By David Lewis
BESPOKE: a : custom-made <a bespoke suit> b : dealing in or producing custom-made articles.
The crew at the DCS Labs have produced the first genuinely bespoke item for the team. While this may seem simple, it is a neat step forward from modding existing designs or making small giveaways. Over the summer I picked up a vintage Mattel Vac-u-Form machine.
Box Vintage 1964: Note picture of Riley on the left side
The Vac-u-Form lets you create molds by heating a sheet of plastic and then drawing the heated over a model via vacuum. I have wanted one of these since I was 11.
Dead mint and apparently never used
The plastic sheet is heated in a clamping frame and then when pliable, flipped over the mold and vacuum applied to make the mold or part.
Heating tray is on the right hand side
A key suggested mod for these is a “cover” that helps speed heating of the plastic & frame. I cut a cover out of sock and tried it out.
I found that the cover got too hot to handle easily, so I asked one of the students (Travis) to design a handle so my fingers would be less blistered.
After a measurement or two, Travis presented me with a design and wanted to try it out on the Rapman. As always, the Rapman, which has been with us for two years now, demonstrated its workhorse capabilities and gave us a decent handle.
Fresh off the Rapman with supports
I marked the cover, drilled two holes and now have a bespoke enhancement for the lab systems!
Handle without supports and mounted