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

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Nov 17, 2011, 08:40 AM
Registered User
Originally Posted by dz1sfb
to all Foamie RCGroupers,

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.

Keep up the good work dz1sfb. I'm interested in learning more about this High Performance Underlayment. What is the thickness?

Also...bundling may not be an issue if the material is cut into separate pieces. It's the folding of the long continuous foam that introduces all the curvature into the sheets.

I notice we have an Allied Building supply here in Columbus.
I'm going to take a spin down there and see if they have they stock the High Performance Underlayment product.
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Nov 17, 2011, 11:32 AM
Ken's CAD Models
dz1sfb's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by RJKIRK
Keep up the good work dz1sfb. I'm interested in learning more about this High Performance Underlayment. What is the thickness?

Also...bundling may not be an issue if the material is cut into separate pieces. It's the folding of the long continuous foam that introduces all the curvature into the sheets.

I notice we have an Allied Building supply here in Columbus.
I'm going to take a spin down there and see if they have they stock the High Performance Underlayment product.

The HPU approachs 6mm at .225" without the skin. The bundles come cut instead of folded which helps them lay flat. It is however connected by a fold on the last 3" of each end.

Nov 17, 2011, 01:07 PM
RIP Azarr - "Old age is not for sissies"
Azarr's Avatar
A white foam would be great, but I'd be surprised if we could use anywhere near the volume required for a manufacturer to be interested. The problem with shipping foam is that we don't pay for the weight, we pay for dimensional weight which is based on a formula that determines how much volume it takes in the vehicle compared to a package of "normal size" the same weight would use. Dimensional weight is the length + 2x width + 2x girth. The different companies have charts available that convert dimensional weight to pounds. In other words, shipping a 10lb package of foam may ship at a 20 or 30 lb rate. I doubt any of the foam companies are making much on the shipping.


EDIT: instead of manufacturing a whole new type of foam, how about contacting a foam board company like whoever makes the dollar tree foam about just leaving the paper off
Nov 17, 2011, 01:23 PM
I am sure you are correct. Foam retailers are not making any significant money on the shipping charges. Looks like it costs over $1/ sheet to have foam delivered to your door in shipments of 10 or 20 sheets.

BTW,The company Ken is working with is the company that makes Dollar Tree's "ready board". Paperless Ready Board is where discussion started. Turns out cost goes through the roof as product shipment size is reduced. Product specifications like demensions, density, skins, flatness, and color are easier to adjust than minimum shipment sizes. The key now is to find an affordable run quantity, and determine the specification which has the most value to RC modelers.
Last edited by bz1mcr; Nov 17, 2011 at 01:36 PM.
Nov 17, 2011, 01:44 PM
Registered User
rcav8r2's Avatar
I basically quit building with foam sheets as what I can get locally is VERY poor quality and expensive. I didn't use foam exclusively, but it is nice for the small toss around stuff.
Blue FFF is about $60 a bundle where I can get it, and it is a train wreck quality wise.
Pink is the same quality, but a little too thick. About $38 a bundle
My Lowes quit selling FFF, and sells Green Guard. Same lack of quality as FFF, but very brittle. Almost like florist foam.
Don't like the paper on the DS foam.
Depron is a bit expensive for foam for me.
Went back to building only with good ol' balsa....for now.

If this pans out, I would be good for about 2 bundles a year.
Nov 18, 2011, 08:07 AM
michigan jet guy
mrshea's Avatar
i'd be down for a bundle or two a year. Phil
Nov 18, 2011, 11:51 AM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
Ken ,

I see why you know about RLAdams, being right next door in Wyoming MI. :-)

I've been down this frustrating road too.
BTW - Depron comes from Germany
Selit-tec Dammsystemme Gmbh
D-55234 Erbis Budesheim

After fooling around with an Asian place for a while I discovered that
anything LESS than a "Container" was a NON starter.
They wouldn't even return my e-mails.
I couldnt even PURCHASE Samples ! WTH !!!

I also tested Some "other" foam sent by a Customer.
It was nice like depron BUT was formulated to be more flexable and less brittle.
It "worked" for smaller models but it was a lot more flexible and expensive too.
So it was not pursued.

Gater Board comes "surfaced" but also comes NEAT, however, it's 1/2" thick and $$$

The plastic coated foams are all about 4 times more dense
AND the plastic is NOT bonded any better than the Cardboard.
So it can be pealed off. They come in various grades of coating,
some of which is very brittle while others are quite compliant and flexible.
It's probably better than coroplast.

