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Old Dec 27, 2015, 06:25 AM
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Good Foam For Building

My boy has recently taken an interest in designing and building planes, partially inspired and using similar methods to the Flite Test models.

The foam board they use isn't available in the UK coupled with he's been given a really nice foam cutter for Xmas but it won't go through the paper on foam board.

Are there any other types of foam he can use or is he better off sending the foam cutter back and putting his money towards something else, the vendor say's it's fine to do a refund.

I saw a suggestion a while back (Can't find the thread again now) about using Depron but there were some plus points and negatives as well but can't remember what they were.
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 07:12 AM
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Depron has been used for years ...
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 08:56 AM
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I use foam to hold my hotglue
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Some of the foamboard you can peel the paper off. Give it a try. Not much to lose if it doesn't work.

Gord.
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 09:11 AM
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In the UK, Depron is probably the best choice. It is flattest, best finish foam board, and for some reason less expensive in UK than most anywhere in the world even though made in Germany. I could send you some Model Plane Foam, but with shipping it will cost more than you can get Depron for locally.

Not knowing what "foam cutter" he has, I would suggest that a sharp craft knife and straight edge is all one needs to cut most any foam. The "snap off blade" type are popular, and readily available at the pound stores (if I remember the UK equivalent of US dollar stores). Xacto hobby knives with replaceable blades are probably available at hobby stores and craft stores, and do great with foams. The key is a sharp edge and a two or three stroke cut. Don't try cutting all way through the foam sheet in one pass, but do a scoring cut to break the skin (or paper) then deepen the cut and finish with a through cut. It will go surprisingly fast once you get the method down.

There is no particular advantage to paper skins. Yes it does stiffen, but doubles the weight (or more) and when it buckles in a crash makes an essentially un- repairable weak spot. Flitetest and the rest of us use dollar store foam because it's cheap, a buck a sheet, not because it is the best foam.
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Last edited by springer; Dec 27, 2015 at 09:16 AM. Reason: typos
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 10:29 AM
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I use foam to hold my hotglue
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Yep, Great for experimenting with. If it doesn't work, you havn't lost a H of a lot.

Gord.
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 10:38 AM
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Be careful though, once you build and fly your first foamie you will be buying foam in bulk....it's waaay too addictive my friend.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eolson View Post
Be careful though, once you build and fly your first foamie you will be buying foam in bulk....it's waaay too addictive my friend.

Good luck and keep us posted!
Ain't that the truth.
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by eolson View Post
Be careful though, once you build and fly your first foamie you will be buying foam in bulk....it's waaay too addictive my friend.

Good luck and keep us posted!

I know, I've garage full of them

I've been flying for years but always bought ones like the Multiplex Parkmaster and Acromaster, it's my son who's suddenly taken a huge interest in designing and building them and he wants to study Aeronautical Engineering ........... I'll volunteer as test pilot

I'll see if I can get a pic of the 1st he's built and post it, somehow need to work out CoG as well.

The Depron, is it best in 3 or 6mm, I think I saw someone said they'd covered it in clear packing tape to reinforce it, is that necessary ???

Cheers for everyone's help though, much appreciated!!!!!
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 04:00 PM
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Tryhttp://www.depronfoam.co.uk/
I have just bought a pack from them and they are very good. I have been using 6mm for the fame and skinning with 3mm or 2mm.
Covering with tape makes them really strong. Tighten up the tape using a hair dryer on the hot setting makes them look even better and stronger.
Many are moving to this material because its cheaper than balsa. Just requires a different building technique.
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 05:34 PM
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I used to use the paper covered board but it was a pain removing the paper (not easy peal off).

I use 6 mm and after someone imported a box from springer and I ended up buying possibly half of his box and have since bought a box for myself. Freight is expensive but cost per sheet is still lower than locally supplied board of any type.

I use snap-off bladed knives (note more than 2 - where did I put it? Oh well, use this one.) and a metre long steel ruler for getting a straight edge on a plank of foam or cutting a long wing panel. A 12" steel ruler for short pieces.

