Direct Inkjet Printing on Sheet Foam - RC Groups
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May 15, 2005, 10:37 AM
Registered User

Direct Inkjet Printing on Sheet Foam

Hi All,

Quick update.

The image below is of the port wing of the GPM Baby Grunau IIB scaled to 1:20.
It's printed on an 8.5 x 14 inch sheet of 1.00 mm foam.
Details will be forthcoming.

Enjoy, Gilley

Last edited by Gilley; May 15, 2005 at 11:44 AM.
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May 15, 2005, 10:58 AM
Krued Up
snolord1's Avatar
excellent technique,keep us posted.
May 15, 2005, 11:05 AM
MaxAmps CMO
JAM's Avatar
Very impressive, except for the nasty curling of the foam from the printer.

May 15, 2005, 11:40 AM
Registered User
The curl is not a result of the printing process. The print direction through the printer is along the long axis. The curl set is a result of the foam being wound on a roll and delivered that way.

Last edited by Gilley; May 15, 2005 at 12:16 PM.
May 15, 2005, 11:53 AM
Good Better Best quest.
olmod's Avatar

I dont care

about the curl it looks beatiful ,anyway there are flat bed printers out there, some big ones too.
May 15, 2005, 12:16 PM
Registered User
This was done using a Canon i560...,

May 15, 2005, 01:35 PM
Foam Flyer
Depdog's Avatar
How durable is the ink? Will it rub off easily, is it water resistant or water proof?

Are you just teasing us, or are you going to give details?

May 15, 2005, 03:21 PM
Only nerd in the village
Put it in the oven at 100C between two sheets of glass and it will come out straight. You might want to do this before you print on it.


PS: I have been "baking" Selitac all day to make straight sheets.
May 15, 2005, 04:02 PM
Registered User
The print is not waterproof and needs to be sealed with a clear acrylic medium either gloss or matte. I apologize for the delay in details which will be forthcoming next week. Supply situation of the 1 mm foam needs to be worked out for those in North America.

Michael, thanks for the suggestion..., have to get another pane of glass. The last one is now several smaller pieces in size...,

Last edited by Gilley; May 15, 2005 at 04:19 PM.
May 15, 2005, 04:30 PM
Only nerd in the village
I use cutting boards made from hardened glass. They are oven safe. What kind of foam is it? I looks a bit like Selitac.

May 15, 2005, 04:40 PM
Registered User

I'm not really sure of the foams origin. It could be Selitac. The supply for North America will be standard styrofoam white so no primer/sealer coat will be required just the inkjet receptor coat. I have one cutting plate of hardened glass. Glass can be heated and cooled slowly without any adverse effects it just needs to be heated all over as in an oven situation. Thought about putting a thin wet cloth on top of the styrofoam sandwich with glass plates top and bottom and heating the whole in the microwave. The water should turn to steam heating the styrofoam to 100 C in very little time...,


P.S. Damp paper towels should work well for this.
Last edited by Gilley; May 15, 2005 at 04:48 PM.
May 15, 2005, 04:49 PM
Foam Flyer
Depdog's Avatar
If the foam came from FoamFly, I know where it came from and what it is.

May 15, 2005, 05:31 PM
Registered User
Hi Gilley,
I had played with this a few years ago. I had an Epson 2200c that allowed for straight feed and thick medium and it worked great,but the ink just didn't dry and if you clear coat it, the clear would crack when the foam bends.

I have a new printer now that can print on CDs so I image the inks have changed because printing on a CD is pretty much like printing on foam for the fact that the ink can not soak into the plastics. I have to set up the printer and try it.

Yours looks great!
Keep up the good work,
May 15, 2005, 05:35 PM
Registered User
I have a 4' tall roll of that stuff. The stuff I have is virgin foam (wavey)
I got it from a meat tray place in the bronx.

May 15, 2005, 07:40 PM
Registered User

The following applies to 1 mm or less thick styrofoam sheet with a closed surface cell structure and is known by the trade names Depron, Zepron or Selitac.

I apply an inkjet receptor which allows the ink to be absorbed. It's applied on the surface and allowed to thouroughly dry. You can find a commercial source here:

Or you can mix up your own by mixing 40% PVA, 50% Acrylic Gloss (or Matte) Medium, 10% water and a drop of liquid detergent. Apply a thin coating to the sheet styrofoam with a napless roller and allow to completely dry before attempting to print. I sometimes add Acrylic Matte Gesso to the percentage of Acrylic Medium portion to achieve better printer roller traction which can be an issue if the foam sheet is too "slick". Make sure to clean the foam surface by washing with warm water or better yet wipe it down with denatured alcohol prior to surface treatment. The sheets should be as flat as possible.

Some applications may require a coating of a white primer-sealer in order to hide the foams base color. Use a water based product preferrably acrylic as they tend to remain flexible and aren't as subject to cracking.

You will need to set the printer on "T-Shirt Transfer" mode. In Canon i560/960 printers this consists of selecting this mode in the print setup and switching the printhead from paper to the thicker stock setting by opening the access lid and switching the lever to the right most position. The image will need to be reversed on the horizontal axis because the T-Shirt Transfer mode prints a mirror image. Set the print in manual to "graphic" and reduce the amount of "K" or black ink in the CMYK bars.

You may have to help feed the sheet into the printer to get it started. Once the print starts let it go till it ejects the finished sheet. Let the sheet dry for a few minutes before coating with Acrylic Gloss/Matte Medium to waterproof the print.

This method allows the application of high detail card models to foam based models. I like to think of it as detailing a model with a whole surface decal. The builder has the option of repainting the scanned image to suit their taste.

Hope this is enough to get some of you going or better yet flying...,


P.S. Most HP Printers do not have a straight through paper path and therefore are not candidates for this process.
Last edited by Gilley; May 15, 2005 at 08:51 PM.

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