Author Topic: Carving foam landforms  (Read 2506 times)

Zephyrus52246

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Carving foam landforms
« on: June 16, 2016, 05:23:26 PM »
I'm finally working on some landforms for the layout.  I've worked with the foam once, for the original forum's first contest.  Now I need to do much larger areas.  When looking up which forum board to put this on we had a discussion of the hot wire cutters early last year.  I've been using (per the picture)a large serrated knife, a small serrated knife, the extendable blade cutter, a large surform and a smaller surform and a hot blade cutter.  I have a wire cutter which is broken  >:( as well.  The wire cutter and the blade make horrible stinky fumes, which I can't have as there's really not a lot of ventilation down here.  I'm cutting small pieces with the blade in the airbrush booth.  The knives are OK for the vertical cuts, not so great for "forming".  The surform tools (especially the big one) work great but much a large amount of small styrofoam bits.  Fortunately, with the whole house vac, I can clean these up relatively quickly.  I used Great Stuff in the can (expanding foam) to glue the pieces together (the top two pieces are still loose), and it worked well and filled in gaps.  It's easily cut/sanded like the foam.  I had a tube of Liquid Nails for projects to try for this, but I've had it many years and it dried out, even though the tube was never opened.  The top is floral foam which Mike Rose and Mike Confalone use.  It seems easier to cut than the solid foam, but it's kinda pricey and not available in huge sheets.  Everything still needs some work, just wondering what you guys and gals do for foam landforms. 


Jeff

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2016, 06:06:12 PM »
Jeff,

Now you are really going to have fun.

The pink foam is scare here in Central Florida. I've been using the 1" blue foam board.  I use the WS hot wire cutter for some of the cutting but the depth is limited as you can only cut as far in on the foam as 6".

After I get the basic shape of what I want, I then use medium grit sandpaper to shape the rest. Be sure you sand outside unless you want pink snow all over the layout. Don't ask how I know what blue snow looks like.

I've also used the blade cutters and an old serrated kitchen knife.

If I can't get the shape I'm after, I'll use the DAP spackle.

Tom ;D
If you hate plan A, you are certainly not going to like plan B!

Tom Langford
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ak-milw

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 07:51:56 PM »
Jeff,
 I always use a hot wire or knife. Also my bandsaw does a good job.
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Cuse

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2016, 09:11:28 PM »
Dr. Jeff,


I'm a big fan of the Woodland Scenics wire cutter. As Tom said, it does have some (manageable) limitations in its reach. You also will find the wire has to be replaced once in a while - they break. It makes beautiful, clean curved and bevelled shapes  and it's pretty cheap, all things considered. A friend gave me a hot knife that looked like a heavy butter knife with a heavier handle and a power cord that was supposedly close to $100...this thing was a useless mess as it melted the areas around the cuts, stunk up the place, and left stringy gunk from the melted foam cuts. Plus it was slow and less maneuverable. All my scenery is stacked foam, typically 3/4" thick, which is about all you can find here in FL. I find it to totally manageable and with the WC cutter, it's also clean and fast.


Good luck ...John

BandOGuy

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2016, 11:12:01 AM »
Obviously not from experience, but I recall reading somewhere that electric carving knives are good for scenery carving. The person making the suggestion suggested that, in addition to purchasing one new, the knives can be found at second hand stores or a Salvation Army store if you have one nearby.
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Zephyrus52246

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2016, 11:47:49 AM »
Thanks for the responses guys.  I forgot about the electric knife.  Since the wife's away, I'll go get it and try it.  I must say that, putting a new blade in the extended box cutter, it's very easy to carve the florist foam.  I just need to find a source to buy larger quantities/sizes. 


Jeff

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2016, 03:38:15 PM »
For my foam land forms I use a big wire cutter to rough out the shapes and a kitchen knife for the fine work. And then for cracks and bricks I use a bic pen to draw them in.

BandOGuy

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2016, 05:08:07 PM »
Working on my second million. I gave up on the first.

Zephyrus52246

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Re: Carving foam landforms
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2016, 03:19:19 PM »
Thanks for the reference, Chip.  I thought I had a wire foam cutter somewhere, but I can't find it.  The electric knife works great on the 1/2 inch and 1 inch foam.  The 2 inch is too much for it.  I think I'll stick with the "hot knife" for the 2 inch.   I used Great Stuff to glue the pieces to the layout and each other.  Filled some gaps with it as well.  The problem with it is, it's VERY sticky, so if you get some on anything, it's there forever (clothing, carpet, etc).  The cans are also one shot, once it dries, the can isn't usable again, unless you immediately clean it out with acetone.  I did manage to get the can to work a second day this way.  I got some Gorilla Glue yesterday, and I think that's what I'll use from here on out.  The forms are basically ready, but for what?  I may use Sculptamold, or may get the fixins for some ground goop.  The flat area behind the tool shed (I'm going to add a yard office to the left of it) will be exposed rock.  Now to find the rock molds.  Need to get some hydrocal as well.  And order a new electric knife for the kitchen as I'm taking the old one for The Empire.  :D


Jeff

 

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