A desktop vacuum former on Kickstarter will complete any craft space

If you’re a craftsman, there is a good chance you have a 3D printer and CNC milling machine or router, but do you have a vacuum former?

For those unfamiliar with it, vacuum forming is a process in which you take a plastic sheet, heat it up to soften it, and then apply air pressure so that it conforms to a mold. What you end up with is a hard plastic object with an imprint of whatever mold you used it with.

It’s exciting — and useful — stuff, although like many tools it requires a bit of expertise to use. For that reason, if you want something vacuum formed, you will probably wind up handing it over to a technician rather than doing it yourself. That is what a new Kickstarter project, for the so-called Vaquform, wants to change.

Vaquform claims to add digital smarts to the regular vacuum forming mix. This includes an infrared probe that monitors the temperature of your plastic sheet down to 0.1-degree Celcius precision. Not only does this mean you don’t have to stand there watching the whole time but it also ensures that every repeat part you make is perfectly consistent.

In addition, there are presets designed to make your job easier, regardless of which material type and thickness you choose and a few other smart features thrown in for good measure.

desktop vacuum former kickstarter hero 3

The result is a nifty desktop machine that will benefit any craftsman.

“I’m an industrial designer and I’ve used 3D printing a lot in my work,” creator and Vaquform CEO John Tan told Digital Trends. “A common pain point with 3D printing is how slow the process is — particularly if you’re manufacturing more than one of an object. One possibility with this tool is that, rather than creating your finished product on a 3D printer, why not instead print your mold with the 3D printer and then use the vacuum former to create your final piece? That way you make the process of reproduction a lot faster.”

With 24 days still to go, Vaquform has already more than doubled its $60,000 funding goal. Prices for a Vaquform desktop vacuum former and material pack start at $599, with shipping set to take place in  October.

It’s certainly made quite the impression on us. (Get it?)

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Computing

HP spring sale: Save up to 58 percent on laptops, desktops, printers, and more

From now until March 23, the HP spring sale lets you take as much as 58 percent off of a huge range of laptops, desktop PCs, printers, and more, potentially saving you more than $1,000. We’ve rounded up a dozen of the best deals right…
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Deals

Walmart slices price on Canon ImageClass MF232W Wi-Fi laser printer

If you don’t need color printing, a monochrome laser printer like the Canon ImageClass MF232W can save you a lot of time and money. This beefy all-in-one Wi-Fi printer is on sale from Walmart for almost half off, letting you score it for…
Emerging Tech

Desk lamps take on a new task by converting their light to power

What if we could charge devices using light from indoor sources like desk lamps? A group of scientists working on a technology called organic photovoltaics (OPVs) aim to do just that.
Emerging Tech

Body surrogate robot helps people with motor impairments care for themselves

A team from Georgia Tech has come up with an assistant robot to help people who have severe motor impairments to perform tasks like shaving, brushing their hair, or drinking water.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

New Hubble image displays dazzling Messier 28 globular cluster

Messier 28 is a group of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius, located 18,000 light-years from our planet. Thousands of stars are packed tightly together in this sparkling image.
Emerging Tech

Cosmic dust bunnies: Scientists find unexpected ring around Mercury

A pair of scientists searching for a dust-free region near the Sun have made an unexpected discovery: a vast cosmic dust ring millions of miles wide around the tiny planet Mercury.
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.