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Old Jul 13, 2005, 11:43 AM
Syracuse NY
Joined Dec 2004
43 Posts
What material is best for foam cuttin' templates?

So, with the help of my flight club here at rcgroups, I've built myself a foam cutting tool.

Now, I need to make some templates that I can use to cut out all these beautiful planes I see here!! What is the material you have used to make these, and why?

I have posterboard available, pressboard, illustration board as well as thin sheets of mdf. I'm leaning towards bressboard as its the cheapest, free, and it is the most plentiful that I have.

Again, thank you to the awesome posters here who have taught me much over the past few months of reading and thinking!

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Old Jul 13, 2005, 11:58 AM
Registered User
Joined Aug 2004
608 Posts
for wing airfoils I use formica, hard and sands super super smooth for zero snags.

For general plane templates i've read where people have used picture framing mat. or even place mats. They reported that these hold up for about 10 cuts...

What is press board? Where can it be purchased.. I'd think for just making a few planes from 3mm depron, the posterboard would be good enough, just don't press to hard against it.
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Old Jul 13, 2005, 01:03 PM
Robots... robots everywhere
minifly's Avatar
Cape Town, South Africa
Joined Jan 2003
2,060 Posts
i use fiberglass pcb with the copper removed, also works great for motor mounts
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Old Jul 13, 2005, 03:29 PM
Motors beat engines!
Milwaukee Wisconsin, United States
Joined Feb 2001
4,564 Posts
Picture framing matt is what I use, ( the thick stuff). Cuts easily and last well if you don't allow the wire to stop. ( you should'nt anyway). My wing jig for my parkracers has cut about 75 cores so far and still looks like new.

Dean in Milwaukee
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Old Jul 13, 2005, 03:37 PM
Trapped in California
foamflyer's Avatar
United States, CA, Arcadia
Joined Nov 2003
1,857 Posts
I use posterboard for the following reasons:
1. Easy to draw on, or glue a printed airfoil on to it.
2. Easy to cut (sisccors or hobby knife).
3. Inexpensive (<$1 per sheet) and readily available (Walmart or similar).
However, keep the wire temperature down or it will burn. Also, after a few uses the edges will "glaze" over resulting in an even smoother surface for the wire to run on. I've not experienced any snagging with the wire temperature low (with EPS foam, I don't use posterboard templates for EPP due to the higher wire temp). I've assembled a library of different types and sizes of airfoils and other templates, all ready to use.
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Last edited by foamflyer; Jul 13, 2005 at 03:38 PM. Reason: typo
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Old Jul 14, 2005, 04:35 AM
Syracuse NY
Joined Dec 2004
43 Posts
wow, quite the variety to work from.

I will work in order from cheap, posterboard, to the more expensive (if I have to).

Thanks a lot fellas!

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Old Jul 14, 2005, 08:48 AM
“There’s no place like Foam”
gpw's Avatar
United States, LA, New Orleans
Joined Jul 2002
24,236 Posts
We've been using Formica for at least 25 years .... usually find scraps around home sites (free) or home stores .... cut on the bandsaw, and the edges sanded , burnished rubbed with a soft graphite pencil ....they are excellent for high production / longevity

if you're doing ones and twos , the mat board is the way to go ....rubbing the pencil on the edges does help
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Old Jul 14, 2005, 12:08 PM
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Crash & Burn's Avatar
Palmdale, Ca
Joined Jul 2004
243 Posts
another thing you can use is the plastic "for sale" signs found at most stores. cuts with scissors and lasts through quite a number of cuttings.
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Old Jul 16, 2005, 07:24 PM
Syracuse NY
Joined Dec 2004
43 Posts
My Mission...should I choose to accept it...

is to start scavanging all the building sites in the area for the formica...

I don't mind having templates that will eventually fall apart...but, I'm into durability...I want it to last as long as possible..

I have some aluminum roofing flash that I'll try for something to see how that works..

I'd imagine the process for prepping that would be similar to that for the formica.

1) lay out the plans
2) trim the plans out carefully
3) file/sand/grind the aluminum down smooth
4) see if it works!

Sound about right to the assembled masters?

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