We love hearing about new applications for the Makyu FormBox. There’s just something about the whole vacuum forming process that enchants us. Perhaps it’s how easy it is to make moulds of everyday objects, or the fact we can 3D print a custom model and vacuum form it in minutes.
This ease of use is what drew Damien Wager to the FormBox. Damien is Head of Pastry at the luxury Beechfield House Hotel near Bath, and he is also a cookery teacher and brand ambassador for chocolate makers Valrhona and HEiH. With each new dessert he sets out to create something unique; something that has never been done before, or at least not so well.
So when we heard Damien was making banoffee pies in the shape of bananas and key lime pies in the shape of limes using nothing more than fruit and his Mayku FormBox, you could colour us intrigued.
Who was this man making such delectable treats? Could we have some?
No was the answer to the second question (boo). The answer to the first question is simple: Damien is a man who is incredibly passionate about what he does – which is clear to see in his work. As with all world-class chefs, it is the thrill of experimentation which drives him to create desserts any normal ‘cook’ would call bonkers. But as the late Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
True enough, Ralph, true enough.
Speeding up the mould-making process
Before using the Mayku FormBox, Damien was limited in what moulds he could use. He would order moulds from manufacturers but the manufacturing capacity for short run custom moulds wasn’t there. Off-the-shelf moulds worked well, but they didn’t allow him to experiment with variations in design. They were also available to other chefs. So Damien did what all good experimenters do; he sought out a new solution. This led him to the FormBox.
The FormBox has been a revelation for Damien because not only does it allow him to make his own moulds and create limitless variations of them quickly, he can do so at minimal cost.
Damien was quoted a staggering £4,000 for 20 custom moulds by one manufacturer (they also wanted three months to make them!). Making the same moulds himself with the FormBox cost around £40, and obviously, slashed the production time to hours. (This is the key benefit to the FormBox: it enables anyone to make custom moulds in minutes.)
Easy to setup and use – fresh from the box
“You can make whatever you want,” says Damien, “if you press a Yale key down into the mould, it will come out exactly the same!”
Damien was impressed by how easy the FormBox was to use straight out of the box. He was up and running in no time after scanning the instruction sheet. The process is simple:
Select a material. The FormBox is compatible with PET-G, HIPS, ABS, polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene and acrylic PMMA. Damien uses PET-G which is food safe.
Choose a 3D template to replicate. You can use anything you like, so long as it fits on the FormBox bed.
Switch on the FormBox heater. This will heat up the plastic. The rotary dial has a few different heat settings.
Turn on your vacuum cleaner. Turn on your vacuum cleaner to create suction beneath the FormBox bed.
Pull the heated thermoplastic over the template. Once the plastic is heated up, pull it over the template to perform the last stage of production.
The process was so simple Damien was up and running in 15 minutes and after a fair bit of practice, he can now make new moulds in less than 10 minutes. Try asking a manufacturer to do that and you’d be laughed out of the room. All in all, the cost for Damien to make his moulds is very low – just a few quid. A pack of form sheets costs around £30 so that’s a minimum of 30 moulds for £30 – far less than the cost of outsourcing production.
Here’s the finished banoffee pie:
And here’s the finished key lime pie:
Machines: Mayku FormBox.
This case study was first published on the Mayku website. All images are credit to Mayku. If you enjoyed this case study, you’ll also enjoy this one about Small Multiples who use voice patterns, 3D printing and the Mayku FormBox to make edible chocolates as gifts.