|View Poll Results: How much foam do you consume?|
|1 bundle or less per year||83||33.88%|
|1-2 bundles per year||98||40.00%|
|2-6 bundles per year||42||17.14%|
|1-2 bundles per month||7||2.86%|
|2-4 bundles per month||4||1.63%|
|4 or more bundles per month||11||4.49%|
|Voters: 245. You may not vote on this poll|
|Nov 03, 2011, 09:39 AM|
Model Plane Foam the Story and Product
I am updating the title and purpose of this particular thread. We have gone far beyond the "Market Research" phase to the point that a new business/supply venture has been created. I have more or less preserved the content of the original post for those who deem the information as valuable.
Posts #1 - #512 Tell the story that led to the creation of Model Plane Foam Inc.
Posts #513 onward the discussion turns to the availability and review of the product.
Link to purchase product is here Model Plane Foam
My orginal desire was that we could get the R. L. Adams Co. to begin selling a material more suitable for FFF users. Well they did, but not without somebody to step in and handle product development, marketing, and distribution. I have seen the business opportunity for some time now and never thought that Springer (Mike), Bz1sfb (Don), and Dz1sfb (Ken - myself) would be the ones to do it. I really want to take the moment to thank Don and Mike for their willing committment to see this thing through. While all three of us have worked in the corporate world, it is another thing to step into it as owners. Don't know how I have the time for all this, but its supposed to be for "fun".
Our goals are to serve the need for this gap in the product market for ourselves and our modelling friends with a value priced product, and come out on the other side as friends inspite of whatever happens. This means that while we have the utmost customer satisfaction in mind, we still have families, friends, and extended community that also have a place in our lives. I am encouraging my partners and myself to not let this venture consume our otherwise precious time from these other necessary elements of life (weekends off for fun and otherwise).
A special thanks to all who have participated in the survey and contributed to this thread. Some have provided extensive help in getting us off and running. I want to thank R. L. Adams as well, which without their desire to help this would not have gone past the idea stage. We received an email that was very encouraging and supportive.
Again, thank you!
Partners in Model Plane Foam Inc.
Fan Fold Foam Market Research
"to all Foamie RCGroupers,
I want to make you aware of an opportunity that you would not want to pass by. The R. L. Adams Co., the people who manufacture Readiboard, Dow, and Owens Corning FFF material (XPS Foam) are interesting in know what kind of market demand this part of our hobby might generate. Given enough demand they would make there material available through an online ordering system.
I am taking it upon myself to conduct some informal research.
I am especially interested in foam kit cutters, however, if you are a high volume builder please contribute.
Currently Depron and Depron Aero are to my knowledge imported materials from Europe. This material is desirable in that it is smooth, flat, and white (meaning it paints well). The only drawback is that it is quite brittle, with the Aero variety being the exception. The Aero material is almost identical to FFF in density and flexibilty. Both of these materials are XPS (extruded Polystyrene) as is FFF. Just the diffferent density gives the various properties.
R. L. Adams can manufacture to whatever spec's are desired. They can make it white, or other colors, and thicknesses, as well as skin on one or both sides, or no skin at all.
I have just started using a Dow product called High Performance Underlayment (lay flat fan fold). It is the same thickness as Protecion Board III, but is skinned on both sides, smooth, and very flat. Along with no printing directly on the foam. It is also cut instead of folded. This is very high quality material, and is considered a premium product at Allied Building Supply. A single 200 sq. ft. bundle is $50, with a price break for quantity down to about $46 a bundle. The only improvement that I would make to this product is that it would come in white. This material is manufactered by Adams as well.
What I would like an idea of is what quantity you consume on an annual basis. Then a price that would be good for you. I don't want to entertain any comments about being free. If you get some foam for free that is a blessing, but I need a reliable source, and want the properties of Depron Aero with a local manufacturer.
I am currently consuming about 16 bundles in 12 months. I don't mind paying $50 a bundle, but would like to get the cost down to $40 or less for a premium product for my kits.
Thanks for helping on this idea,
|Nov 03, 2011, 10:45 AM|
Two more suggestions for a purpose-made foam board from RLAdams: have them turn off the process steps that add the perforations and the waves.(both of which are added for the insulation/underlay functionality, and I assume add cost.
|Nov 03, 2011, 12:43 PM|
I just picked up a bundle of Dow Hi Performance. This same product in white, without the waves and perforations would be amazing. I am happy paying $50 a bundle. I probably would only go through a bundle per year though.
|Nov 03, 2011, 10:11 PM|
if I could find the HP dow foam I would snatch up a bundle quick!