Re-inforcing using bamboo kebab sticks, often split as half thickness will be strong enough.

Glue - polyurethane, not too much and scrape the foaming bits, squeezing out of the edges, off ~1 hour after applying and before it hardens too much. Have a tray of sewing pins for holding things together while the glue is drying.

I hope you have a large storage area for all of the planes that will get built. Search for "storage methods".
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 07:31 PM
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Yup, all that and don't forget the masking tape - clamp, vise, foaming suppression!
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Old Dec 27, 2015, 08:32 PM
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Hot glue held together by foam
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Another RCG member in the UK gets foam board from this place:

http://www.foam-board.co.uk/
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Old Dec 28, 2015, 02:26 AM
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The available foam boards, paper covered type, I think are all graphic artist boards, high quality, high in cost and much too heavy to use with the Flitetest method builds...
They have thick paper surfaces which are glued on.. its a right pain to get the paper off...
Ive not been able to find the dollar tree type... the dollar boards use thin paper which is not glued on, it is heat pressed on in the manufacture and is easily removed...

but ive not seen the foam-board.co.uk product.. from its price its not a high quality art board... and that could be what you want, a cheap board is not going to have the heavyweight paper.... it may even be the cheap dollar board... find a user and send him a message for some info...
despite its low cost

Our cheapest foams are uncovered..
We have the hard extruded polystyrene type... ie: Depron.. sold in much bigger sheets at the same price as the foamboard products
and flexible EPP... polypropylene based..
They use slightly different build techniques , compared to Flitetest.. which work just as nicely..

depron , available from http://www.depron.co.uk/ is the cheapest
EPP , is available from http://shop.flying-dog.co.uk/ and is at least twice the cost of depron..

depron is used for most model builds.. its water proof, hard and a bit brittle,, it tends to crack on impacts, but can be made very strong using tape and more than one layer of foam... see the KF builds...
EPP is a favorite for indoor fliers and smaller models that you want to be bounce proof..
EPP will soak up water to a large amount, which is why I use it for my indoor models

ref: the foam cutter... you will do better to take it back and then purchase some other bits.... a craft (hot melt)cool glue gun with cool glue sticks, scalpels , steel rules, uhu por (foam safe)glue.. 2"coloured tapes from staples... they will be of more use...
cut the foam with a sharp scalpel or craft knife... the life of the blades can be prolonged by re-sharpening..
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Old Dec 28, 2015, 05:43 AM
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Thanks for everyone's help, there's a load of really useful info there!!!

He's decided to keep the cutter as well as he also wants to make some display models and we took the paper off of the board and seems like that could be quite a good alternative, even if some parts that need to be stronger are built with the paper and some without ....... it also sounds like a switch to Depron may be better so again whilst a lot can be done with a knife / steel rule it's nice to be able to put a really nice angle on the edge of the wings / some joins etc.

It was a useful suggestion for all of the other bits but the vast majority I already have and he was given a decent glue gun as well as one of his other presents.

Once again thanks to all and happy building :-)
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Old Dec 28, 2015, 06:58 AM
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Witt , just be aware that almost any foam can be made to work for building airplanes , even in various combinations ... Best experiment , follow the successful leads of others, and be ”creative" .
Foam , being a homogenous material (no grain, like wood) , you can just cut out a damaged area and easily replace it with a new piece ... so build simple , build Light ( you don’t need to reinforce that which requires no reinforcing) , and most of all Have FUN !!! Since we started here (some time ago) we tried every foam we could find . Most all turned out to work fine for intended purpose . 10X more Thrifty than Balsa ...

We have had great Luck finding (salvage) foam EPP (beaded foam) blocks and then hot wire gravity slicing thin sheets from that . That works too and is free for the looking (check the skip).

Ps. Take care !!! Depron gets quite brittle at low (freezing) temperatures ... and will “shatter” upon hard impact ..

Good luck !!
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