The Mayku FormBox thermoforming system.

UK based startup Mayku, with its desktop vacuum forming machine, is empowering makers to do more with their 3D printers. Compact and easy to use, the FormBox system can be used to make a variety of molds, for concrete and plaster casting, soap making and chocolate craft, or packaging for figurines and other handmade items. In many ways, it is the final professional touch makers need when attempting to create a business from their DIY products.

At 3D Printing Industry, the engineering team have reviewed the Mayku FormBox in terms of its ease-of-use, material versatility, and application over a variety of different objects ranging in size and complexity.

The FormBox safety setup

The FormBox thermoformer is delivered as a fully assembled system. The starter package for the machine includes: a universal vacuum adapter, detailed manual, three sample-formed objects, 15 Form Sheets of white HIPs, 15 Cast Sheets of transparent, food-safe PETG, and 1kg of castable plaster to try some first casts.

For setup, the user only need attach their own vacuum cleaner, a task facilitated by Makyu’s universal adapter. To start the first mold, a sheet of selected plastic is clipped into the sliding tray at the base of the machine. Then the heat and melting time is set by the corresponding dials on the front, and the user lifts the tray up to the ceramic heater at the top.

Timer settings are given in 20 second increments, and heater settings from 1 – 6. For each sheet of material the manual outlines the respective settings required to reach near-melting point. By simplifying this stage of the process, Makyu serves to help reduce user error.

When heating, the user is required to place the object-to-be-formed at the center of the lower vacuum plate (200mm x x200mm). Once at temperature, the tray containing the plastic is moved down in a single, steady movement. After counting down the timer, the FormBox then automatically shuts off the vacuum, and the plastic is left to cool and harden.

In one final step, all the user has to do is remove the formed object from the mold, with a little wiggling and sometimes help from a flat-head screwdriver for leverage. The mold is then ready to use.