DIY Sheet press
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We (preciousplasticvienna) are experimenting quite some time now making 300x300x2mm sheets (you can check our instagram for pictures) and now we want to produce bigger plates. (500x500x10mm)
Since that size doesn’t fit our bought 38x38cm sheet press, we will build one ourselves!
The press should:
– produce ~520x520x10mm sheets so that cou can cut off the edges to get 500x500mm output
– have both sides heated so we won’t have to turn it around
– have an exchangeable mold so we don’t have to wait hours inbetween producing plates
– be time efficient (30 mins per sheet at max. would be great!)
– consume at max. 3kW so we don’t need an extra plug (not the most important thing but would be great)
– not cost more than 500€ to build
my drawings: On the first you can see the rough overall design. There will be a carjack mounted on the bottom to build up the desired pressure. It presses together the two heated sides of the press.
On the upper right of the second picture you can see my idea of the heating. the small circles are short rings of a metal tube that are welded onto the base plate. Onto these rings wwe want to mount the heating coils that are used for injection and extrusion too. We are well aware this is not the most energy-efficient design, however it is the most doable and budget-friendly one we could find. We will compensate that with using good insulation.
On the third picture on top you can see the guiding of the heated moveable plate, we are not so sure whether we really want to include this since it is a big source of problems because of the small tolerance.
On the bottom right of picture #3 you can see the cross section of the mold for the sheet and on the bottom left holes in the base of the mold in order to get the sheet out after molding.
We will begin shopping for parts shortly and are happy about any feedback/ideas/suggestions etc.!
All the best
Make sure that the bottom side is sturdy so the pressure will be equal, so the car jack (with one pressure point) will not bend the bottom.
– We bought 32 heating elements, they already arrived.
– 2 Temperature PIDs (same as Injection & Exdruder & Compression) will arrive tomorrow
– Metal plates are on their way too.
Still need to get:
– square metal pipes
– on/off switch
– electronics box
– spray paint for some color 😛
– a mold…
Will keep you updated!
i would suggest using 4 carjacks , one in each corner, to limit the instability of the platform, and their cranks should be connected to each other so that one single crank can be used to lift and lower them simultaneously
Hey probably a bit late but I had a thought that might help. This is an idea I want to make for myself but I want to share and get your thoughts on the subject. Basically for larger sheets I’m going to use an old pallet jack, hydraulic ram under the hand mechanism lifts two long steel reinforced tynes parallel to the surface on which it sits. But also has 2 bottle screw jacks in between. This will give you 3 different configurations you can press 2 smaller sheets at once, or alternate to allow for mold changes. Or press one massive sheet. If designed properly you could probably do all 3 at once. Love to know your thoughts.
@flo-2 Great to see you working on a sheet press. I have also been doing my preliminary reserach before I start to build
1. Distance between heaters is crucial so you dont get hotspots or coldspots. Look for radiant distance between them for optimizing heater placement.
2. Insulating the press for heat loss during the cooking phase.
3. I spoke to a plastics veteran and showed him the plans for the press done by @markbertbach he went with heating to a liquid first in the oven and then pressing as a process that would work without drawing too much power, if you want to limit power consumption. If you want the speckle pattern then this method will not work.
I think the sheet press is the holy Grail for us in the community because it will allow us to make anything.
I’m working on press that will allow 1200mm x 2400mm
hope this helps
– Planning for mold & press complete
– Temperature PIDs arrived
– Heating elements arrived
– Metal plates arrived
– Square metal pipes should arrive soon
Will keep you updated!
This looks fantastic. Any progress in the past few months?
@nickchomey hell yeah we’ve got updates! Thanks for the reminder! 😉
The baseframe of our machine has been welded, and we named it “Biggie”.
We changed mind about the carjack and installed a 5 ton load carjack instead of a 1 ton one… Let’s see how that works.
– Weld heating element pipes to the heating plate
– Connect the electronics
– small fixes and changes
We hope and estimate to have Biggie up and running early this August.
All the best
How many band heaters have you got there, 32? How many watts each?
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