Blow molding is used to make plastic bottles and other hollow products. Either an injection mold or extrusion is used to push melted plastic into a chilled bottle-shaped mold. Air blows the resin against the walls of the mold.
Spas, bathtubs, sinks, furniture, and light fixtures can be thermoformed. This method is good for simple shapes with large radii. Softened sheets of plastic are pressed against the contours of a steel mold. Another piece may be placed over the top. Vacuum forming may be used. When cool, the object retains its shape.
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The casting process is used for small objects with simple shapes. Powder is heated to liquid solution form and molded with absence of pressure.
Cell casting is used to make uniformly thick, flat acrylic sheets or panels. A mold is made of two sheets of toughened glass connected and sealed with a rubber gasket. The liquid acrylic solution is poured between these two heated sheets of glass. Color can be added to the solution.
The calendaring process involves plastic granules that are heated and fed through a series of hot metal rollers until the desired thickness of the sheet of film is achieved. These rollers may emboss or press patterns onto the surface of the soft vinyl sheet.