Drape Forming

The Drape Forming Process Is One Of The Earliest Forms Of Thermoforming

The Drape forming process has been around since early Egyptian times.  Rather than today’s plastics, the early Egyptians used tortoise shell, which they heated in hot oil to be formed. Drape Forming is the most rudimentary of the thermoforming processes. Essentially, we heat the plastic sheet until it is malleable, and then “drape” it over a mold. At this point, we use only gravity to cause the plastic to shape to the mold. We can achieve very limited detail with this process, as there is no additional pressure involved to shape the plastic.

"Power" Drape Forming Process

At ATI, we have perfected a technique we call “Power” Drape Forming. With this method we use articulating clamp frames to increase the normal sag of the sheet, thus more closely approximating the depth of the mold. This has the effect of reducing pressure on the mold surface of the sheet, which results in less “mark-off” being apparent in clear parts.

The clear walls of the elevator shown below are a great example of the Drape Forming Process.