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Mar 05, 2002, 12:13 PM
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microflyer77's Avatar

Pink Foam cutting tips

Greetings Foam Experts,

Newbie question. I finally dragged myself to Home Depot to get some 1" thick Pink Foam sheet (Says 'Dow Foamular'). I'm planning to build left and right pink foam sides around a 1/18" sheet balsa profile fuselage for an Art Chester Racer from the thirties.

I know and have read all about nichrome wire/bow arrangement and also have a railroad transformer (MRC) but don't want to go the hot-wire method at least initially. (Newer houses are *really* close together here in LA and the fume might bother/scare my neighbors). I'm guessing there might be quite a bit of burnt plastic odor initially.

What other tool can you use (without making a mess) to ,

1. Cut off pieces to profile in plan (I do have a X-acto jewelers saw now, anything else?)

2. Smooth the pieces FAST (RASP should work well, but what grit sandpaper to buy?)

3. Can you wet sand for final finish with waterproof 220 grit? Will the wet sanding put water inside the foam that takes a while to dry?

Sorry if these are just too obvious.

P.S. If you all think that hotwire cutting the foam is the easiest route, then roughly what temp. range should the Woodland Scenics Nichrome wire be?

Pictures, diagrams and pointers very welcome.
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Mar 05, 2002, 12:42 PM
Registered User
If you were worried about the fume/smell factor I suggest getting a Wonder Cutter. It's a small D-Cell powered bow foam cutter that sells at craft stores for $7.00. That way you can see how bad the smell is without forking over a lot of dough.

It really is not that bad if you have a window in your work area. Wire cutters are the way to go.