Molding plastic (for stick cases)

Hey does anyone have any suggestions for getting custom molded plastic boxes? I’m pretty sure I don’t have the tools to do it myself (though if I’m wrong that would be great) so what are my online options?

Check out “vacuum forming” on Google, you should find some interesting links. If you are patient enough, you can have professional looking results

I have experience vacuum forming and it can be done, but I think the thickness of the plastic to vacuum form with isnt the best idea. You can get nearly any shape vacuum formed, but the best DIY option would be to maybe carve up something from clay, wood, etc, and silicon mold it.

Alright I’ve checked out vacuum forming and I don’t think it will work. I’m going to go with clay silicon molding because I’m shite at woodworking and the form factor is going to be extremely small, but I’m kind of confused on how I should do the buttons and other holes. If I make the holes part of the mold, how would I get the molded piece out?

To make holes, make the faceplate hard plastic, and get a circle cutter attachment for a drill. You can find them in 24 and 30mm cut outs, but they’re in inches. Just google it, I’ve seen them on before. You might also be able to use a hot iron meant for cutting through plastics.

So I should make the box, and THEN drill the holes? I was thinking maybe there was a way to make the holes in the clay original, but that works too.

It’s possible to make indentations of the holes, but then after the plastic is molded, you have to figure out how to remove them. Your best option is just to have a strong and smooth clean face and drilling/cutting holes into them. A dremel may help too, they make a plastic routing but which can cut through most plastics, not perfectly smooth though. Button rims should cover up any mess though.

You could do holes as part of the mold; it’s done all of the time, even backyard silicon molding. But leaving it smooth to drill out holes would be a better idea, allowing you to make them with different layouts without changing the mold.
If I were to look into it, first place I’d start jumping off from is here:
Make: Online : Adam Savage’s mold-making in MAKE Volume 24