This was one of the few Thingmaker toys that I was unaware of until I started this web page. Evidently the history of the thingmaker toys dates was back to the Vacuform. For those of you who had a deprived childhood and never got the opportunity to burn your fingers on melting sheets of plastic, let me tell you all about it. The Vacuform was Mattel's first 'make and play' toy. It was a large machine with a heating element (the same as in a Thingmaker) and had a big swinging arm that held tiny sheets of thin plastic. The toy came with many tiny black plastic objects that you could vacuform and you would place then on the opposite side of the machine. This side of the machine had a hole in the bottom and a hand pump bellows to sick air from the area. You would heat up the plastic on the right.. Then,at just the right second (cause if you waited a second too long the plastic would melt) flip the arm with the hot plastic sheet over the bellows section and pump the handle like crazy. If it worked the air would be sucked from beneath the plastic and the hot plastic would be forced to stretch around the shape you had placed there.
The VacuMaker took this one step further by adding molds and goop you could now create rubber legs for you hard shelled insects. They kit even came wit a turtle body goop mold and hard shell vacuform mold. Needless to say this is one of the most elaborate, and hard to find, of the ThingMaker toys I have digitized picture of some of these creatures which someone was kind enough to send. I'm really loosing track of who sends me what. This set also came with the 'bug' bottle of goop. Many of the molds used in this set found their way, in some revised form or another, into the first of the 'traditional' Thingmaker toys The Creepy Crawler set.
I have also recently seen some notes about some expansion packs for this toy, but have yet to see what form of package they came in. There were at least three sets produced. As I find out more I will add it here.