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VACUUM-PUMP-GRAY


Step 3 | vacuum
forming

This is how our forming station is set up.   To form holsters, EagleWorks uses a bladderless vacuum table. Our forming table is a leftover piece of engineered stone with a hole drilled in the middle, and suspended in a wooden frame.  There’s a vacuum line run between the table and the vacuum pump.  This very simple and inexpensive table has formed thousands of holsters.

At this forming station, we use also the following items:

  • An 8 CFM vacuum pump—no surge tank required with our setup.
  • We also have a vacuum gauge plumbed into the vacuum line.  Keeping an eye on this gauge can tell you if you have a vacuum leak somewhere.
  • Compressed air, can be really handy for cooling the Kydex significantly quicker.
  • You’ll want some heat resistant gloves to transfer the hot Kydex from the heat press to the forming station
  • You’ll need some type of frame sized to work with the cuts of Kydex you normally use. The specs for building this forming frame are included with the text to the right,
  • And finally we use a tray of water to keep the molds cool in between uses.  In this video, we’ll complete a production run of several holsters.

We place a small snip of wire on the surface of the vacuum table to keep the mold from blocking the vacuum port on the table.

Place the mold over the wire in the center of the table—remove the heated Kydex and center it over the mold.

Place the frame making sure the edges of the Kydex are enclosed by the frame and turn on the vacuum pump.

Because we will be making several holsters, while one holster shell cools on the vacuum  table, another sheet of Kydex is placed into the heat press.

Compressed air is used to speed up the cooling of the holster shell.

If you have a gauge, as soon as the vacuum starts to drop off, you’re ready to turn the pump off and separate your shell from the mold.

Remove the frame and release the mold by gently prying on one corner.  Drop the mold into the water bath, and place the shell on a flat surface to finish cooling.

In this production run, several shells will be formed using the same mold.  This process repeats until all the holsters in your production run have been formed.

The limiting factor for speed is the time it takes the Kydex to heat up.  In our shop, that’s 110 seconds, so a holster can be formed every 110 seconds

When the run is finished, the mold goes back into storage.

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