My dome for Robby the Robot dome is about 2/3 of a vacuum forming project (or “vacuum forming without the vacuum”). There’s a sheet of plexiglass that’s heated up, it’s pulled over a mold/plug, and then… nothing. That’s because the shape doesn’t require a vacuum.

Recently, I met Aarti Le Rouge, who is the owner/founder of Le Rouge Chocolates in Westport, CT. She wanted to help Builders Beyond Borders with a fundraiser by making B3-logo-branded chocolate bars. The challenge was, she needed a mold for the bars. How could I not help someone whose name is an anagram of “Atari”? Enter vacuum forming (with food-safe plastic, of course)!

I designed a few models and 3D printed them, and we used Aarti’s small Mayku FormBox (she is quite the maker herself) to create test molds. That process was… OK. But the small machine could only make a mold for a single bar. Aarti needs to make dozens (hundreds?) of bars. Enter the FormTech 508DT. With help from Mike Altis and the IdeaLab at Sacred Heart University, I was able to make multiple 6-bar molds which will greatly speed up the production process. Now to sit back and wait for the first taste-samples to come in!

Did I mention Aarti is hand-painting a beautiful glaze on every bar?