Rapid prototyping with the Mayku FormBox with Theo Ford

Mayku FormBox guide

Theo Ford is an award-winning London-based industrial designer. He uses the Mayku FormBox to make short run prototypes of products like custom furniture. His small model making setup makes use of injection moulding with the FormBox and 3D printing to prototype products. With these modern manufacturing techniques, he helps his clients meet their projects on time and saves himself money.

“The FormBox is a powerful tool in my workshop. Partnered with my 3D printer I’m able to try out variations without committing to a long print or an expensive outsourced production run,” says Theo, who runs his small workshop from his home office. One of his recent projects was to create a set of custom furniture for a co-working space in London. With a tight budget, Theo had to get creative to turn the project around.

Rather than just show his client mock-up drawings in software, Theo decided to manufacture a short run of prototypes to bring his ideas to life. This would allow his client to see the designs in person. Seeing and feeling the form of a shape in the real-world is a much finer experience than seeing it on a computer screen. The first part of the project was to design and create a set of chairs for a Scandinavian-inspired lounge. Theo got to work creating his designs with pencil and pen, by sketch, before modelling the chair form in Solidworks.


The next stage

After modelling the chair form in Solidworks, Theo used his 3D printer to manufacture a master template. Time and budget constraints meant 3D printing 10 different chair variations was not an option. Instead, he decided to take the master template and use his Mayku FormBox to create his iterations by vacuum form. This would allow him to speed up the production process significantly without sacrificing the quality of his prototypes.


Theo created 10 identical copies of the master part which he cut out, processed and spray painted. He then tried out different thicknesses of material and paint shades to get the look he wanted. Matte, satin and gloss spray paints were used to create the right look for the client. Theo also 3D printed one set of chair legs, which he applied to a chair shell so the client could see what the chair would look like when built up. Theo’s client came into the studio and loved what he had come up with. A collective design was established there and then after a colour scheme was chosen.


By using 3D printing and vacuum forming together, Theo was able to significantly reduce costs and speed up production. He spent around £10 creating the 10 copies on the FormBox and only 2-hours of production time was needed to get the job done. With an external vendor, the part cost would have doubled and the production time would have gone into weeks, not hours. This project is proof that 3D printing and vacuum forming are a perfect match.

Machines: 3D printer (unspecified) – Mayku FormBox.

This case study was first published on the Mayku website. All images are credit to Mayku.