Mayku FormBox Review – Aaron Winstanley
The Mayku FormBox is a perfectly sized bundle of creativity for any primary school wishing to expand their Makerspace, begin their Design and Technology journey, or just to have as an additional end of unit/term fun project.
At Bolton School Junior Boys’ Division we have been building a MakerSpace in our IT suite to complement all of our Design and Technology lessons, our IT lessons and our extra curricular provision for pupils. When given the chance to have a Mayku Formbox, we gave it to our gifted and talented Year 6 pupils to do as much damage as possible!
The form box was easy to set up, easy to connect up and came with everything you needed, apart from the hoover. The form box is clearly coloured, making it obvious to the pupils which bits were going to be needed to move and which bits probably weren’t to be touched when the machine is on. If it’s yellow, use it, if it isn’t, don’t touch.
Our boys had a great time working together to ensure the machine was correctly set up before testing it: the first time they had all heard of vacuum forming, seen vacuum forming and made their own vacuum formed product.
There was one slight hick-up with the machine, a problem not too big, but one of my pupils couldn’t get their head around. When setting up the machine, the vacuum hose at the back of the machine kept popping oﬀ. We solved this by simply gaﬀe taping the end of the hose to strengthen it slightly, and to add a couple of millimetres to its diameter. This made for a more snug fit and a tighter hold, with the hose only popping oﬀ very occasionally thereafter.
At the time we were contacted by CreateEducation, we were quickly running out of lesson time as the year was drawing to a close, and as all primary school teachers will know, summer term is a mad rush!
- Jungle Book Chocolate Treats for the Year 6 Play
- Packaging Year 4 Design and Technology Projects
- Modrock Masks in the pupils’ Art Lessons
Having unboxed the Mayku, set the machine up and tested it, the Year 6 DT Club was keen to get making some edible treats. With the Year 6 play coming up, the pupils immediately wanted to make some chocolates that could be sold before the play and during the interval. The boys had already designed and made cookie cutters on TinkerCAD for the JungleBook production and so moulded chocolates seemed like the next step.
The main project that the Mayku FormBox was used for, was our Year 4 curriculum project where pupils were studying plastics and Computer Aided Design/ Manufacture vs traditional manufacturing methods. Pupils were tasked with designing and making a keyring out of acrylic: one that was made in the workshop by themselves and the other that was Laser cut. Once they had done this and evaluated the diﬀerence in methods, outcome etc they get stuck into designing some packaging. This year, with the introduction of the Mayku FormBox, we took our packaging designs to the next level, creating vacuum formed packaging in an eﬀort to reduce the quantity of plastic used. A very worthwhile set of learning points for the pupils as they move forward as product designers.
Finally, DT Club, supported our Art teacher, Mr Minta, by lending him a hand preparing templates for pupils making Modroc face masks. The boys used the Dremel 3D45 to print a face, before vacuum forming many templates that pupils could then use to structure their face mask around.
The Formbox is a super piece of kit that was an excellent addition to these projects, but also to our Makerspace during the summer term. The machine allowed the pupils to quickly create the templates for Mr Minta’s art lessons, allowing them to take more control of their lesson preparation as well as giving them an insight into the behind the scenes life of each project. Year 4 pupils could develop their knowledge of design and how, if we selected the correct design and manufacturing technique, we could produce an environmentally safer product/package. Year 6 could enjoy edible treats and have their first experience of food technology and learn how 3D printing/vacuum forming can influence the food industry.
The machine worked exactly as it said it did, with perfect timing and heater settings advised in the handbooks, perfect suction and sealing for the vacuum to work eﬀectively. However, being picky, there was one issue with the Mayku FormBox that did make the machine more suited to pupils aged 10+ as opposed to our Year 4 boys who struggled to use the machine independently. My younger pupils struggled to lower the heated sheet down to the vacuum plate in a controlled manner. With the sheet locking to the top of the machine when being heated, the force to release it and bring it back down required all the strength they had. This meant that when they had carefully lined up their product or print it was often moved when the sheet came down. The panels with the heated sheet in came crashing down often bouncing back up slightly and producing some failed forms. This issue was worked around as I released the sheet from its locked position, and the pupils then took over.
To conclude, the machine was a perfect addition to our Makerspace for the time we had it. We experienced two minor issues, that were both easily sorted, with the main issue being that the machine worked brilliantly, and my pupils were simply not quite old enough to use it independently. The Mayku Formbox was fool proof, set up, tested and used by pupils in Year 6 with virtually no direction or support. A remarkable piece of kit that is portable but powerful.
Thank you to CreateEducation for giving our pupils the opportunity to use it.