VACUUM FORMING   is a simple way of shaping plastic into a dimensional part. It's a process of taking flat plastic, heating it up to a pliable state, then stretching it over a solid mold while still hot. The hot plastic seals around the edges then vacuum is applied. Air is sucked out of the voids around the mold to pull the hot and pliable plastic tightly around the shape. It cools quickly, the mold removed and the result is a plastic shape of the mold. The mold is often referred as a buck.


There is a wide variety of things that can be made using a vacuum former. The incentive is to produce multiple and consistent parts without having to invest in expensive tooling. This is very appealing to crafters and hobbyists to produce smaller custom parts. It's another form of 3D printing. The following are examples of commercial applications as well as for crafts and art.