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IndustryArena Forum > Other Machines > Machine Created Art > Best 3D Foam Finishes and Hard Coat Materials
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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2017
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    Best 3D Foam Finishes and Hard Coat Materials

    Hello! I am looking for some advice on the best types of foam finishes and hard coat materials to use for 3D foam sculptures and props.

    In your experience, what are the best types of materials for finishing foam props? (Polyurea, Epoxy, etc.)

    Also, what type of foam do you recommend using for 3D sculptures (Density, Type, etc.), and what type of materials have you found work best to finish / hard coat them?

    I would appreciate any insights or advice that you have. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    4757

    Re: Best 3D Foam Finishes and Hard Coat Materials

    I've had best luck carving rigid urethane foams. It makes a big mess, and the dust sticks to everything (think static cling on steroids). But it carves cleaner than styrene-based foam, and you don't get tear-out like beadboard gives you. The denser foams are easier to work with, more structural, and hold better detail, but the lighter ones are cheaper, so you need to balance these factors based on the individual project.

    You can coat urethane with epoxy, but it's expensive, messy and difficult to clean up. If you're trying to make a rigid shell you're peeling off the foam (like a boat or something) then you can use glass or other fibers to reinforce it. But if you're just making props out of foam and you want to firm up the surface so you can paint it, an acrylic emulsion works fine, and it's a lot easier to deal with as well as being cheaper. I've used this stuff successfully: Steve's Foam Coat
    Andrew Werby
    Website

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2017
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    Re: Best 3D Foam Finishes and Hard Coat Materials

    Quote Originally Posted by awerby View Post
    I've had best luck carving rigid urethane foams. It makes a big mess, and the dust sticks to everything (think static cling on steroids). But it carves cleaner than styrene-based foam, and you don't get tear-out like beadboard gives you. The denser foams are easier to work with, more structural, and hold better detail, but the lighter ones are cheaper, so you need to balance these factors based on the individual project.

    You can coat urethane with epoxy, but it's expensive, messy and difficult to clean up. If you're trying to make a rigid shell you're peeling off the foam (like a boat or something) then you can use glass or other fibers to reinforce it. But if you're just making props out of foam and you want to firm up the surface so you can paint it, an acrylic emulsion works fine, and it's a lot easier to deal with as well as being cheaper. I've used this stuff successfully: Steve's Foam Coat
    Awerby, thanks for the comment! We've got a pretty hard core dust collection system, so hopefully that will help with the urethane foams.

    I haven't researched much about acrylic emulsion coatings, but I'm going to look into it now. I'll check out that Steve's Foam Coat - thanks so much for the recommendation. Really appreciate it.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    23

    Re: Best 3D Foam Finishes and Hard Coat Materials

    The majority of the people that I have spoken to have recommended either Polyurea or Epoxy coating for our foam projects.

    Does anyone have any recommendations for brands for either of these coating types? Or any recommendations for spray systems for applying them?

    Thanks in advance!

  5. #5
    Registered
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    1

    Re: Best 3D Foam Finishes and Hard Coat Materials

    Hello, I would like to know how you are doing on the cnc foam carving.
    I am looking for someone that could do something that my small mill just cant handle.

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