Back in 1988 when I built an indoor RC CO2 powered plane I found something that
was MUCH Lighter however still skinned. A delightful 1/8", translucent, foam center, sheeting.
I thought it was called Amocor but I dont think I am remembering it correctly.
At least what I do find as Amocor is NOT what I used back in '88 b4 the serious miniature park flier stuff came along.
I presume that the product was eclipsed and discontinued.
I wish I could find it again.

As you know, I cant wait to get myself moved to Indianapolis and OUT of the WEST.
Local Lowes wont even order me "some" fanfold without committing to a Pallet.
Heck I'd rent a truck from there and drive to Wyoming to pick the stuff up.

Put me down for 7-10 bundles

Congrats on your research and effort.

Northwest Cutout Service
Last edited by birdofplay; Nov 21, 2011 at 01:32 PM.
Nov 18, 2011, 03:14 PM

Market survey is getting close needed numbers

Originally Posted by mrshea
i'd be down for a bundle or two a year. Phil
Did you put your input into the survey at the top of this thread?

Based on the numbers today, it looks like readers of this thread could use over 400 bundles (10,000 sheets) annually. That is very encouraging! And, I am sure there are many more foam users out there!

If you know any of them direct them to the survey.
Nov 18, 2011, 03:31 PM
Retired CAD guy
birdofplay's Avatar
Don, or Ken,

What is the ultimate plan then ?

Will we, the users, be ordering From a middle man
or will there be opportunity for multiple middle men
or will be ableto order directly from the producer ?

I suppose it will be determined by the producer and their willingness
to deal with a lot of smaller orders and shipping costs etc.

Of course
we are talking aBOUT WHITE only just now.
I see they have colors.
If colored foam is a possibility THEN those quantities may need some refinement
or clarification.

I also suspect that coloration may effect the "consistancy" of the foam somewhat.

regardless it would be nice to get OUR foam forma USA mfgr and not have to
deal with overseas folks like Bienfang or Selit-tec.

Nov 18, 2011, 04:01 PM
Erik with a K
tvcasualty's Avatar
I'm just east of Toledo, Ohio I plan to have a booth at weak signals ( this next year for my webpage, I'll be pushing CNC products, and some kits, why not add some foam?

I typically go through 1-2 bundles per year for myself, the number is increasing, and I am looking to start producing short kits in which a nice foam product would be highly sought after and vastly increase the amount I would use.

I would love ~1/4" (5mm is fine) 1/2" and 2" sheets in white or gray. No plastic, no printing, no perfs, it would be amazing stuff.
Nov 18, 2011, 04:39 PM
There is no ultimate plan. There is an find a way to connect a capable manufacturer to the foamie builders needs for foam.

Will that require middlemen of some sort? It seems so.

Let's just say, so far, Adams is indicating they are not equipped or inclined to warehouse and distribute to Hobby users. That could change if we can show them the market is big enough. That's why Ken started this thread and invited Adams to watch the results.

If Adams remains unwilling, we need "distributer/middlemen". The distributor needs to store and ship to the hobby market, and more specifically the guys cutting and building foamies. That means "middlemen" of a sort will be needed. Not guys who just buy and sell on paper or over the net. But, guys who invest in inventory, have a place to store it, and are willing to pack and ship orders. They would also need a way to accept and process orders and would probably want to advertise (market) to build sales. They would also be the ones to define product specifications and identify customers desired improvements.

Colors are possible, but the manufacture needs to setup for a large, as in truck loads, run. That means more inventory/space/dollars. For now we need to prove we can justify one color white. Consideration of others will need to wait. We are streatching to just to see if we can capitalize one sample run.
Nov 18, 2011, 06:16 PM
Registered User
My foam pet peeve: Why is it always full of "ripples". Some of the foam board has enough waves to make a sailor sea sick. I've been buying the fanfold from Lowes and the amplitude of the waves is sometimes almost an inch. How do you flatten it out after you get home?

Just curious
Nov 18, 2011, 07:06 PM
we have been led to believe the waves are intensional and have some purpose in the building industry. We are told they can easily make sheets flat. And, we have seen some made for another "special user" that was nice and flat.
Nov 20, 2011, 01:45 AM
Erik with a K
tvcasualty's Avatar
More thoughts,
How about the possibility of drop shipping? It would be easier for many small businesses to start selling foam in the US through drop shipment. (Ship directly from the Mfg) It seems silly that there is not a comparable American product to compete with Depron that comes all the way from Europe.

