May 3, 2016 | By Alec
Remember Mayku? In early 2016, this innovative British startup announced their intentions to make local production possible again through a series of innovative desktop alternatives to gigantic production factories. And they’re ambitious. From injection molding machines to steel forgers, it’s all on the agenda. Their first machine, the FormBox desktop mold factory, is now launched on Kickstarter. A perfect device for making molds and hollow versions of any (3D printed) item in a matter of seconds.
It’s only the first step on a long road towards decentralized production. Makyu was founded by entrepreneurs Alex Smilansky and Benjamin Redford, who both have extensive experience with project realization. Smilansky previously headed the strategy team of Mint Digital, where he launched numerous (digital) ventures, while Redford is an expert on crowdsourcing, having previously realized Internetopia – the largest crowdsourced drawing ever made. But both are also firmly dedicated to localized making. As they announced back in February, they dream of a set of mini-factory tools that put production technology into the hands of everyone. “One day soon, you’ll be able to make almost anything, from headphones, to mobile phones,” they explained. “By building small, simple versions of tools usually found in factories Mayku want to bring manufacturing home.”
And with the Mayku FormBox, they’re off to a fantastic start. This remarkable device is essentially a vacuum cleaner-powered mold making device, and one of the smallest in the world. Designed to fit on your desk, it will cover any object with a quickly-setting plastic film that becomes a reusable mold in a matter of seconds. “Take something that you’ve made, found or 3D printed. Place it on the FormBox bed. Insert a plastic sheet, plug in your vacuum cleaner, turn it on and use the FormBox to create a 3D shape in seconds,” its makers explain. “This mold can then be used over and over again to create professional-grade products in a range of materials. Chocolate, concrete, plaster, resin and even jelly can be cast with molds made by the FormBox.”
It’s making potential is clearly visible. While 3D printers are great for making custom products and prototypes in the comfort of your own home, they aren’t exactly suited for producing a whole product line. The FormBox changes that completely. Happy with your 3D printed master object? Simply make a mold out of it and quickly make dozens of marketable copies using a plastic filler. What’s more, the molds can even be used as objects in their own right, the FormBox makers remind us. “The FormBox is perfect for creating light, colourful shells for things like speakers, phone cases or product packaging,” they say. Truly a machine that, in combination with a 3D printer, can power a one-man design business.
Furthermore, the FormBox also presents a solution for the layered surfaces of 3D printed objects. While layered surfaces aren’t such a problem on a 3D printed prototype, this obviously doesn’t look too good on a final model intended for customers. Therefore be sure to sand down the layers on a prototype before producing a mold, and the final results should be fantastic. “The FormBox produces stunning surfaces. Giving your creations the factory perfect finishes and the sleek execution they deserve,” they say.
But the FormBox makers thought about practical problems as well. With a build surface of 30 x 22 x 40 cm, the FormBox fits on any desktop. The molds can be made out of a very wide range of (colored) plastic materials, and are completed in just 20 seconds. To do so, the FormBox relies on a very clever cost-saving vacuum mechanism. Instead of adding costly hardware, Mayku chose to rely on an appliance that can be found in any household: the vacuum cleaner. They say any model can be attached to the FormBox easily, which harnesses suction power to create perfect molds.
What’s more, Mayku is also working on an assisting Mayku Library, where makers can find all the tips and tricks they need to turn their ideas into real life. “In collaboration with designers Mayku are building an online library of step by step projects to help guide people on a journey to becoming a maker. The Mayku library will put the ability to make incredible things in the hands of everyday people,” they say. “Full of instructions, projects and inspiration, to get you started straight out of the box.”
The guys behind Mayku thus seem to have really delivered on their promises with the FormBox. This interesting making tool, that could be a perfect addition to any 3D printing workshop, is exclusively available through a Kickstarter campaign now. In terms of rewards, you can receive the FormBox + Maker Pack for €310 / £250 (The First Batch is gone). The product itself is expected to be finished in late 2016, and it will be shipped in May 2017.
Posted in 3D Printer
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Finbar wrote at 9/9/2016 8:14:11 PM:
Love This Idea! But I've been wanting to get hold of one Since April. When will the Mayku formbox be out?
Cathy Cheung wrote at 7/8/2016 9:02:51 PM:
Hi, I would like to purchase a mayku desktop machine. I live in Canada. How can I get one?
Kristi Conley wrote at 7/8/2016 12:37:09 AM:
I would like to know how much this is and where can I get one?
Nicholas wrote at 6/6/2016 2:16:18 PM:
When will the product be out to the world for people to buy,and also what will The price be?
Matt wrote at 5/16/2016 1:11:15 AM:
Looks great, how much and how soon? firstname.lastname@example.org
Deborah Bean wrote at 5/13/2016 7:38:13 AM:
I live in the Bahamas.how may I may I go about ordering a form box
LORENZO VASQUEZ Y wrote at 5/4/2016 11:24:54 PM:
hey I want to buy the mayku desktop factory. I'm living in Peru. Thanks.
criticmaker wrote at 5/3/2016 3:34:00 AM:
Nice, but you still have to cut the piece out of the plastic sheet, and unless you designed a specific cutter, you've got to do that by hand. i'd also be curious to have prices of the said plastic sheets. And if you fill the cut molds up with material, that is a lot of material, again at what coset? So produce "real parts" one must go through the rotomoulding of the final piece. I understand it is their next "design" project. Will next one be the robot that uses these?? smile!