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With industrial strength and digital smarts, go beyond prototyping and start manufacturing right from your desktop.
With industrial strength and digital smarts, go beyond prototyping and start manufacturing right from your desktop.
390 backers pledged $213,146 to help bring this project to life.
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    • 日本語
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Vaquform: The World's First Digital Desktop Vacuum Former



What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

Project supporting material callout image

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

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Vacuum forming redesigned for the modern maker

How is Vaquform 'digital'?

It goes far beyond the LCD interface. Vaquform brings high-end process control to desktop vacuum forming, turning it into a smart appliance fit for a modern engineering lab, design office, or artist studio.

Power like no other

Vaquform has an exclusively designed hybrid vacuum unit that combines high airflow and high vacuum. Speed and power. It delivers the kind of results you normally see with thermoformers that cost thousands of dollars.

Comparison of vacuum units
Comparison of vacuum units

4X stronger than a vacuum cleaner

A vacuum cleaner's pressure maxes out at around -3 PSI.

Vaquform's two-stage hybrid system begins with a high speed impeller that removes about 90% of the air from under the plastic sheet. Like a vacuum cleaner, it maxes out around -3 PSI. But then a secondary vacuum takes over, squeezing out the remaining air at -12.8 PSI. 

Stage 1: High airflow / Low vacuum.

Stage 2: Low airflow / High vacuum.

In other words: Suck fast. Squeeze Hard.

The benefit?  Sharp details and tight corners like no other vacuum former under $5000 can deliver. Definitely well beyond any vacuum-cleaner-powered rig.

Vaquform knows plastics

Vaquform is the first thermoformer that uses heating profiles and an IR probe to monitor plastic. This ensures consistent results, part after part.

Some machines have a timer to aid the user. But even then he will have to observe the plastic ripple and breathe, and decide whether the plastic is ready or not.

Vaquform does not guesstimate. It knows.

  • It knows how hot the material is as it's being heated up, up to 0.1°C precision.
  • It knows what temperature it needs to be at, thanks to its internal database of heating profiles
  • And when it's at the right temperature, it alerts you and switches the vacuum on automatically
Vaquform's current library of heating profiles
Vaquform's current library of heating profiles

To use Vaquform, simply pick the profile that matches your material from its LCD menu and press START.

And because Vaquform is monitoring the process, you don't need to stand around. Go ahead and do something else nearby if you wish. It's the only thermoformer that allows you to multitask. 

See Vaquform in Action

See how Vaquform has been used so far and find inspiration for your own projects. Click the image to watch the video.

3D Printing + Vacuum Forming = MFEO* 

*Made For Each Other

Making custom packaging for upcycled cassette MP3 players

It's another great example of how Vaquform can be used with a 3D printer and a CNC router.

Using Play-Doh and foam core to make food molds

Making props and cosplay pieces for a Halloween event

Vaquform pays for itself when you use it for your fabrication gigs

Industrial design students prototyping coffee lid designs in class

Learn the principles of good design by bringing a Vaquform to the classroom, rather than taking the class to a vacuformer.

See Vaquform's power as it pulls a 2mm ABS sheet tightly around a skull

This is where Vaquform outclasses any vacuum former that calls itself compact.

Anything can be used as a mold. Even pineapples and pens.

Technical Specifications

Choose your reward

 Project roadmap  

We're in the final stages of preparing for manufacturing. That's means we're validating every aspect of the design with our manufacturers, making minor revisions as needed, to get things just right.

For some components, we've gone ahead and started tooling up. A successful fundraising campaign will give us the capital infusion needed to follow through with our production plan. 

Our target is to be able to deliver the first two batches of Vaquforms by the 4th quarter of 2017, or earlier, fingers-crossed.

John Tan, CEO of Vaquform, Inc, is a lifelong maker and tinkerer. He studied mathematics before pursing his studies in product design. He identifies himself as an industrial designer but in practice his expertise covers end-to-end product development, which includes industrial design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing. He has led projects for the Department of Science and Technology and the Design Center of the Philippines. Nine years ago John accepted an invitation to teach at the University of the Philippines in Manila, where he has been 'trying to infect students' with his passion for design and entrepreneurship. John is also a father of two boys who seem to have inherited his thirst for knowledge.

Vaquform's co-founders, Elisa Sy and Melissa Yeung, have similar backgrounds. Both run large organizations that manufacture widely distributed consumer brands. John invited them to join his startup for their management acumen and ability to get things done. Elisa is Vaquform's COO and Melissa is the CFO.

Risks and challenges

My greatest fear when I decided to go forward with this campaign wasn't that we'd fall short of our funding goal, but that we would blow way past it that the project becomes an unwieldy behemoth. I've seen how massively successful campaigns have faltered under the weight of their own hype.

Prototyping was straightforward given my experience in product development. We've had a validated one since July. That was the easy part. The hard part was assembling my team and plotting out a solid manufacturing plan that we could execute. And that is what has kept me and my team busy these past five months.

We're confident and excited, but at the same time we know very well from experience, that things can and do go wrong.

So we're being conservative. We're going to start slow, work out all of the production and logistical kinks, before going full throttle.

Batches 1 and 2 will be small. That's intentional. We've also set the delivery date of our first shipment in the 4th quarter of 2017, even though internally we're on a more aggressive timeline. As they say: Under promise; over deliver.

You've given your trust and support. That's something we value greatly. So we promise to keep you in the loop. You'll hear from us whenever we reach a milestone, and more importantly, when we experience a setback.

We're excited and optimistic. For joining us in this journey, our heartfelt thanks to you all.

John Tan

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Funding period

- (30 days)

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