“As Mayku’s desktop machines get sold and begin to produce parts in customers’ bedrooms, workshops and classrooms, there’s a chance here, finally, that the reputation of manufacturing skills will rise from the basement with them.” – Stephen Holmes – Develop 3D
While many eschew vacuum cleaning, I find it a rather mesmerizing, almost relaxing, task. As the machine roars on monotonously, cutting out the chatter—and stresses—of the big bad world, one also has the great satisfaction of performing a repetitive motion that yields nice results (just don’t be messing up those long, lovely tracks, please!).
Now, in combination with the FormBox, your vacuum can be freed from the constraints of the utility closet, becoming a crossover star. The folks at Mayku, a startup headquartered in London, are responsible for this household disruption, explaining quite simply that they want to change the way things are made.
Just launched on Kickstarter with hopes of raising a modest $50,000 by June 3, the FormBox renders appeal because most everyone has a vacuum cleaner in the home and knows how to use it to some extent. Able to bring something to the table right away, potential users will most definitely be taken with the curiosity of how their vacuum and the Mayku team’s contraption are going to work together in creating a tabletop factory. Response on Kickstarter has been quite staggering already too, as at this time of writing they need less than $5,000 to meet their goal—with over a month to go. Can you say stretch goals?
The FormBox, boasting a nice small footprint, can draw energy from any vacuum, in turn allowing you to create hundreds of molds and models. With this new system, users are offered speed, stunning surfaces, and a superior online platform that enhances the turnkey concept even further. The Mayku team had me at ‘make your own soap—and the container for it to live in too,’ as I’ve always imagined the life of the soapmaker to be quite a pleasant and ethereal one, but making chocolate molds (and eating them) is definitely right up there as well. The FormBox is about much more than just pretty soaps and chocolates though, as the mold maker can manufacture everything from cast concrete molds to architectural models, toys—and even a terrarium, as we get further out there with examples.
“We think anyone who wants to should be able to make their own things,” shares co-founder and London designer Alex Smilansky. “So, we’re taking tools you’d usually find at a factory and making small simple versions of them—and today, we’re releasing our first one.”
That ‘first,’ indeed begins with this ‘factory that fits on your tabletop.’ You can also use it in combination with your desktop 3D printer to take prototypes you’ve fabricated and see them multiply quickly next door on the FormBox. As the Mayku team points out, you can allow the 3D printer to be the origination point of any model and then take it over to the FormBox and avoid waiting.
“With the FormBox, create simple forms from everyday items such as potatoes and plasticine, or create more complex creations using other maker machines like 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC machines,” invites the Mayku team.
While the FormBox is a machine that can be used in tandem with the 3D printer, it also offers many of the same benefits on its own—with the only difference being that you do need to have a shape ready for making a mold. The design ideas are, of course, endless, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit should find this to be an enormously inspirational tool. Users have the self-sustainability of being able to create—literally at the kitchen counter—whatever their hearts desire, without having to go to a factory or middleman for manufacturing. This allows for a whole lot of fun—but also speed in production, unheard-of affordability, and the ability to customize at will. Using the FormBox and its vacuum-forming, mold-making process is very simple, and to understand it better, just take a look at the video we posted at the end of this article.
Here’s how it works:
- Place your selected material into the FormBox.
- Find the shape or template you want to make a mold of and put it directly on the bed of the FormBox.
- Turn on the machine’s heater, and once it’s warmed up, pull the heated materials over your shape for the mold.
- Turn the vacuum on—and the mold is created before your eyes.
The piece you create can be used as your final object, as well as a mold for casting more of the same. You can also look forward to trying materials like resin, ice, foam, concrete, plaster—even Jell-O—and far more.
If you are interested in backing the campaign, for just $349 you can still get in on a good early bird deal and receive the FormBox + Maker Pack, which is highly recommended for beginners. Accompanying the FormBox are 30 sheets of material for forming, 500g of casting material, a universal vacuum connector, and a kit ‘to get you making right out of the box.’ For $459, you receive the ProPack, which is said to be perfect for big home projects. This package is unique in that it includes 100 sheets of material and 1kg of casting materials. Prices ascend with volume ordering, as well as offerings for other packages like the limited edition and studio packs. Shipping commences as early as May of next year.
The creators of the FormBox are also building the Mayku Library, which will be an online platform provided for users that allows them to upload and share their creations, as well as find instructions for other projects.
“We’ll be building the Mayku Library to coincide with the delivery of the first FormBoxes so you have lots of great ideas to get making straight away,” say the founders.
Whether you are a tinkerer, hacker, beginning maker, or maybe even thinking about starting a new business, the FormBox should offer a powerful new resource for creativity, as well as enhancing 3D printing and laser cutting projects. Are you backing this campaign? Discuss in the FormBox Paired with 3D Printer forum over at 3DPB.com.