One of the great advantages of solid surface is that it can be heated and bent into many different designs through a process called thermoforming. The process involves heating the material to approximately 160 degrees celsius for specified periods of time.
When heated, the material becomes very pliable. It is immediately put onto molds used for vacuum forming or two part matched molds. Within 30 minutes the material is cool to the touch and retains its new shape. It’s a remarkable process that’s yields some very impressive, 3 dimensional designs considering it started as a flat sheet!
What kind of design ideas can you take advantage of with thermoformed solid surface? Virtually any shape imagined can be formed with solid surface. Wood and some other materials can also be formed but nothing can touch the seamless look of formed solid surface. The cost can be a plus as well. Shapes can be achieved for a lot less cost than conventional woodworking, metal, or plastic techniques. The great results attained with thermoforming create a very luxurious look…often times for less money.
Thermoforming adds just one more benefit to an already great material, one that is renewable (even damaged surfaces can be repaired to look as good as new), seamless, non porous, and moisture resistant. Solid surface’s thermoforming ability coincides very nicely with the advent of computer assisted designs, and the ever increasing ability for humans to design 3D objects and transfer digitized geometries into a digital work format for fabrication. Certainly, no other material comes close to the thermoforming ability of solid surface.
Here a just a few applications. Through the use of thermoforming many outstanding design plans have been realized. All projects listed were fabricated by Sterling Surfaces.