Typical foam bundles from Menards, HD, and Allied is about $37-$50 if we can hit that price then there would be no reason to shop at the big box stores and depron would be a notion of the past in the US. Rc foam seems to be a goog depron source in the states, and the white 6mm AREO stuff is 20 Sheets at 30"x48" for $235.00. That’s too steep for making models for myself, waves are fine for my build style, but to sell kits, customers really do not want wavy foam with print on it…

$1 sheet is a no brainer, lets buy a ton!
$3 / sheet is about my personal limit for building for myself (I don’t mind the waves)
Up to $6 / sheet is very reasonable for making kits
$12 / sheet would be harder to sell and hard to buy in any reasonable quantity... but seems to be market value for European depron.

For what it’s worth, whenever I find the good pink stuff on sale for $37, I typically buy 2-4 bundles. I love for that stuff to be without the skin, without the perfs, and without the print.
Nov 20, 2011, 06:03 PM
Registered User
dz1sfb...thanks so much for doing this.

I've been running lots of numbers and have things buzzing around in my head regarding this effort. So I wanted to get them down on paper in an all inclusive post. My apologies up front for the lengthiness.

I've been wracking my brain on who uses products like this and I concluded that if the R.L.Adams Co. introduced a new sheet foam product, they wouldn't necessarily have to look at it as a niche product for only the hobby airplane enthusiasts. Many others could use this product, especially those looking for a quality bare foam sheeting.

Looking at this from a retail price perspective, the 20" x 30" Dollar Tree foam has a surface area of about 4 square feet and obviously costs $1.00. The 200 sqft. bundle of the Dow High Performance Underlayment clocks in somewhere between 45 and 50 dollars. So based on the "retail pricing" of these two examples, lets assume that a new 1/4 inch foam sheet product shoots for a retail price of 25 cents per sq. ft. This falls right in line with these two existing products.

Here's what I'd shoot for from a specification standpoint:
1. A 6mm foam equivalent of the Dow High Performance FFF Underlayment...plain white, cut into single sheets, perfectly flat, no double sided plastic sheathing, no kraft paper, no perforations, no waves.
2. Available to the retail customer online, in full case quantities at $0.25 per sq. additional shipping costs of course.
3. Two sheet sizes...24"x48"(8sqft.)...and 30"x40"(8.33sqft.).
4. Case sizes of 16 sheets per case. which is roughly 128 sq. ft. of material weighing in at 6lbs.
5. The 16 sheets would come boxed in end-loading 200 lb. corrugated white cardboard cartons with outside dimensions of 4.25"x25"x49"...and 4.25"x31"x41".

Ok, I'm a little anal on the case and box size...but it's important...let me explain.

It's called "dimensional weight". FedEx and UPS measure the outside dimensions of the carton being shipped, and from those dimensions they calculate the carton's total outside volume in cubic inches. Any box exceeding 5184 is assessed a punitive surcharge. Instead of being charged for the actual physical weight of the shipment...the box is charged based on the dimensional weight. For instance, if we increased our ideal carton size by even a quarter of an inch to 4.5"inches(which rounds up to 5"), this is what we'd be paying in punitive dimensional weight shipping costs:
(5"x25"x49")/166=37.....a dimensional weight of 37 lbs.....shipping cost=.$33.11.
(5"x31"x41")/166=39.....a dimensional weight of 39 lbs.....shipping cost= $34.42.
166 is the divisor used in the Dimensional Weight calculation.
The shipping costs were based on worst case Zone 8 Continental US ground rates.

Our boxes are sized just below the 5184 cu. in. cut-off. We pay on the actual physical weight of the shipment...around $10.00.

So for our new product, what can we expect to pay online for a full 16 sheet case to be delivered to our door:
Case of foam sheets (wt 6lbs.).......$0.25per sqft. * 128 sqft...........$32.00
Cost of a 200# Corrugated Shipping Carton (wt 3lbs.).......................$2.50
UPS/FedEx Ground shipping cost for 9 lbs.......................................$10.58
Total delivered cost to your door is................................................ .$45.08
(In the above example the shipping costs are worst case ground shipments for Zone 8 UPS or FedEx Ground to the Continental US.)

So the raw foam costs are $0.25 per sqft. Add box and shipping, and delivered to our door...the foam price is $0.35 per sq ft.($45.08/128sqft).

Now, we can use that delivered cost of $0.35 per square foot to see how our new product stacks up against the competition.

A case of 27"x39" Depron from RCFoam:
$165.00 + $39.00 shipping..................Total $204.00
Total delivered cost of Depron is........1.00 per sq ft. delivered($204/200sq ft.).
That's 185% higher cost than our product.

