Step 3: Construction

Most any soft flexible plastic plate will work however, it should be a thicker reusable plate (2-3mm thick). Thin disposable plates are not structural enough
The type of plate used here is from a family of plastics known as Polyolefins.  Common grades are Plopropylene (PP) or High Density Polyethylene(HDPE).  (HDPE is the type of plastic used in milk jugs.)
Olefins are a soft, almost waxey feeling plastic. (Ref. Rubbermaid or Tupperware containers)  
Stiffer acrilic type plastic plates, which are more brittle, probably will not work.  They likely will will not form as well when heated.

1. Drill a hole in the plate.  
The starter hole is much smaller than the required finished diameter. The "Volcano" shape is formed during the process of stretching the starter hole.  Try various starter holes sizes to get a taller volcano draw depth (~3/4" dia for a plate to be used with a glass bottle)  
Experiment and customize with different hole sizes to accommodate different types of containers

2. Heat the center of the plate.
A hair dryer works well (only because I don't have a heat gun)  but, it could have used the higher tempatures of a heat gun to make the proceess faster.

The use of a torch to heat the plate is not recommended.  Too much heat, too fast.  You only want to soften the plastic to make it pliable.  A torch will take it to molten & scorched in no time.
If the plastic becomes too hot and approaches moltan rather than just softened, there is a good chance the plate will warp beyond use.  The hair dryer never got it hot enough to take it to that point however, becasue of the lower heat output, it took several minutes to sufficently soften the center of the plate.

3. Stretch the hole to form the "Volcano"
While continuing to heat the plate, push it down over a mandrel to stretch and form the volcano shape.  I used a glass long neck bottle as a mandrel.  For different size holes I used various long neck glass condiment bottles to stretch the hole and for one I even used a tapered shot glass.
- There will be some shrinkage as the plastic cools.  Leave the hot plate on the bottle as it cools to minimize this.

4. Finish the hole edge
While a hair dryer / heat gun was used to soften the plastic plate for forming, a torch can be use for a finishing touch.
Carefully, and quickly, pass a torch flame over the raw edge of the volcano rim.  This will deburr, and round the hard square edges of the cut hole. The torch will add a finished soft edge to the hole but, care must be taken with the torch or the extreme heat will, melt, warp or make other areas of the plastic shiny.

Very impressed with the concept and execution. This deserves to be made commercially. <br>Pop over to www.qwirky.com and I bet they would love the volcano plate.<br>I look forward to hearing that it made you a million on QVC.<br>
<p>clever and clear instructable.</p>
Where find the plate?
Y may try this
Amazingly simple and incredibly useful!
That's an awesome idea!
very clever and clear instructable.
Wow, I love this! This is soooo cool.
Outstanding. Should have won first place in the contest. Boo judges! Love you bottle stove as well. Keep em coming matey.
I like it, but i would use a longer straw so i dont have to put my face in my food for a sip.
This has to be one of the most useful ideas I've seen in a long time. I could see having these for parties as there is never enough room to set your drink down and plate of food.
Very clever idea, and thorough instructions- good one!!<br>
Just had a thought- Could I use a super large frizbee for the plate ? Yea! I'm getting one ASAP and making me one! Awesome Dude! You saved my picnic bacon!
Nice little project, and far more effective than spontaneously evolving into something with three hands that is entirely unable to drink coffee.
I have a hunch that sometime in the future we'll be seeing an infomercial hawking this on television at 3AM in the morning.
I just love this instructable. So, so clever. Can't wait to try it out.
This is just brilliant. I am awestruck. Parties don't have to limited to table seating anymore.
Very cool! This is brilliant!
Very clever idea. You have my vote. I was going to enter something, but not now. Easy to make, inexpensive, inovative, practical, reusable (Green), and I'm sure there are other words to describe this. Good Luck and hope you win.
I love it. I love everything about it, and I love your entire write up of the process. Everything about this is positive, there isn't one single negative that I can think of.<br><br>BRILLIANT!
I like this a lot. It IS something I've seen commercially available, but I'd always prefer to make/repurpose things myself. I like this idea for customizing the plates to fit my favorite reusable water bottles.
This is terrific and fairly simple to make - I think I've found this year's Christmas gifts!
Use a longer straw unless you want your face in the potato salad!
You've got my vote. Nice one!
Brilliant. <br>But, shoving your face into a red hot burger while trying to grab the straw with your teeth could be painful. <br>This would obviously only happen after a few beers though!! <br>And you'd only do it once.
I can hear it now...<br>Hi! Anthony Sullivan here for the Volcano Plate. The only plate that manages all of your outdoor eating essentials, with one hand!
But wait! if you buy now, we'll send you a free set of sporfs, the all in one spoon-knife-fork utensil!
so simple, yet so smart. patent it before someone else does!
Very good idea!
love it, now i want one, well done
This is absolutely brilliant!
Seriously, this could be your million dollar idea. The best inventions are the types that make people slap their forehead and go &quot;Why didn't I think of that!&quot;.
Very Cool! You got my vote!
you should apply for a patent on this idea before someone else does.
you get the innovator of the year award. and you put it on instructables. <br> -APPLAUSE and other forms of cheering!-
I know what I'm doing when I get home :) Awesome idea and great execution!!
brilliant, as always
Brilliant!!!!!!! Stellar! 10/10 I clicked on &quot;Best Ever!&quot;
This is a fantastic idea! I'll be looking into making plates like that for picnics.<br>Thanks for the inspiration!<br><br>Also: bonus points for the very cool title ;-)
This is really cool! My family grills alot, and we use the entire table for the food, so there is only one spot to load your plate and get a drink, and this could make the process much easier.

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