinner or thicker. Additionally, i've discovered that the prices range from one site to another can be drastically differnt. Ex: 1 site wants $195 that another site wants well over $800 for the Same grade, thickness, clarity etc.

    In regards to my third question, I believe that the answer is yes. It just comes down to a matter of making the mold. The majority of G1 blister packaging should be the easiest. Implying you can barrow one. I make this claim on the belief/idea that most g1 blisters have no pockets for air to get traped. So as to allow all the air to be suctioned out. However, most newer transformer packaging i've come accross contains valleys and dips that could prevent the escape of all the air. If this is true, it would required modification to the mold. Again to allow the escape of the undesired air.

    On a side note the same method could/can be applied to clamshell packaging if so desired.



    As promised, here are a few of the Sites I visted in order to arrive at my conclusion.

    Best Price I could find it at:
    PETG - PETG Sheet - Order Online Here

    Determination of Thickness of blister Packaging:
    Clamshells and Blister Packaging for Retail, Industrial and Electronic Applications

    Youtube video demonstraiting Forming Process as well as required tempture
    for PETG and other helpful information:
    YouTube - PLASTIC FORMING (PETG)

    Other information about PET/PETG:
    The Basic Information About Mylar Sheets - Free Online Library
    Mylar®, Plastic Sheet, Polyester Film Sheet and Sheet Properties - Grafix Plastics

    Other information about Thermoforming and blister packaging:
    Archive January ┬╗ blisternews.com


    My own plans are as followed:
    I will be making a molding of both parts of the blister packaging of a reissue g1 starscream. The molding Material is very expensive, Platinum Silicone. After the molds are finished, I will then drill several 18 gauge holes in the mold. The holes drilled at the low points will allow for the air to escape. Sadly, the thermoplastic casting will not be a perfect match due to the holes. Since I'm still waiting for the silicone to arrive I have yet to test this out.

    Due to the type of silicone and its flexablities i'm hoping that it will later beable to be used in more complex castings.

    I hope this helps others out there go crazy with there dreams to create there own customs from toy to packaging.

    Thanks for Listening
     
  2. Bigbot3030

    Bigbot3030 Well-Known Member

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    I've done some vacuforming in school. It's pretty fun. And if you were just wanting to make packaging, your set up wouldn't have to be that big.
    However, I have never used silicone molding material for vacuum forming. I have alwyas created a buck out of wood or foam, and then coat it to make the surface nice and smooth.
    Why use silicone? are you thinking you are going to pour that into the original packaging to get a buck? becasue you could get those same results with plaster, and it's a whole hell of alot cheaper. the plaster would take some more finishing, but will save you money.

    Randy!
     
  3. gaetz

    gaetz Gaetz

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    It seems to be the laziest/easiest option. Especially since the silicone is so flexable. I can just pop the casting off. I've used this type of silicone just a bit for making moldings for other parts and it works perfectly.

    I think i'm lossing something with the meaning of Buck. I've tried to google it, but all i'm getting are the refernces I already know, Money, Poker, Deer etc. In this case does buck mean something along the lines of a Master Die/Mold?

    If so then yes. I've placed the original packaging upside down and built a lego support as a wall. So that when I do get the silicone I can pour it and it won't push out the sides of the original. I also plan on using a few fillers, so I don't use up so much of the silicone, but hopfully wont deminish its flexablity.

    If your really intrested in knowing more about what i'm doing, Bigbot feel free to pm me. I would enjoy discussing it with someone. I just don't want to go into to much detail and detract from what this tread is all about.
     
  4. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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  5. Bigbot3030

    Bigbot3030 Well-Known Member

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    To me a "plug" and "Buck" are the same thing. I guess they do have different applications, so I may have not used the correct term.

    I was just throwing ideas and questions out into the thread for everyone to read. Knowing the different ways or process' seems to help people understand the way they want to do something similair. There's always more than one way to do things.

    Silicone would totally work, and woudl be better if there were any undercuts, or crazy shapes, like most of the modern packaging. In my experience however, you need to have those vents or holes in those edges to allow to plastic to form around the shapes. It'll pull just fine at the bottom, but sometimes the top needs it to.

    Randy!
     

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