This blog post from The Next Web popped up in my feed reader today and once again, serendipity struck. WE were just talking about vacuum forming as a side discussion at the last Hackerspace LA meetup. Vacuum forming is a relatively old, but very capable molding technique that has been used for a lot of the design and art you see around you every day. It is faster, cheaper and easier to use than 3D printing (at least, for the near future) and allows you to create finished pieces of art and design locally, quickly and inexpensively.
I don't usually highlight Kickstarter campaigns, as some times the time to delivery is way too long and some projects never make it out the door. That said, I think this one has a lot of potential. It is a fairly low-tech gadget -- using only a plastic heater, vacuum cleaner and specialized plastics -- so there is much less that can go wrong and it should be easier to manufacture than some, more complicated, Kickstarter projects.
I could certainly see adding this to my own "maker lab" or hackerspace. It would be great to be able to mass produce 3-d artwork, signs, toys and more without having to make the leap to professional manufacturing.
Check out their Kickstarter video and complete information.
The past decade has brought on a new kind of industrial revolution, a lot of which is thanks to how prevalent 3D printers have become. From full-sized versions to mini-desktop styles, you can find 3D printers for about the cost of a cheap laptop, or go to stores like Staples to get your prototypes printed out.
But one thing most 3D printers still have in common: Products take a while to print, set, and cool. That’s where Mayku’s FormBox wants to entice the at-home makers.