Mayku: a factory that fits on your kitchen table

Forming a cactus pot template
Forming a cactus pot template

Pick up the nearest object to you. Chances are, what you are holding is a jigsaw puzzle of pieces made all around the world. Take an iPhone: software – North Carolina; radio frequency – Oregon; audio chip – Texas; gorilla glass – California; minerals required to create colour screens, vibration units, circuitry, chipsets and batteries – Mongolia; dram & flash memory – Korea and Taiwan; gyroscope – France and Italy; assembly – China…

Overseas production is great when you want a mass produced product (and you don’t care about the environmental cost), but what happens when you only want ten? Local production is dead. In its place are multi-national chains that are a costly barrier to makers who are just starting out. Herein lies the problem which Mayku co-founders Alex Smilanksy and Benjamin Redford are on a mission to solve.

FormBox package
FormBox package

“Mayku” is part “maker” and part homage to a love for sleek Japanese design. The hardware startup is determined to put the power of making back into the hands of the little guys with a curious little device called a Formbox. The world’s first desktop factory, able to be powered by any household vacuum cleaner, uses plastic sheets to create a mould of, say, a banana, that can then be used to rapidly create a small yellow army, which can, in turn, be combined to create a state-of-the-art banana chandelier. Any material – chocolate, wax, silicone, plaster, water – can be used to create a collection using the FormBox.

Banana light
Banana light

Mayku is leveling the playing field. By providing easier access to manufacturing (and with plans for an online how-to library of products), they say “physically making things will be as simple as making toast.”

Products will be able to be made and re-made at minimal environmental cost and production time (typically drawn out due to shipping) will be significantly reduced. Mayku is already one step ahead as the Formbox, itself, has a smaller carbon footprint than the average laptop. Now the focus is on creating a machine that recycles the plastic sheets to keep the environmental impact low. In the interim, Mayku is working towards using biodegradable plastics and educating landfills on how to most effectively recycle the sheets.

Making an iPhone amplifier
Making an iPhone amplifier

Market saturation is an undeniable consequence of the FormBox, but Mayku has a refreshing perspective when it comes to competition.  

“The definition of creativity has changed due to the ability to re-make things,” Smilanksy told CreativeMornings/London at his talk at the Goldsmith Centre last October. From competition, comes constant improvement and unique ideas and we will see the industry continuing to evolve.

The Formbox is sold out through July 2017 but Mayku are currently accepting pre-orders for a Spring/Summer 2017 delivery ($399 + $30 shipping fee to all countries).

 

Alice Rich

Contributor

New Zealand-born Alice Rich is a newly-minted digital nomad. She loves getting involved in community projects and was a co-founder of CreativeMornings/Kuala Lumpur, a creative lecture series. A registered Personal Trainer, Alice loves anything active, particularly when there is mud involved. "My favourite aspect about London is Big Ben."

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