Casting, Packaging & Branding

Facility: RI Mobile Maker Lab (RI MML)

Program: Introduction to Product Casting, Packaging & Branding


Instruction: Seth Wiseman (

Technician: Chase Reynolds (

Program Description:

Targeting three hours of experiential learning, students will produce a single, handheld product cast from a teacher specified material. Leveraging advanced technologies, students will translate personal brands or symbols into a plug mold for use in the vacuum forming process. Utilizing a small, tabletop vacuum form, students will produce one-off molds for use in casting a finished part in a specified material: plaster, wax, soap, etc. Each part will be packaged in a laser cut, plywood box & branded with vinyl decals created on the knife cutter. Boxes maybe finished at student discretion after completion of the program.


Students should come to the Lab with personal brand ideas, symbols, patterns, etc.


*Note: The intent is for students to work concurrently at the stations below. At some point throughout the process slowdowns & bottlenecks may occur requiring patience & teamwork.

Course Learning Outcomes:

  • Ability to translate design ideas to physical form

  • Ability to utilize CNC router, 3D printer, laser cutter and/or knife cutter

  • Understanding of vacuum forming process

  • Understanding of the need to identify & solve problems for product development & fabrication

  • Understanding of complex manufacturing processes & work flow


Station One: Plug Mold

Technology: CNC Router, 3D Printer or Laser Cutter


Description: Utilizing the technology noted above, students should translate & integrate their    personal brand ideas into the appropriate software platform for output on the corresponding device. Designs should not exceed 3in x 3in (x&Y) x 2in (z). Additionally, any & all overhangs must be eliminated in preparation for vacuum forming. As this may be many students first experience with vacuum forming, students should be prepared for experimentation & prototyping.

Station Two: Vacuum Forming

Technology: Vacuum Former + Shop Vac

Description: Utilizing the desktop vacuum former, students will produce one-off plastic molds for later use in the casting process. Plug molds may require a mold release agent (baby powder, silicon, etc) to aid the decoupling process.

*Note: The more complicated the mold (design), the more challenging the decoupling process.  

Station Three: Plywood Box

Technology: Laser Cutter


Description: Referencing the overall scale of your finished part, determine the size of your packaging. Include the necessary tolerance to ensure your object will fit. Utilizing, develop a cut file for the laser cutter specifying the unit of measure, overall dimensions (interior or exterior), material thickness, edge joints (finger), tab dimension, etc. Please download your file to a thumb drive or be prepared to input your parameters on the appropriate PC for output on the laser.


*Note: It may be necessary to glue the boxes together. In order to create a lid students have two simple options: remove slotted panel or cut the box into two separate pieces (tablesaw).

Station Four: Casting

Technology: Hot Plate (optional)


Description: As finished parts, students will be casting plaster, wax, or soap, etc into their vacuum formed molds. Depending on the selected material, students should apply mold release to ensure their parts can be removed from the mold. Patience is required once the casting process is underway.

Station Five: Branding Decals

Technology: Knife Cutter


Description: Referencing the personal brand ideas developed for Station One, translate those ideas to 2D in preparation for output as vinyl decals or stencils. For rudimentary output, students may utilize manufacturer supplied content to customize their plywood boxes. For those students who have software expertise, we will import vector-based files (DXF, AI, etc) into the knife cutter software.

*Note: Students can apply the decals as a finished solution or utilize the decals as stencil for spray finishing.

Multi-Step Flower Fabrication

Composite Carbon/Glass Fiber Plaques


Packaging & Branding

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