Ya I think RL Adams should make foam specific to the hobby
I tried to communicate with the sales director about this very thing some time ago about me being a distributor and he seemed uninterested in speaking with me about it
but ya I think it is a fantastic idea and i would love to see some flat waveless white FFF especially made for building foamies.
I would go through a bundle per year.
|Nov 03, 2011, 10:20 PM|
I stopped making planes with the fff. Mostly because it is hard to find good stock. I would be interested in being able to have a good source for some.
Have a few guys from the field that would be happy to get some.
|Nov 03, 2011, 10:31 PM|
Ya... I would go for white wave less FFF with no prefs. $50.00 sounds good, but remember the outrageous shipping per bundle would make it $80 to $100 per bundle.
With the relatively few scratch builders spread thinly over the country I see little chance of anything affordable happening or even anything at all. Call me a pessimist, but if a company won't make an already manufactured product readily available to us weelllllll.
|Nov 03, 2011, 11:03 PM|
United States, IA, Grinnell
Joined Mar 2005
I started building foamies with FFF. I moved onto Readiboard from the Dollar Tree store. I bought a Lightflite BUG that was made from EPP.. I now use only EPP for my planes. It's tougher that FFF and Readiboard. I use FFF, the remaining sheets I have left, and Readiboard for templates and patterns for my planes. I like EPP better that anything else I've tried.
|Nov 03, 2011, 11:53 PM|
The recently departed Bob Hurd had some stuff called "Durobatics foam." It was very well suited to building tiny model airplanes similar in size to the Parkzone Micro gear, but it's no longer in production after his death.
I think it sold for a whopping $6 for an 8"x12" sheet of 1.3mm foam. Or, in other words, $192 for a standard eight-by-four. How's that for profit margin?
I don't think I'd be willing to pay $192 for an 8x4, but there's definitely a market. Plantraco and a few other companies make kits from the stuff, and with it NLA, they're left high and dry.
|Nov 04, 2011, 06:36 AM|
In my initial contacts with R. L. Adams, If I was purchasing 23 pallets I could have had the foam for cheap enough. 23 pallets is way more than I am capitalized for. The tab would have been about $12,000.00. I believe that whatever we get, it will have to be around $50 per bundle shipped. That is the only way this can be of any value.
However, one of the points that I made to them is that many people live in regions where there product is not part of the building industry. People in Australia for example. Or even out west.
Hopefully this will pan out, but a manufacturing facility has to have a large enough market to make production a profitable effort.
|Nov 04, 2011, 08:03 AM|
Joined Nov 2005
You know my opinion on this one Ken.
I would LOVE to have some decent quality white foam. I can live with perforations, i can live with a "little" waviness. As long as the material is consistent. I hated the bundles we got that had the hue waves where the thickness varied up to 1mm!
This last batch of foam you have is definitely the best so far. If it was white it would be literally perfect!!
I am not sure really how many bundles i use. I know that i buy at least 2 bundles a year for my internal prototyping of kits. How many of your 12 go to my stuff? I would guess this past year at least 3.
When it comes to kitting, cost is definitely an issue. In order for a kit to be "worth" buying for a customer it has to be relatively cheap. When prices start hitting $50 a lot of people decide that it is not worth it. It is the main reason i can't offer my Enterprise and stuff in White foam. It is just too much money.
I am sure at that $40 that i sell my kits that many people decide that it is not worth it. I know that i would. I have never bought a kit that cost more than $20. A that point i usually decide that my desgining and building skill is enough that i can do the thing on my own.
Now if we could get good foam at a nice price that just means that everyone wins!
|Nov 17, 2011, 12:17 AM|
Joined Aug 2006
So a dollar for a sheet of 8 square feet???
Looking at the high price of Depron there's a huge middle ground to be had for the foam manufacturer who wants to commit.
Let me add my two cents. It's ridiculous that Depron has to be shipped in from overseas. Especially when industries in this country can make the product right here. The new product should shoot right at Depron's bulls eye.
One problem with the current fan fold product is it needs to be in single sheets and boxed. We hobbiest's are not insulating basements or outside walls where imperfections do not really affect the functionality. In this case we want a flat, unmarred, defect free product. This requires a box.
The new product should be white and not have anything applied to the surfaces in the form of a wrapper.
