Thermoforming Quarterly is a journal published quarterly by the Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers. The magazine is a great way to keep up with industry trends and developments. SPE Thermoforming Division members receive the magazine by mail four times a year. Non-members can access old issues here via PDF file. If you are not an SPE member this is a great reason to join! Become a member today to start receiving this valuable information in your mailbox.

We welcome objective, technical and related articles that provide valuable information to our community of thermoformers, toolmakers, material suppliers and OEMs. Articles are typically 1500-2000 words. We recommend viewing past articles for further guidance. All submissions should be in MS Word, 12-pt Times New Roman.

Artwork, illustrations, photos and graphics should be 300 dpi. We prefer .eps .jpeg and .pdf files

Deadlines for copy and artwork – 1st Quarter: February 15; 2nd Quarter: May 15; 3rd Quarter: August 1; 4th Quarter: November 15

All submissions can be sent to Conor Carlin, Editor, at

Thermoforming Quarterly Sponsorship Sales Contact:  Lesley Kyle, +1 914-671-9524 or

Third Quarter 2018

Proactive Tooling Design
Novel design solution features the absence of a vacuum box
By Mauro Fae’ Self Group and Roger Kipp

Innovation engineering tells us that our goal should be a continuous flow of innovative concepts, not just a single event. The proactive phase of tooling design therefore involves a management system that begins with Define and Discover. “Define” provides the clarity on concept and “Discover” asks the questions that help identify risks and solutions. This is a tooling Design Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (DFMEA).

The following case study provides an example of implementing a proactive approach to tooling design.

Product Overview:

  • Overflow Ring Cover (figure1)
  • 7” in diameter with 8” side height and 0.5 degrees draft

The following potential “failure” issues were identified:

  1. Process limitations
  2. Demolding
  3. Product quality
  4. Big chill marks

Processing Limitations

The available machine was a closed box design with no plug assist available and no option to mount the mold to the upper platen. Forming machine dimensions and capacity resulted in a mold size of 96.48” x 96.48” (2540.6mm x 2540.6): the closest point of the mold to the clamping frame was only 2.88” (73.1mm) and only one thermo-regulator was available.

Moldmaking with 3D Prints
Techniques for Prototyping and Production
By Formlabs, Somerville, MA

Moldmaking with desktop 3D printing allows engineers and designers to get much more functionality from their 3D printer, beyond prototyping alone. Moldmaking opens up a world of production materials, and provides the ability to produce short run batches and test mold designs prior to committing to expensive tooling.
This white paper will cover three such moldmaking strategies: injection molding, thermoforming and casting elastomers. Typically, molds are made with Formlabs Clear Resin, preferred for its translucency, although any Standard Resin is appropriate, and High Temp Resin is ideal for more thermally demanding molding processes. It should be noted that these processes are best suited to stereolithography (SLA) 3D printing, given that printed parts are both isotropic and watertight.

3D printing thermoform dies on the Form 2 is a fast and effective method to create high quality vacuum-formed parts for small batch production. Printed thermoform dies can be used to make packaging prototypes, clear orthodontic retainers, and food-safe molds for chocolate confections.

Thermoform dies experience less pressure than injection molds, but still reach high surface temperatures. High Temp Resin resists deformation and surface degradation from the combined heat and pressure of thermoforming with most plastics. Standard Resins may also be suitable for thermoforming with some lower temperature plastics such as vinyl.

Full articles appears in print magazine mailed to members.


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