UK-based start-up Mayku has released a vacuum former that's powered by a Hoover and small enough to fit on a desktop.
FormBox – which was funded for more than $500,000 on Kickstarter – shrinks and simplifies the usual vacuum forming machine, making it more accessible for people working on small projects.
The machine allows users to quickly replicate three-dimensional forms using sheets of thermoplastic. They can then use the moulds to cast different materials – making quick prototypes or potentially finished products at home.
Typically, vacuum formers are much larger and more unwieldy; however, FormBox has been designed to fit comfortably into someone's office or studio.
"We're super excited about getting FormBox into the hands of people who might not traditionally think about buying a large-scale vacuum former – chefs, chocolatiers, crafters, artists and people who are just getting into the world of making," Mayku founder Ben Redford told Dezeen.
FormBox is part of a growing trend that's seen industrial processes opened up to individual makers. In particular, 3D-printing has made prototyping designs more accessible in recent years.
"It feels to us like 3D-printing was the tip of the iceberg," Redford added. "Now there's a really fascinating scene forming of companies making smaller versions of industrial-scale machines.
"We think there's a growing attraction to small-batch, locally made products that retain the qualities and consistency of mass manufacture."
FormBox is shipped with 30 sheets for forming, and 500 grams of casting materials. Mayku plans to develop further sets of sheets made from recycled materials.
The company is also building an online library that lets FormBox users share their designs with one another.
This video shows Mayku's FormBox in action, replicating 3D forms in sheets of thermoplastic
"A vacuum former is a simple technology that we thought would make for a great entry-level machine into the world of Mayku," Redford added.