The 24" by 48" dimension is OK but maybe it could be bumped up to 30" by 48". That form factor would go head to head with Depron's best.
I also think I'd go metric in the thickness.
The current 3/16in. fanfold (0.1875in.) is probably too thick for the indoor flyers, but is too thin when trying to embed a carbide rod.
The next step up 3/8in. (0.375in.) is actually a bit too thick for regular applications.
The three metric dimensions gives you the best of all worlds:
First...3mm. (0.1181in.) is good for lighter planes especially indoor flyers.
Secondly...6mm. (0.2362in.) is the sweet spot. You can make good stiff wings by sandwiching a 3mm. carbide rod between two sheets.
And finally...9mm. (0.354in.) is for more strength.
From a pricing perspective(retail), here's what full cases of 48"x30" Depron cost as shipped from RCFoam in Colorado Springs to Columbus, OH.
3mm...40 sheets(400sq.ft.)......est. 14 lbs shipping weight......$185 +$39 shipping......Total $224.
6mm...20 sheets(200sq.ft.)......est. 14 lbs shipping weight......$165 + $39 shipping......Total $204.
9mm...no full case availability.
This leaves a huge opening for aggressive pricing.
By the way I worked out Fedex shipping on 14lbs. which should have been $17.80...not $39.00.
I would be thrilled to see the following FULL CASE retail pricing of "A NEW DEPRON EQUIVALENT":
3mm...40 sheets(400sq.ft.)......est. 14 lbs shipping weight......$90 + $18 shipping......Total $108.
6mm...20 sheets(200sq.ft.)......est. 14 lbs shipping weight......$80 + $18 shipping......Total $98.
9mm...12 sheets(120sq.ft.)......est. 14 lbs shipping weight......$70 + $18 shipping......Total $88.
I would also like to see the new product be available at retail in HALF CASES without breaking open full cases. You could even jack the price up a bit (an extra $5.00).
I think the half-case availability is very important. It would drive a lot of foam sales. For some hobbiests, full cases are just a little bit too much material...thus...to much money.
Here would be an acceptable HALF CASE pricing.
3mm...20 sheets(200sq.ft.)......est. 9 lbs shipping weight......$50 + $15 shipping......Total $65.
6mm...10 sheets(100sq.ft.)......est. 9 lbs shipping weight......$45 + $15 shipping......Total $60.
9mm...6 sheets(60sq.ft.).........est. 9 lbs shipping weight......$40 + $15 shipping......Total $55.
Wholesale pricing for hobby shops or commercial foamy builders could be 30-35% off retail. That would bring the FULL CASE PRICES of the foam down into the $50 to $60 range...that is, before the costs of shipping...which would be unaffected.
Getting wholesale quantity $50 bundles down to $40...and yet having them still in bundles...held together with strapps...boxless...wavy...with dog-earred corners......to me that's no bargain. I'd rather pay a $20 premium over the $40 to $50 dollars bundle cost...and get something that's actually flat and defect free...something decent...protected in a box.
|Nov 17, 2011, 02:39 AM|
Joined Feb 2006
Foam Use and pricing
I consume around 4 bundles per month and would get more if the high quality stuff was available around here (NH). I, like you cut a great deal of inexpensive kits for the local groups as well as quite a few 3D puzzles that I market at fairs and such. The latest batches of FFF that I have been able to get, even after hand picking, have been the worst I have seen since I started cutting kits.
I would be very interested in a bulk purchase of the good stuff or something better. The color and printing on the product is what makes it difficult to sell.
I too would love to get the price down around $40.00 a bundle. I seem to be getting killed in shipping like others so that would have to be dealt with as well. It is not worth getting the bundle for 40 and then pay another 20 or so for shipping.
Keep me up to date with your negotiations and if they or you would like any further input, let me know.
|Nov 17, 2011, 06:25 AM|
My initial contact was for 5mm foam in white, no film, no waves, or pick marks, in 23" x 48" sheets cut not folded. We may not all agree on sheet sizes, but you are right on with hitting the Depron bullseye. Though I am pretty sure they will be reluctant to investing in the whole boxing idea. That might be more suitable for a distribution company. I believe that will be the weak link for them. Some of my FB's have expressed an interest in wharehousing and distributing this product.
Your first paragraph expresses my experience also with the quality of FFF.
I appreciate all the indepth comments. I am going to direct the R. L. Adams rep to this webpage for market analysis information.
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