FormBox - A Desktop Vacuum Former for Makers
Tom Spendlove posted on May 10, 2016 |

Benjamin Redford and Alex Smilansky are design engineers based in London who want to bring factory processes to a personal scale. Mayku Industries is their company and their first machine is Formbox, a desktop vacuum former that’s powered by a home vacuum cleaner. The duo is currently running a highly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the first production run of Formboxes.

The team says their adapter will allow any vacuum cleaner to power the Formbox. A wide variety of thermoplastic sheets have been tested, including ABS, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, acrylic PMMA, and PETg. Thicknesses from 0.1 to 1 millimeter have been tested in the machine. The 200 millimeter square bed has been tested with parts as large as 150 x 150 millimeters, and the page suggests never forming with anything taller than it is wide.













Formbox looks like a very useful tool if the manufacturers and makers can optimize its performance. Several different possible uses are shown in the Kickstarter campaign video, casting molds for chocolate, concrete or plaster, and building toys, birdhouses or terrarium lids. A very active commenting section has plenty of questions and is ready to start testing different thickness and vacuum systems to get the most use out of the machine. The Mayku library is an online app where users can share their projects and access new designs.

Mayku wants the Formbox to be the first of the desktop manufacturing tools that they launch, and some sort of rotomold system looks to be their next machine. The campaign page also has a great discussion of the prototype development that’s been evolving since early 2015 – I’m always interested to understand the iterations that a design goes through before final release.  The campaign ends Friday, June 3, and units available for ordering now will ship in May 2017.


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