DIY Thermal Formed PVC Laminate

Can anybody explain how a thermal formed PVC board is made and whether or not this is something that a backyard shaper could do on his own? If so, how?


Yes it can be done.

You’ll need a mould or you’ll have to bend it over your blank. (use a heat gun but be carefull to not to burn the PVC or to melt the EPS core!)

But why do you want to do that? You don’t need to thermoform it! Just make a compsand with solid PVC rails.

The thermoforming is for bending the PVC around the rails. But using PVC rails is much easier to do yourself and probably better!

Thermoforming is mostly used in mass production and windsurfboards. In mass production it’s cheaper to build thermoformed, but I believe solid rails gives better performance. (For windsurfboards it’s used because it is lighter, but you won’t notice that difference in regular surfboards)

well said hans

                                    keep up the stoke.

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A guy posted early on to the original Bert Burger thread about how he did it on sailboards. If I remember correctly he wore heavy duty gloves and heat gunned it while forming it with his hands. I don’t know if he had to make relief cuts to get the full wrap. I think he did the bottom first, beveled the edge slightly and then did the top which wrapped around the rail and met the bottom layer at an angle. He uses a 10mm spacer board under the blank so he can vacuum the wrap on the underside.

A somewhat lengthy search (vacuum misspelled as “vacumn” in original thread threw me off) shows bluejuice as the guy who posted. He attached some pics which do not show up at first glance - you have to open them.;postatt_id=3750;

I’ve done it in the past too. I made relief cuts.

But It really ended up in garbage! I melted the EPS on one place and couldn’t get the rail all around the blank (i used 5mm).

Afterwards I cut of the rails and put solid XPS rails in. That worked but not how I wanted it so everything in the trash.

I STRONGLY recommend not to use thermoforming, except when you are building windsurfboards (rails are thicker and are more tucked under).

Thermoforming is something companies like surftech put in their ads because the customers don’t know anything about it. Thermoforming is a good technique, but regular compsands give at least the same quality (like said I believe even better).

And as a bonus: rail dings wont get to the foam as quick as with thermoformed boards.

search for “compsand” in the fora.