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How a New Zealand teacher increased student engagement using vacuum forming and laser cutting machines

Laser Cut Shapes for Vacuum Formed Mold Making with the FormBox
A laser cut Spider Man pog ready for molding on the Mayku FormBox

Combining laser cutting and vacuum forming for mold making design lessons

Rebecca Maunder teaches at a girls’ school in New Zealand. She has a few different maker tools in the classroom — a 3D printer, laser cutter and paper printer — that she uses to teach the students about product development. She likes to create projects that are relevant to the girls’ lives and that they find exciting.

Making a lotus leaf mold

How to use the Mayku FormBox to teach design and manufacturing

Rebecca keeps a FormBox in the classroom to use with different classes and projects. She uses it with a 3D printer and laser cutter for projects in the “Production and Mass Production” module on the syllabus. Rebecca also writes design briefs for the students to complete using the machines they have at their disposal. She uses the Tinker CAD software program or Adobe Illustrator to make something with the laser cutter and then transfer it to the FormBox to be made.

Laser Cut object for mold making in a desktop vacuum former
Happiness comes in waves

What challenges did your STEAM classroom experience pre-FormBox?

  • Expense: It’s expensive to get an industrial sized vacuum former into the classroom in order to really show the students how the process worked.
  • Size: The vacuum formers on the market are mostly very large, making it difficult to find a place for one in the classroom.
  • Time: 3D printing and laser cutting take a very long time which means a long wait for something physical and concrete that the girls can take away from the class.

Laser cut shapes ready for mold making on the FormBox
Molds made and ready for experimentation

How did the FormBox save your classroom time and money?

  • Expense: It’s a quarter of the cost of a standard light industrial vacuum forming machine.
  • Size: It’s also a quarter of the size meaning it can easily fit in the classroom.
  • Time: Making things with the FormBox is quick, enabling the girls each to get a turn with the machine and use it to make something that they can take home the same day.

Vacuum formed molds ready for casting
A class's work

How does in-house vacuum forming compare to outsourcing mold making?

Mayku FormBox

  • Upfront Cost - £599
  • Part Cost - £1
  • Lead time - 3-4 hours
  • Quantity - 30

External Mold Vendor

  • Upfront Cost - £2,000
  • Mold Cost - £3
  • Lead time - 32 hours
  • Quantity - 2

Want to learn more? You can follow @TeamMayku on social media, join our Facebook Group, the Mayku Community or request to Speak to a Specialist at anytime to find out how you could use a FormBox for your next project. 

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