Now you can buy vacuum forming machines through Amazon.com. There are two sizes available: 12" x 12" and 12" x 18". Below are pictures/links to the machines.
The item description for the machine is: Our Table Top Vacuum Former is perfect for small businesses and hobbyists who want to create parts in plastic up to 1/8" thick. Produce intricate shapes with results that rival expensive commercial machines in their incredible accuracy and detail: prototypes, custom packaging, RC car bodies, model rocket nose cones, molds for plaster or concrete, chocolate and candy, candles, and soap making. Our 12"x12" Vacuum former includes a perforated aluminum vacuum platen (the top surface that delivers the vacuum under the hot plastic) that is computer designed and precision CNC machined to maximize air flow and eliminate unnecessary volume - both critical to rapid air evacuation and professional vacuum forming results. Detailed, step-by-step instructions along with sources for vacuum formable plastics are included. Compatible with all types of thermoform plastic: ABS, Acrylic (Plexiglas), Butyrate, PET-G, Polycarbonate (Lexan), Polyethylene, PVC, Styrene, Vinyl, etc. Requires house hold oven and Shop-Vac style vacuum cleaner with 1 1/4" hose/adapter.
Vacuum Forming Explained in 3 Easy Steps: Step #1: Secure your plastic between the vacuum former's metal frames. Attach your Shop-Vac (not included) to the vacuum former. Place your model on top of the perforated aluminum vacuum platen. Step #2: Place the plastic in your kitchen oven and watch as it becomes soft and begins to sag. Align the metal frames with the vacuum former's guides and lower the plastic over your model. Step #3: The hot plastic forms an air tight seal around the vacuum platen's edges. Vacuum pressure pulls the hot plastic down around the model. After cooling for a few seconds the plastic part is complete.
- Make your own prototypes, custom packaging, RC car bodies, or model rocket nose cones
- Create custom molds for plaster or concrete, chocolate and candy, candles, and soap making
- Forms Plastic Sheets 12" x 12" Up to 1/8" Thick (9 3/4" x 9 3/4" Usable Area)
- Includeds detailed, step-by-step instructions along with sources for vacuum formable plastics
- Requires house hold oven and Shop-Vac style vacuum cleaner with 1 1/4" hose/adapter
I think this looks like a higher quality hobby vacuum forming machine than some of the others sold on the market. The box looks to be well made and I particulary like that the platen area is metal. This results in better forming as it will transduce heat better. As for the price, it is very competitive. Other companies that sell inferior products also make you buy plastic with the machine at a very high price. You can buy plastic through many sources on the Internet, such as U.S. Plastics, much cheaper. I recommend using PETG (Vivak) for making chocolate molds.
See The Chocolate Mold Factory.com main pages for more instructions on how to use a vacuum forming machine like this.