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Area 49

This guide provides information on how to use technology within Area 49, as well as guides for digital technologies and physical projects. Area 49 is available for use by all current students, faculty, and staff.

Mayku FormBox

Mayku FormBox

Mayku FormBox


  • Forming Bed: 7.8in x 7.8in
  • Draw Depth: 5.1in

Location: Makerspace

Use Options: No training needed


  • No cost to use

  • $1.50 per thermoplastic sheet or bring your own materials from the approved list below


  • The black ceramic plate of the heater gets very hot and can cause burns.

  • Surfaces directly under the heater will get very hot.

  • Always use in a well-ventilated area.

  • Do not attempt to use body parts or living things as templates in the FormBox.

  • Do not use non-certified Mayku sheets or materials.

  • To turn the vacuum off in the middle of suction, press the timer start button to cut the power to your vacuum cleaner.

  • Only use thermoplastic sheets of 0.25 - 1.5mm in thickness that are made of one of the following approved materials. Check with a Makerspace Monitor if you have questions:

    • PETg (Commonly found in: Food safe molds)
    • HIPS (Commonly found in: Disposable cups)
    • ABS (The stuff lego is made from)
    • Polystyrene (Commonly found in: Product packaging)
    • Polyproperlene (Great for use as a mould for resin casting)
    • Polycarbonate (Commonly found in: Drinks bottles)
    • Polyethylene (Commonly found in: Sheet and foamed sheet)
    • Acrylic PMMA (Commonly found in: Light up signs)

Quick Start Video

Machine Setup

  1. Ensure vent holes on the top, sides, and bottom of the machine are open and unobstructed.

  2. Plug the power cord of the machine into an outlet.

  3. Plug the vacuum cleaner power cord into the back of the FormBox. Do not plug the vacuum cleaner into any other outlet than on the back of the FormBox.

  4. Switch the vacuum cleaner on.

  5. Fully insert the black vacuum tube into the port on the back of the FormBox. Ensure the smaller diameter rubber end is being inserted into the machine.

  6. Ensure the vacuum cleaner has a hose attached to the front of it. Insert the vacuum cleaner’s hose into the larger end of the vacuum hose connected to the FormBox.


  1. Choose a Mayku Cast or Form sheet from the appropriate pack. 

  2. The heater dial is used to select the temperature of the heater. The recommended temperature setting for each form/cast sheet will be listed on the instruction page that comes with the sheets.

    • Form sheets and cast sheets both require a temperature setting of 5.

  3. The time dial will be used as a guide for how long to heat the cast sheets. The recommended time of heating for each form/cast sheet will be listed on the instruction page that comes with the sheets.

    • Form sheets suggest 2:00-2:20 and cast sheets suggest 1:00-1:20.

  4. Turn the time dial to the upper range of the time listed. Do not start the timer yet.

    • Example: Instruction sheet says 1:00-1:20 → choose 1:20.

  5. Turn the temperature dial to the correct setting for the sheet. The heater will turn on and the fans will begin to spin to keep the machine cool. Heating will take about 6 to 8 minutes.

    • The light beside the temperature dial will flash orange as it is heating and will turn green when the correct temperature is reached.

  6. While waiting for the heater to reach temperature, the sheet can be prepared.

  7. Unclamp the yellow tray handles on the sides of the machine so that the top clamp flips upward. Lift the top tray until it clicks into place near the heater.

    • It will require considerable force to lock it into place.

  8. If using a Mayku Cast Sheet (they are transparent), peel the protective film from the sheet. This film can be recycled.

    • If using a Mayku Form Sheet, there is no protective film.

  9. Place the sheet on the seals of the bottom tray. Line up the edges of the sheet with the edges of the seals.

  10. Bring the top tray back down onto the bottom tray. Flip the top yellow handles down to clamp the trays together. This will hold the sheet in place. 

    • Once the sheet is properly clamped in place, wait until the heater light turns green.

