For the Vacuum Former, I feel a DIY approach would be better.
A simple vacuum box using a shop-vac seems like the easiest route for forming
For heating the plastic, an insulated box with a quartz heater seems like a safe and simple solution
Like this: https://youtu.be/maH5Ech0wK8?t=3m31s
Using a timer switch can prevent the heater from inadvertently being left running too long: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Westek-15-Min-In-Wall-Countdown-Timer-White-TMSW15MW/203675434
Placing the heater overhead of the plastic would improve the safety, since the plastic would be unable to drip onto the heater
For a more polished design, these seem like good plans: http://www.build-stuff.com/ (Used by Adam Savage on Mythbusters)
Generally nichrome wire arranged on an insulator, but there may be other ways to improvise. Not very safe I suppose, without a protective grid of some kind. I think something could be done with quartz heating tubes (a la cheap infrared heaters) or possibly even high output halogen worklight bulbs.