Online from Shoplet...Elmer's 900803 White foam board 10 sheet case of 30x40.
$45.22 +Free shipping........................Total Price=$45.22.
Total cost of Elmer's 900803 is..........$0.54 per sq. ft. delivered ($45.22cost/83.3 sq.ft.).
That's still over 50% higher than our product.
For roughly the same price, our product gives you 16 sheets vs. 10 sheets of the Elmer's.

You might say that comparing our product to one that is kraft paper coated is like comparing apples to oranges. But in many instances, purchasers would actually prefer an uncoated product, especially with the additional savings.

Obviously, the poll being conducted here is limited to those who frequent the RC groups forum and happened upon this thread. There are many, many more foamy plane builders (commercial and not) who will miss this. But I predict that if you could hit the 1/4"(6mm) market at this price point, any domestic manufacturer or hobbyist builder currently using Depron, or kraft covered foam board equivalents, would be crazy not to switch.

I also want to reiterate that this product must come boxed. Time and time again the posters above have mentioned how horrible the condition of the unprotected FFF bundled product is. It seems that Adams is already accustomed to boxing foam product, considering their Redi Board line (Dollar Tree Foam).

If you don't box, the other consideration is shipping costs of the bare bundles themselves. The fact that they're not encased in cardboard would not relieve them from dimensional charges. I happen to have just bought a bundle of the 25 sheet 1/4"x24"x48" Dow High Performance product. When I squeeze the end of the bundle and measure it, its thickness comes out to 5.375 inches. That gets rounded down to 5. Someone who's not as precise could measure it at 5.5" which would round up to 6". So for those two possibilities you'd be paying for worst case Zone 8 shipping costs of either 35lbs.($31.74) or 42lbs.($36.09).
If you cut the bundle size down to're down to a shipping weight of 6 to 7 lb.....$9.10 or $9.40.

By the way, the Dow High Performance Foam is not a full 6mm, so you can actually do bundles of 18. But for a brand new product I would suggest hitting the 6mm mark to go head to head with the Depron competition.

Now, the next issue coming into play with bundled vs. boxed product is...damage. We're talking about these bundles getting thrown onto one or more trucks and mixed in with other cartons. Then going through UPS and FedEx high speed sorting systems. Traveling down conveyors at 40 mph, hitting corners, with a couple of wisps of tape holding everything together. What happens when for the second or third time one of these bundles bursts open on one of the Nashville FedEx lines and foam sheeting wraps up perfectly in the rollers causing a carton traffic jam. That's an extremely expensive shut down, while someone has to go out and clear the blockage. Believe me...I've worked in warehouses with these box destination sorting systems, so I know what I'm talking about.

Or what happens when the bundle finally does arrive at the home of the purchaser, and he refuses to take delivery because of dog-eared corners or gouges and marring of the outside surfaces. No distributer or reseller will want to put up with the hassles. Thus, a sturdy #200 corrugated box is a requirement.

It also makes perfect sense that Adam's wouldn't want to be handling single case quantities. Adams would want to deal in shipping full pallets. But, I'm sure there would be distributors willing to add this product to their stock. RC Foam is one that immediately comes to mind. If I could go out to RC and see a case of 16 sheets of Adam's foam priced at 45 to $50 a case...with free shipping to anywhere in the continental US...I'd buy that product in a heart beat!!!

I think there's a huge hole in the market just waiting to be filled.
There's the FFF product for the building trades with all it's warts of having to settle for less than pristine product.
And then there's the coated foam board market with a myriad of options: coatings, colors sizes, peel and stick surfaces, etc.
But what's missing is an economical, quality, white, plain foam sheet, available in a couple of large form factors.
The art supply stores would pick it up, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, hobby shops, fabric and craft shops like Michael's and Joe Ann's. It could be sold by the case...or one end opened and sold by the sheet.

The bottom line is...I think it would do very, very well!!!

Here's label I'd put on each box:
"Adams Hobby Craft & Art Foam...
For those hobbyists, crafters, and artists who have been searching for a premium uncoated foam sheet. Our new Adams Hobby Craft & Art Foam is available in 16 sheet cases in two sheet sizes...1/4"x24"x48" or 1/4"x'30"x40". Our case sizing has been specifically chosen to eliminate UPS and FedEx oversize surcharges. By purchasing Adams Hobby Craft & Art Foam, on average you will experience a 50% or more savings over the higher priced coated brands!"
Last edited by RJKIRK; Nov 20, 2011 at 06:34 PM.

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