Templets for foam cutting - RC Groups
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Jan 19, 2002, 09:58 AM
EB-66C Team Member
J Morgan's Avatar

Templets for foam cutting

Ok, I'm up and running with foam cutter. Still practicing. Experimented with different mat'ls for templets but seems the best is thin formica. Went to local custom cabinet shop and bought scraps cheap. He can supply me for life! Question: Trying to figure best way to cut them from formica. Don't have a scroll saw and scoring and breaking isn't easy with curved parts. So far, I've scored and broke, then used dremel to get them close to the same for both sides of foam block. Appreciate any other ideas. Thanks.
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Jan 19, 2002, 11:46 AM
Registered User
I've used lite ply with much success. Maybe you can cut the thin formica with some sort of shears?
Jan 19, 2002, 12:28 PM
Always looking UP
FANMAN's Avatar

Band saw

I'll bet you could get the cabinet shop guys to either let you use their band saw, or have them cut the parts for cheap as well.

Mark the sheets to be cut, and drop by their shop, I'd bring a plane (or a wing) along, and show them what your doing.

You'd be suprised what kind of help you can get!
Jan 19, 2002, 12:49 PM
Cal Slope Criminal@DV
Duke58's Avatar
I use old printing press plates , they cut with a good pair of sissors and most printers will almost pay you to take them away. I can make a complete set (8 temps) in 20 min.

Jan 19, 2002, 01:18 PM
Registered User
Formica is the best in my opinion. Cut to rough shape using a hacksaw or coping saw and then finish with wet or dry.

Ply tends to grap the hot wire and is not very durable.
Jan 19, 2002, 01:19 PM
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Randy G's Avatar
I tape the template to the formica (spray backside with 3M), cover with clear tape and use a jig-saw with fine blade to cut out on formica. It makes a nice smooth cut that can be polished with sand paper.
Jan 20, 2002, 05:38 AM
Registered User

templates for foam cutting

I cut my templates from formica using a fret-saw. I find that it's best to cut just above the profile and file down to the line, finishing off with fine sand paper.
I then temporarily stick the upper and lower templates back to back whilst I drill through both, for screw holes which will ensure that the templates register when used in cutting the upper then the lower surfaces.
Jan 20, 2002, 10:18 AM
EB-66C Team Member
J Morgan's Avatar
Thanks for the replies. I'm going to try the printing plates too. Scissors will cut this formica but don't know how many pair I'll go thru. It's pretty tough stuff. You can score and break it but that leads to more sanding. So far, I'm cutting with scissors and then clamping together and rough sanding with Dremel and finally finishing up with 400w/d paper. Gets it quite smooth and cores looked good yesterday. Tried the lite ply but it does tend to grab and burn if you hesitate at all. Again, thanks for the input. Technique is coming along and getting easier all the time.
Jan 20, 2002, 11:20 AM
Registered User
Good to see you try out various bits of advice and then make your own mind up.

One tip if you do wan to use ply templates is to rub candle wax onto the surface the wire will glide over. This melts with the heat of the wire and lubricates it and reduces the grabbing and burning.

Formica is still better though.
Jan 20, 2002, 11:39 AM
EB-66C Team Member
J Morgan's Avatar
Dave, good idea with the candle wax. I'll try that. Probably wouldn't hurt to use candle wax on formica too, right? Might keep from catching those little snags that you missed with the sandpaper. Thanks again. John
Jan 20, 2002, 02:16 PM
Titanium Has My Back!!
9LIVES1968's Avatar
You might try a rotozip to cut your formica. The bit will leave the edges pretty smooth which will leave you less sanding in the end.Works great for me! Dave
Jan 20, 2002, 02:53 PM
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dave morris's Avatar
I've used thin soft aluminum, cut to rough size with snips, then finished off with dremel and sanding drum. use wet sand paper to polish the edges, never hangs up, and can tolerate higher heat (like used on blue foam).
Jan 20, 2002, 07:53 PM
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Jim Ryan's Avatar

Re: Templets for foam cutting

Originally posted by J Morgan
Went to local custom cabinet shop and bought scraps cheap. He can supply me for life! Question: Trying to figure best way to cut them from formica. Don't have a scroll saw and scoring and breaking isn't easy with curved parts.
Lots of great advice here. I quite agree that Formica is the single best material for wing templates, and I say that as someone who cuts hundreds of cores each year. One suggestion: Cutting Formica is a bit of a pain. Home Depot and Lowe's both have Ryobi variable speed scrollsaws for about $75. This is one of the single handiest tools you can own. Not only does it make short work of wing templates, picture yourself cutting out perfect intricate ply formers, servo mounts etc. with your very own scrollsaw.

About half the money I've spent in this hobby has been for tools and other stuff that never leaves the ground. It pays for itself many times over.

Jan 21, 2002, 10:51 PM
EB-66C Team Member
J Morgan's Avatar
Thanks Jim, I'll keep my eye out for one. The nearest Home Depot or Lowe's is 140 miles away so don't get there often. Actually, I have one in a storage facility 1250 miles away but that's another story. Just cut some more templets out of formica, sanded thoroughly, and used candle wax. They worked really good. Help on the EZone is great, isn't it!!
Jan 22, 2002, 12:24 AM
Registered User

Ply covered with foil tape

I still prefer formica, but before I got a bandsaw, I used templates that I cut it out of 1/4" masonite, then put a layer of foil tape (the kind that HVAC guys use to tape airducts) over it. Make sure the foil is slightly wider than the masonite, stick it to the top of the masonite first, then roll the sides of the foil over the edge of the masonite. The foil is resistant to the hot wire heat, and if you do a good job applying it, the edge of the template will be super smooth.