Plastics & Heat-Forming

Turn your 2D ideas into 3D reality.


Plastics and heat-forming does not require authorization. Be mindful to avoid burns when using the heatbender and vacuum formers, and wear a respirator when working with hot foam cutters or any heated plastics.

Our Plastic Forming Tools

FS-48 FTM Heat Bender

  • 48″ x 1″ free standing heating element
  • Useful for melting and deforming PVC pipe, thermoplastics, and plastic sheeting for shaping and forming

Desktop Vacuum Former

  • 4″ x 4″ vacuum area
  • Useful for replicating small prop items

Makyu FormBox

  • 7.87″ x 7.87″ vacuum area
  • Useful for vacuum-forming larger objects

Thermocut 115/E Precision Foam Cutter

  • 15″ x 10″ x 6″ cut area
  • Useful for creating detailed, precise cuts in insulation foam, soundproofing foam, and styrofoam

Amazon Basics Laminator

  • Basic laminator for protecting letter-sized sheets of paper

Genesis Dual-Temp Heat Gun

  • Useful for melting and bending foam and plastic, as well as drying paint and curing fabric inks
  • Has two settings, one for 572 degrees Fahrenheit and the other for 1000 degrees Fahrenheit

Provided Materials and Software

Available Materials

  • 12″ x 12″ plastic sheets for vacuum forming
  • Makyu Form and Cast sheets
  • Laminator pouches
  • Various styrofoams

Machine Instructions

If you need a refresher after your workshop, visit our Machine Instructions page for workshop syllabi.

Overnight 3D Printing

In order to keep our 3D printers available for daytime use, we request that students submit any prints longer than 3 hours to us for overnight printing.


As a reminder, the IRL is not a print shop, and overnight prints occur as a courtesy to students. We cannot guarantee successful prints every time due to the finicky nature of 3D printing. Please submit any homework assignments as early as possible to ensure you get your project done in time.


Note: We will only fulfill your overnight print request if it exceeds 3 hours of printing time. In addition, we can’t print anything larger than the bed sizes of our printers, so check that before you submit. 

Send us your overnight prints here.