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Old Aug 16, 2002, 03:15 PM
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Vsacuum-Formable 1/4" thick blue closed cell foam

I just saw a web page showing a 1/4" thick closed cell foam that can be VACUUM FORMED. It says:

"DIVINYCELL is a tan or light blue, closed cell, medium to high density foam which has excellent fire resistance and high compression strength. Can be vacuumed formed at temperature to compound shapes and can be bent using a heat compatible with polyester resins. "

It can be ontained from Aircraft Spruce Inc, a supplier to the homebuilt aircraft market.

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catmai...t=cathome.html

A 32" x 48" x 1/4" sheet costs $14.30 (plus shipping).

Other foams are available from them - polyurethane, polystyrene, and styrofoam.

Planeman
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Old Aug 16, 2002, 05:28 PM
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planeman,

I check the site mentioned and it might be a source if fanfold isn't available. They quote a 24x47 sheet at 27.60. I can buy 200 sq ft of fan fold for the same price. To purchase the equivelent amount of foam would cost 690.00. Maybe for a specialty part, but seems to be a little expensive for most modelers?

JT
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Old Aug 16, 2002, 05:42 PM
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I am not aware that fan-fold, or BluCor, is vacuum formable. If it is, I'd like to see something done that way and also find out how it was accomplished.

Planeman
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Old Aug 16, 2002, 05:59 PM
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Take a look at www.foamfly.com. Check out the secret lab. I'm not sure how Dan is doing it (he's pretty secretive) but it's being done. I've been cooking fanfold a bit, and while I am just a newbie at the process, have had some success. I am patiently waiting for Dan to send the fanfold guide to me and then perhaps we could come up with some answers. Are you listening Dan?

JT
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Old Aug 16, 2002, 06:50 PM
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I"m listening.

Forming the Fan-Fold foam takes a bit of patience, and some pretty accurate temperature control.

I have had no luck Vacuum forming the BlueCor. Maybe with professional vacuum forming equipment, you could do it, but at home: by the time you get one side hot enough to form, the other side is melting. Or, conversely, one side cools off before the other is completely formed. That's why I ended up going with a two sided mold.

I really like the idea of this new foam, and it probably bears some experimentation, but I think that DEPENDS is right. This stuff isn't cost effective even for kit production. The only way molding foam is going to be possible, is to keep the cost down.

Here's what I've been cooking in the Secret Lab


I haven't shared the secrets yet for two reasons.

1) There is no secret. I haven't really found a good long term repeatable solution yet. And,

2) I'm really hoping to use the money I'm getting from the plan sales to fund the production of high quality low cost kits.

Good Luck, I'll keep everyone posted with my progress.
-Dan
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Old Aug 17, 2002, 12:10 AM
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the density on that foam is 3lbs per square foot .. isnt that a bit much?? .. doesnt that equal out to a heavy foam?? ..
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Old Aug 17, 2002, 10:42 AM
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Viceroy,

I think that number is three pounds per CUBIC ft. If my math isn't too fuddled, in 1/4" sheet stock it would be around 1 oz per sq/ft. A little heavier than f3. but not much. Cost seems to be the bigger issue. As Dan mentioned, one of the most attractive things about fanfold is it's low cost. Another possible source for vacuum formable foam is www.AirDyn.com Gabe Baltian is selling a sheet foam called Zepron II, which is in its' "raw" state. It hasn't been thermoset yet. I haven't gotten any to play with yet, but the prices seem to be in line with the spirit (read cheap) of foamies. I have to agree with Dan, that in a home shop, vacuum forming may be just a little out of reach for most of us. I've done vacuum bagging on several laminating projects using veneers, but using foam and needing heat is much different. Does anyone have plans for a home-built vacuum forming machine? This thread has some great possibilities. Everyone with ideas or knowledge should chime in.

JT
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Old Aug 17, 2002, 10:52 AM
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I've found some...

I don't remember where they were, but I found some plans for a vacuum former designed by some buy who wanted to build his own Star Wars Stormtrooper suit. That site has a lot of info. I'll have to see if I can dig it up.

The major problem with vacuum forming foam, it the heat. You'll need a pretty fancy machine with a heating element on BOTH sides of the foam. You can't heat it through the back like plastic. (Foam is an insulator remember?) By the time the front side is hot enough to form, the back is melted. I've put some thought into this.

Fan-tastic models uses a foam that extremely thin, and expands to about 1/8" as it's heated. That doesn't really compare with the 1/4" fan-fold. I also don't know if they're heating on both sides with that or not.

Let me know what you find. Thanks,
-Dan
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Old Aug 17, 2002, 11:18 AM
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vacuum former

Dan,

I don't see much of a problem heating both side of a foam sheet. The question is how MUCH heat. It's already occurred to me that an "oven" could easily be built out of 2" bead board using a cheap heat gun for the heat source. The technique would require that everything in the oven would have to be heated to the necessary temperature. That means the mold(s), any vacuum fittings, etc. would have to be functional in the heat range necessary to form the foam. Incidentally, the idea of the oven came from looking at the relatively low (200 degree) temps needed to cook f3, and a way around the usual 20" limit of the kitchen oven. 2" foam in 8" lengths. Hmmm, a 16' glider?

JT

BTW, apologies to planeman for taking over his thread!
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