British start-up Mayku has launched FormBox, a miniature vacuum-forming machine that brings the industrial process to makers’ desktops. Launched on Kickstarter, the $349 (£241) machine heats a sheet of material then uses the suction from a regular vacuum-cleaner to form around a 3D mould. It allows users to cast a single shape in seconds and create a product run of hundreds from their home or studio. The mould can be something as simple as a banana or a more intricate object made in almost any material, such as resin, silicon, concrete, foam, plaster or even ice or chocolate.
Mayku was started by two London-based designers, Alex Smilansky and Benjamin Redford, and backed by the Design Council and Innovate UK, with the intention of making manufacturing simpler, accessible and affordable. The company is aiming to produce more compact machines in future, including a rotational moulder, injection moulder and steel forger.
The company has also made an online library of products to show what makers can produce with their FormBox, such as a cast for concrete soap dishes, and a cast for the soap too; small batches of products in different colours, such as terrariums or tape dispensers; or customised chocolates. It also suggests using the machine in conjunction with a 3D printer, by printing a 3D shape to use as a mould.