Building things from metal can seem intimidating—metal just feels so much more permanent than, say, wood, and with the all the sparks and pressurized cylinders, it seems like just a matter of time before you blow up your shop. But once you know your way around a few key tools, you'll be amazed at how simple metalwork can be. Case in point: the plasma cutter. This small, relatively inexpensive machine has one dial, no cumbersome gas tanks, and can zip through any conductive material faster than a jigsaw through pine. It's also basically a sci-fi machine made real (c'mon, it slices through steel with hafnium and air!). And since they're for sale in most big-box home stores, you can even put one on your X-mas list. Master this, and your metal creations can take on just about any shape you want.