Our plastic thermoforming operations include drape forming, vacuum forming, line bending, blow forming, and pressure forming. These thermoformed plastic parts are used in a number of industries, including aerospace, automotive, and medical. We commonly use acrylic, polycarbonate, styrene, and ABS in both colored and tinted forms.

Plastic parts that require shapes having gradual bends, such as boat windows and machine guards, can be produced in our drape forming operations. With our vacuum forming process, complex and elaborate plastic shapes such as medical trays, speaker casings, and automotive components can be produced. Specializing in thermoforming thick-gauge materials, we can shape plastic products with thickness ranging from 0.060” to 3”.

Plastic Thermoforming

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Drape Forming at California Quality Plastics (CQP) involves heating a flat sheet of plastic to forming temperature and then draping it over a tool with a simplistic shape. This process works well for making shapes such as half cylinders, cylinders, cones and panels with slight compound curves. Once the panel has slumped, additional hand-work and clamping is often needed to coax the material into its proper drape-formed shape.

  • The tooling cost is low when compared to vacuum forming.
  • The ability to process very large and thick sheets of plastic.
  • Once the tool is completed, there is no additional set-up time to run parts.
  • Production runs can range from 1 to 1,000.
  • Tools can be made quickly in-house by our team of craftsmen. We can also work with customer supplied tools.
 

Drape Forming Typical Products and Applications

  • Curved Window Panels
  • Lighting Lenses
  • Display Case Panels
  • Cylinders (Made with one or two vertical seams.)
  • POP panels
  • Machine Guards
  • Movie Props
  • Signage

 

Common Drape Forming Materials used by CQP

  • Acrylic
  • Polycarbonate
  • PETG
  • Styrene
  • ABS
  • PE
  • HDPE
  • Sintra™

 

Drape Forming Typical Sheet Gauges

  • 0.090” up to 3”

 

Drape Forming Ovens

  • CQP operates 5 drape forming ovens with the largest having the capability to handle a sheet 108” x 156”

 

For Vacuum Forming at California Quality Plastics (CQP), a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature, stretched onto or into a single-surface mold, and held against the mold by applying vacuum between the mold surface and the sheet.

  • When compared to Drape-Forming, Vacuum-Forming will produce shapes with much greater complexity and detail.
  • Tooling costs are low when compared to injection molding.
  • Tooling lead-time is shorter than injection molding.
  • Production sizes can be very small when compared to injection molding.
 

Vacuum Forming Typical Products and Applications

  • Lighting Lenses
  • POP and Kiosks
  • Equipment Housing and Covers
  • Machine Guards

 

Common Vacuum Forming Materials used by CQP

  • Acrylic
  • Polycarbonate
  • PETG
  • Styrene
  • ABS
  • PE

 

Vacuum Forming Typical Sheet Gauges

  • 0.090” up to 0.375”

 

Vacuum Forming Machines

  • CQP operates 8 vacuum forming machines. All machines have pre-draw capabilities.

 

Vacuum Forming Part Sizes

  • The largest machines can handle parts up to 46″x 72″. Parts can be drawn to a maximum depth of 24″

 

When Blow Forming at California Quality Plastics (CQP), a sheet of plastic is heated to a forming temperature and placed onto the bed of a press. The hot plastic is then clamped in place with a ring, and compressed air is “blown” between the bed of the press and the sheet of plastic. A bubble forms under the hot sheet of plastic and lifts the material into a free-formed dome or hemispherical shape. We refer to these shapes as “free-blown” shapes. The hot plastic can also be blown into a tool or aluminum spinning to create a more precise shape.

  • Tooling can be very inexpensive.
  • Tools can be made quickly.
  • CQP stock many in-house molds and tools.
  • Production runs can be from 1 to 1,000
  • Free-blown parts have no mark-off.
 

Blow Forming Typical Products

  • Domes
  • Lighting Lenses
  • Hemispheres
  • Globes and Spheres (made in two parts)

 

Common Blow Forming Materials used by CQP

  • Acrylic
  • Polycarbonate
  • PETG
  • Styrene
  • ABS

 

Blow Forming Typical Sheet Gauges

  • 0.090” up to 1.5”

 

Blow Forming Presses

  • CQP operates 5 blowing presses.

 

Blow Forming Blank Sizes

  • Our largest press can handle blank sizes of 96” x 96”.

 

Line Bending or Strip Heating at California Quality Plastics (CQP) is a process used to make sharp, angular bends in a sheet or small piece of plastic. A Cal-Rod or wire filament is heated and the plastic sheet is set just above the heat source. Once the plastic flexible, it is bent to a specific angle.

  • No tooling cost
  • Set-up is quick
  • Ability to bend the sheet without heating the entire sheet surface
  • Production sizes can be from 1 to 1,000s
 

Line Bending Typical Products

  • Literature Holders
  • Small Acrylic Boxes
  • Product Stands

 

Common Line Bending Materials used by CQP

  • Acrylic
  • Polycarbonate
  • PETG
  • Styrene
  • ABS

 

Line Bending Typical Sheet Gauges

  • 0.060” up to 0.50”

 

Line Bending Equipment

  • CQP operates 4 Line Bending tables.

 

Line Bending Blank Sizes

  • Our largest line can handle blank sizes as long as 96″.

 

Pressure Forming at California Quality Plastics (CQP): The first step is to heat the sheet of plastic to forming temperature. The sheet is then vacuumed formed against the tool. Air pressure is then introduced into the sealed tool to push the hot plastic tightly against the mold.

  • Pressure forming yields parts with good definition, often mimicking the look of an injection molded part
  • Tooling costs are low when compared to injection molding
  • Tooling lead-time is shorter than injection molding
  • Production sizes can be very small when compared to injection molding
 

Pressure Forming Typical Products and Applications

  • Electronic Housings
  • Product and Equipment Casings
  • Automotive Parts
  • POP and Kiosks
  • Lighting Products

 

Common Pressure Forming Materials used by CQP

  • Acrylic
  • Polycarbonate
  • PETG
  • Styrene
  • ABS
  • PE
  • PVC

 

Pressure Forming Typical Sheet Gauges

  • 0.125” up to 0.375”

 

Pressure Forming Machines

  • CQP operates 2 pressure forming machines.

 

Pressure Forming Part Sizes

  • The largest machines can make parts 46”x 36”. Parts can be drawn to a maximum depth of 22”.