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The Phlatformer is a hobby vacuum- forming machine that quick-melts 10″ square plastic sheets into form-hugging shapes. Originally built for R/C modelers to make identical, lightweight body parts, it has many uses; for example, I plan to form custom holders to display my raygun collection. The kit’s parts and thoughtful extras never skimp on quality, and include everything except a vacuum cleaner and a hot plate — I use a Rival S11P 11″ skillet from Wal-Mart ($20). The DVD build guide can be supplemented with the active forum at, and although there are lot of parts, most of them are self-indexing and more or less impossible to assemble incorrectly.

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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