Which of the resins is best for making props for vacuum forming?

I was wondering….does it matter which resin that you use for working with a vacuum former? I know the sheet gets very hot and gets pulled around the part really fast when vacuum formed …is there any resiins that are better than others or can they all pretty much stand it at this point heat wise? I currently have model V2 on hand, but would consider other resident for making the master if I needed to.

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Linked below is an example, but you could probably go with a cheaper resin and still be fine.


that’s pretty great ! thank you for sharing …which machine do you have there …and what kind of prices are we talking?

Hi @illuminatedRS,

I wanted to pass along some resources we have on vacuum forming:

Hopefully this helps to provide you with a good frame of reference.

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I used Rigid 4K for the example @br4n_d0n linked to…but I have definitely used standard resins before with no problem.

The nice thing about resin is that they’re not thermoplastics, so they won’t melt in the same way as if you tried to thermoform many times on ABS or PLA (the latter would probably melt immediately).

They’ll still degrade though, so if you want longevity, you should use something with a higher HDT like Rigid4K, 10K, or High Temp Resin.

Thats true! good point… forgot they are NOT that type of plastic…so only really “toughness” and holding detail matters in this case… wonder which out of the 3 is best…
i suspect in my case for RC car body shells… the high temp one might last longer when exposed to the thermoforming melted plastic

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High temp resin is a great choice for these kind of molds!

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thank you! very much appreciated

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you don’t happen to know if vacuum formed stuff the shell stuff can handle the regular poor epoxy resin or does it totally destroy them each time because of the heat do I need to really do a silicone mold first

Sorry not exactly sure what you’re asking? Are you asking about using the vacuum formed part as a mold for epoxy resin pieces?

yes thats what i was getting at…

Don’t see any problems with that. I’ve seen people do it.

don’t they melt? when they resin sets? what material do you recommend? for the vacuforming molds i realize it might be different than the ones in using for the shell’s

The type of resin you use for your vacuum former master mold can make a significant difference in the resulting vacuum-formed parts. While some resins can withstand the high temperatures and rapid cooling of the vacuum forming process, others may distort, crack, or release harmful fumes.

it seems the consensus is - Formlabs High Temp resin for this process.


I’ve been using Grey V4 for making vacuum molds for a few years. The resin works fine, but the temperature cycling will make the plastic brittle over time. The molds I’ve made are generally multi material and have designed them so the 3-D printed sections are easily replaceable.

I was under the impression that the best material for the plastic molds for vacuum forming would be HDPE form of high density polyethylene.
in theory, you should be able to use these over and over
Also, it was advised that we use the high temperature resin as the buck/tool again to resist heat, and to get more longevity of the actual 3-D print for the thermal forming process