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Which Machine to Use When Cutting Foam and What Type of Foam to Cut?

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

There is a vast growth in demand for foam cutting today, particularly for fabrication and machining. The demand for foam cutting and machining is essential in various kinds of industries, which includes props, sculptures, sign, monuments, displays, prototypes, architectural shapes, crown moldings and wall caps for construction, packaging, insulation, wings and a lot more.

EPS foam compactor and EPS foam grinder shredder

Organizations cutting foam need to have to use top of the line cutting equipment to supply a wide range of foam cutting solutions. The cutting can be carried out either by using a CNC hot wire foam cutter, a CNC router or a CNC laser cutter. The hot wire can cut virtually any thickness of foam, and up to 12 feet projects and much more Whilst the laser cutter is cable of cutting extremely thin cuts (up to ¾”), manufacturing a high-quality surface finish. The CNC router on the other hand uses a machining drilling-like motion to reduce any 3D foam reduce. The decision of whether or not to use a laser or a hot wire cutter is based on the kind of foam (for example, Polyurethane, also known as PU foam can only be cut with the laser), on the thickness and the size of the foam to be reduce.

Most CNC hot wire foam cutters are capable of cutting the following sorts of foam: EPS foam – Expanded Polystyrene EPP foam – Expanded Polypropylene XPS foam – Extruded Polystyrene

The smaller foam cutters will typically cut wings, fuselages, logos and letters. The medium foam cutters will reduce related shapes to small ones, with the addition of getting able to cut crown moldings and trims utilized in the architectural industries, although the massive foam cutting machines are utilized mainly by building contractors and large sign companies.

The following types of foam can be cut with the laser cutters and engravers: Polyurethane – Mostly for packaging, insulation and gun instances Polyethylene or EVA foam – For 3D shapes, packaging and tool trays Polystyrene – For packaging, crown moldings, signs and props Polycarbonate (also identified as Plexiglas) – For cutting and engraving MDF – For vacuum molding forms. For cutting wood or light metals, the use of a CNC router is required.

The distinct cutting machines differ in their dimensions and size, including their powerful cutting on the X axis (horizontal) and the Y axis (vertical), their hot wire length, and other characteristics such as cutting speed capabilities, how a lot of blocks of foam can be cut in one particular single reduce and the kind of cuts made (tapered or not tapered).

For projects requiring machining foam or fabrication of foam there is a require to use CNC routers or a combo of a CNC hot wire foam cutter with a router program. Full scale racing cars, 3D topographic maps (up to 10’x5’x20″ on a single reduce), props and art work can all be machined, and foam molds can also be developed.

All of the cutting machines are CNC, which indicates they are controlled by a pc and come with specialized cutting computer software.

The approach of cutting the foam includes specialized files that consist of the shape drawing. For 2D shapes a DXF file is necessary, even though for 3D shapes an STL file is required, which allows to rotate the shape and see all the angles of it for greater accuracy. After the proper file is received, the information is entered into the laptop which is connected to the foam cutter, like all the coordinated required for cutting that particular shape. Upon finishing of cutting the shape required, it can be sanded to either a rough or a smooth finish, according to the customer’s request. Huge scale shapes are created in a number of pieces, then glued together to make the total shape. The cut can also be coated with Polyethylene coating, Polyurea and paint it if required. The finish solution wants to be tough, robust and extended lasting.


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