24 Sep 2018

Desktop vacuum former is speedy alternative or companion to 3D printer

RS Components has introduced an innovative, easy-to-use desktop vacuum former from London-based start-up Mayku. The Mayku FormBox works with any domestic vacuum cleaner to make moulds and other objects in minutes, with no software or digital model manipulation required.

Computer controlled 3D printers are growing in popularity, but the process of piping out the material, layering it to create the shape, setting and cooling tends to be slow. Mayku FormBox uses a vacuum to draw down a heated plastic sheet over a physical template. The sheet material cools and sets quickly, allowing intricately detailed 3D objects and reusable moulds to be created within minutes.

Templates may be designed and modelled by the user, or can be objects found lying around the house. Suitable materials for templates include soft wood, MDF, metals, most plastics, PLA and ABS resins, stacked card, air-drying clay, playdough, and even foodstuffs such as potatoes or bananas. Mayku offers an online product library for users who do not wish to design from scratch.

Moulds created using FormBox are suitable for casting 3D forms in a wide range of materials, from concrete, plaster, silicone and jesmonite to soap, chocolate, jelly and ice. Small craft businesses can use FormBox as a versatile desktop production line, creating short runs of bespoke products from home.

For more complex projects, templates can be created using a 3D printer and swiftly reproduced using FormBox, allowing designers and architects to build complex 3D models and product prototypes in their own studios.

FormBox works best with thermoplastic sheets from 0.25 to 1.5 mm thick. RS currently offers two types of appropriately-sized sheet material. Mayku Form is a versatile, easy-to-use white sheet suitable for product packaging, prototyping and enhancing decorative craft projects. Mayku Cast is a transparent, food-safe plastic suitable for making reusable moulds; slight flexibility and a non-stick surface ensure that casts can be removed easily. Both materials are fully recyclable and made partly from recycled plastic waste.

The Mayku FormBox measures 466 (W) x 274 (D) x 315 (H) mm, occupying similar desktop space to a laptop. It has a 200 x 200 mm draw area and 130 mm draw depth.

Mayku company was founded in 2015 and initially funded as a Kickstarter project. FormBox is its first product.

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