  11. When the heater light turns solid green, lift both trays together to click into place near the heater.

  12. Press the timer button when the trays are clicked into place. A soft ticking noise will begin.

  13. Place the object to be formed in the center of the vacuum plate.

  14. When the timer starts ticking faster, check the plastic to see if it has become soft and elastic across the whole sheet. It should droop in the middle.

  15. When the sheet is ready, use the handles to quickly bring both trays down over the object. The vacuum cleaner will turn on automatically to suck the air out from around the shape.

  16. Wait until the vacuum cleaner turns off (around 5-10 seconds) to allow the sheet to cool.

  17. Unclamp the top tray and click it back into place near the heater. The form is now complete.

  18. Turn the heater dial to the off position. Do not unplug the FormBox power cord until allowing the fans to cool the machine for at least 10 minutes.

  19. Once the plastic is allowed to cool for around 15 seconds, gently flex the form in and out to release the object. Carefully cut around the object with scissors or sharp edge to remove the excess sheet.

Designing a custom template

  • When designing a custom object to be formed, make sure any undercuts are removed. Undercuts are sections where the plastic will form under the object and will prevent it from being removed from the mold.

  • It is recommended to add draft angles to any vertical edges. Draft angles cause the bottom of the object to be slightly larger than the top, meaning it will easily slide out of the mold. About 3∘ draft angle is recommended.

  • Add air holes through templates. This will allow the air to be pulled out between the template and the vacuum plate to provide more accurate details.

Tips for Creating a Successful Form

  • Make sure the objects are placed as close to the center of the vacuum plate as possible.

  • When placing multiple objects on the vacuum plate, ensure at least 3cm of space between them. Leave more space for taller or larger objects.

  • Generally, templates should be wider than they are tall to avoid thinning at the top of the form.

  • Avoid sharp angles less than 90 degrees. This can cause the sheet to bunch and fold on itself.

  • To turn off the vacuum in the middle of suction, press the timer start button to cut power to the vacuum cleaner,


Only plaster casting materials are available in the Makerspace but molds can also be used for casting concrete, silicone, chocolate, Jello, resin, ice, foam, and jesmonite outside of the Makerspace.

  1. Once a mold has been formed from a cast sheet, the Mayku Pour casting material can be prepared.

  1. Fill the large measuring cup to the top with casting powder. This will make 100 grams of casting material.

  1. Pour the powder into a disposable mixing bowl or cup. Do not use glass cups or bowls.

  1. Fill the smaller measuring cup to the top with water. Use the same number of cups of water to the same number of cups of powder used.

    • Example: 2 cups of powder needs 2 cups of water.

  1. Add the water to the powder in the mixing container. Stir thoroughly with a mixing stick until smooth.

  1. Pour the mixture into the mold, keeping the form level. Fill to just below the brim.

  1. Gently shake the mold and hit the table surface to bring any air bubbles to the surface.

  1. Leave to set for 20-40 minutes. Cast will be fully dry and hardened after 24 hours.

  1. Carefully remove the cast from the mold. Lightly sand the bottom and edges if needed to remove roughness.


Vacuum Forming Troubleshooting

The template will not release from the mold

  • The template may be wider at the top than at the bottom. Ensure that the widest part of the template is the bottom.


The plastic sheet becomes creased when vacuuming to the template

  • The template may have sharp edges less than 90 degrees. Try to have smooth edges on templates and avoid sharp angles.


Casting Troubleshooting

Casting mixture is too thick to pour

  • The larger measuring cup can hold slightly more than 100 grams of powder, so more water may be needed. Start by adding 5-10 milliliters of water to the mixture and increase incrementally until the desired consistency is reached.

  • It is okay to have a thicker consistency but be aware that it will set faster and will capture fewer details in the mold than a thinner mixture.


The casting mixture is too thin

  • A thinner mixture is okay because it will capture more details in the mold, but it will also take longer to set and harden.

  • To thicken, start by adding 5-10 grams of powder and increase incrementally until the desired consistency is reached.