A charmingly simple flat-pack DIY rotational moulder.
I spotted this flat-pack roto moulder from Studio Myfirst on Core77 and was so intrigued I decided to do an interview with one of the designers, Andy. Rotational moulders are usually huge, enormously expensive machines that are used to make hollow castings so this device is amazing in many different ways. As I mentioned, it flat-packs, but it’s also elegantly simple, operated by human power, and for sale for only about US$320. Oh yeah, it actually works.
Check out previous coverage of rotationally moulded shoes along with another example of a DIY roto moulder.
This interview has been edited slightly for clarity.
How is the roto molder manufactured? Your site says that the roto moulder “flat packs.” Is it cut from a single sheet of plywood?
“The machines are CNC routed from a single sheet of birch plywood, a single sheet of 8×4 allows us to cut 8 machines with minimal waste. A lot of the detail you see on the base of the machine is there to make this possible. Other processes were used including laser cutting (pulley guards) and CNC Lathe (All rods, counter weights and grip knobs) with around 80% of all parts being manufactured specifically for our machines.”
Your video and images all seem to show the roto moulder with one mold. Does this come with the moulder? Can it also be used with other moulds?
“The myfirst roto moulder comes complete with a sample mould which is visible in the photographs. The sample mould is for the user to try out the process and begin to understand its possibilities. The machines were designed to take moulds of all different shapes and sizes (maximum size 340mm x 340mm). The sample mould is a great way to demonstrate the machine and its process but we encourage users to create their own moulds. Moulds can be made from a range of different materials including- Silicone rubber, fiber glass, resin, plaster, aluminum and even rapid prototyped moulds can be produced.”
Your site mentions that the moulder uses cold-set resins. Do you recommend any in particular?
“The resin we recommend using is named ‘Easy flow 120’ which is a fast cast easy flowing 2 part resin, this is available from www.mouldlife.co.uk.”
Is there anything else you want to say about the roto moulder?
“The myfirst roto moulder was designed as a tool that could educate its users about the rotational moulding process. We wanted the machine to be flat pack so the user could have full control in assembling the product with the added convenience of storage.
We designed it to be used and experimented with, we believe in getting involved and trying new things. We hope that designers, model makers, artists and creatives alike can really push this process and create great things.”