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IndustryArena Forum > Material Technology > Glass, Plastic and Stone > Best method for cutting terrains out of foam
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  1. #1

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    Jun 2019
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    Best method for cutting terrains out of foam

    Hi, we are an architecture studio and would like to cut 3D terrain out of foam blocks (PU or XPS). The terrains will have a surface of 10x10 cm up to 1x1 m and a height of up to 10 cm. What method would be most suitable for this in terms of speed and economics? Could such terrains only be cut with a CNC driller or would, e.g., a water jet, laser or hot metal also be suitable for our purpose? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Best method for cutting terrains out of foam

    Hi - What sort of definition would you need? 5mm ? 1mm? a water jet, laser or hot metal (I presume wire cutter) won't do what I think you want to do as these cut profiles (shapes in flat sheet product). A 3 axis CNC router will do the job easily if you have a surface file (nurbs or stl) of the shape you want. Peter

  3. #3

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    Re: Best method for cutting terrains out of foam

    Hi Peter, thanks for your prompt reply! A 1 mm definition would be about what I need. So a CNC router would probably then be what I need. Are there special CNC routers for cutting foam or is there anything I would need to look out for regarding the specs of the machine?

  4. #4
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    Re: Best method for cutting terrains out of foam

    Did you want these "terrains" to be fully 3D, or a series of flat planes stuck together with a stair-step profile like architectural models typically have? If it's the latter, you can use one sort of cutting machine or another (waterjet, hot wire, laser, etc) to cut flat pieces of stock that can be nested and stacked. If it's the former, and you want smooth transitions between the contour lines, then you should use a CNC router and a ball-nose endmill.
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  5. #5
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    Re: Best method for cutting terrains out of foam

    Hi Ioeidos - A suitable machine will be an extrusion/belt kit. In australia would be something like below, but these won't have a Z cut of 100mm will need to be extended or do it in pieces (not ideal). Or you step up to a more commercial grade machine. Depends on budget and speed required. 1000x1000 at 1mm is a lot of cutting time. So you would "rough" with a 1/2" or 20mm tool then finish with as big a tool as you can use for the detail you want to save machine time. I think XPS or PS foam won't hold 1mm but dense PU foam would. You will need to work on toolpath strategy to get fast times I think... Plus you will need excellent dust collection, PS foam creates very fine and floaty dust. An enclosure will be needed if its in office space. Noise and dust control will be required. If its in industrial space then dust control is top of the list then noise.

    There are bits for foam, but normal tools seem to work fine. Foam bits are more like burrs or spiky burrs....Peter

    https://www.sharpsoftware.com.au/cnc-machines
    https://www.toolstoday.com/router-bi...uter-bits.html
    EVA Foam Milling Tools EVA Router Bits for Ethylene-vinyl Acetate Foam Cutting

    look up ricocnc
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails face.JPG  

  6. #6

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    Re: Best method for cutting terrains out of foam

    Hi - What sort of definition would you need?

  7. #7

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    Jun 2019
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    Re: Best method for cutting terrains out of foam

    Hi, a 1-2 mm definition would be good to have, possibly even up to 5 mm!

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