This is my first post ever. Since buying my first Arduino Uno earlier this year, I have been kicking myself for not finding this sooner.
After I got my head around schematics and the various possibilities, I set out to build myself a Vacuum forming machine.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_forming
It is remarkable how many compatible devices are available on eBay to build whatever you desire.
Armed with my CC I bought the basic shield, breadboard, cables, various leds, relays, and transformers.
This would become the foundation on which I added pneumatic solenoids, 300mm air cylinders, a vacuum, and heater.
Now I am in the process of adding switches and assembling all the equipment onto a frame before setting up an automatic cycle for the first time.
I expect this machine to be used often. Maybe in its lifetime I expect 5000 plastic forms which will make all the effort worth while.
I'll be posting photos and schematics for everyone to see and comment on regularly.