Once I decided to make the Lucidity effects practical I knew some custom tools would be needed. First and most important is going to be a vacuum forming machine.

The principle of it is simple, you get a sheet of plastic hot enough to be elastic then use a vacuum to force it into whatever shape you are looking for.

There are a lot of instructions on DYI systems, but after about 3 days of looking I found one I really liked.

XRobots design is large, simple, and efficient. As soon as I saw it I knew it was my best shot so I started getting the parts the very next day.

I had almost none of what I needed so I picked up:

3 pieces of particle board each 2 feet square.
a 3/4 inch metal floor flange
a tube of silicone caulk

I’m not very good at measurements so I made a pattern in illustrator before I started


I broke it into 8 paper size parts for printing


And used a back-lit table to line it all up and tape it together.


It fit nicely to the board, but I made a mistake by not taping it down well enough.


The idea was to make a pattern so the holes would be as machined as possible but unfortunately it came loose while drilling making the middle a little more random then I would like, but not too much to redo it.

I could have used a pegboard for this layer by the way, but drilling holes in the particle board doesn’t take long and makes the whole setup stronger.


The next board is a frame to give a pocket to evenly draw the air through. It’s about three inches thick on the boarders and the reason the holes don’t go all the way to the edge.


The design I’m using didn’t call for a flange, I got that from another version found on instructables.


I admit at almost 10 dollars this part is a luxury. The seal doesn’t have to be as perfect as I made it, but I knew if I installed it I would never have a problem adapting any vacuum so I took the extra step.

I didn’t get any pictures of it but I screwed down each part to the next and used the caulk to permanently seal it together. As you can see with the flange I was very generous with how much I used, covering every grove and screw.


At this point the table is effectively complete. Had I put the flange closer to the edge I could put it on a counter top, but since I had extra parts from my pilot and helm build I put it in the middle and made it a stand alone unit.


Some rubber on the top to make a good seal with the (not yet built) frame and we’re done.


This project went from idea to complete in about half a day. I bought all the parts used (including the vacuum with a stop at goodwill) in the morning and had a finished product by afternoon.

Total cost was $53.17, but it can be made as cheap as 20 dollars if you skip the flange and use a vac you already have. (I didn’t have a vac powerful enough)

The next step is to make the frame the plastic sheet sits in, then the heating unit.

The heater will have to wait till next week, but the frame should be done tomorrow.

I’ll make a post on each when they are done, but if you want to see it all in action right now you can look at Xrobots complete build.

If you like what I’ve done here and want to try it, let me know. If there’s enough demand I’ll take the time to make my pattern into something you can download.