Cutting foam properly - instructions and tips for the tool
- Cut foam
- The right tool
- cardboard scissors
- Sharp knife
- Electric kitchen knife
- Wallpaper knife or cutter
- Hot wire
- Cutting foam | manual
- Alternative | Freeze
Thermal insulation, but not easy to work. Foam is characterized by a variety of properties that are used effectively in the home and garden and are good for home improvement and hobbyists. When cutting the fabric, however, there are often problems because the density of the foam does not allow a simple, straight cut. Nevertheless, there is an effective tool for the cut.
Foam is an artificially made fabric that, as the name implies, is a plastic foam. Since almost all plastics can be further processed into foams, there are different variants for different applications. For example, heat-insulating foams are based on a different plastic than sound-insulating foams.
Nevertheless, all foams have the same problem: they are difficult to cut in a conventional manner. For this reason, you need the right tool for this project for the different foam types and thicknesses, so that they do not tear on the foam or this is flaky. That's exactly what you want to avoid.
The right tool
Foams quickly lose pressure when compared to other fabrics and do not retain a firm shape during the cut. If you do not choose very thin foams, you can forget the cut with a conventional knife or scissors. It only comes to a crooked cut, in the end damage the fabric and can make us unusable. The following problems are very common when cutting foams with the wrong tools.
- Cutting edge goes wrong
- Cut edge is uneven
- Cloth breaks
- individual pieces can tear out
- Fabric starts to flake
- Edges fray
To avoid these problems, you need suitable tools that penetrate easily through the foam due to their nature and application. This reduces the negative effects and allows the foams to be cut as straight and clean as possible.
Before you can cut the foams into the desired shape, you should select the right tool. The individual tools are suitable for different types of foam and should therefore be chosen to cut easily through the fabric. Normal methods do not really displace the substance because the density is too low. Therefore, tearing occurs in most cases, which is not ideal. The following tools are well suited for use in the home workshop.
Cardboard shears can be used to a greater extent well for foams having a maximum thickness of 4 cm. Due to their very high cutting force, they penetrate the material more easily than other scissors. It's best to choose a heavy one because it will allow you to use more force to penetrate the fabric quickly and effectively. When using cardboard scissors, the thinner the fabric, the easier it is to cut with scissors.
If you choose a knife, it must be long enough. The longer the knife is, the easier it can slip through the fabric, although it is not the most suitable tool for this project. Nevertheless, cutting can work with the knife, especially if no exactly measured pieces are needed, but only a rough shape . Knives can only be used for foams in the medium hardness range and in different thicknesses (depending on the knife length). Use a knife with a pronounced serrated edge.
Electric kitchen knife
These devices are ideal for all soft foams that are flexible. Since two blades run against each other here, the tension of the foam can be dissolved more easily, resulting in a clean cut edge that does not fray. With the electric kitchen knife, you can also tackle complex projects that demand a lot of accuracy.
Wallpaper knife or cutter
Both variants are well suited for cutting the following foam types.
- foam rubber
They work just as effectively as the electric kitchen knife, but offer only for these types, since they slide on other foams only on the fabric and not really cut. The size of the cutter should be adapted to the thickness of the material.
Use this machine exclusively for Styrodur foam, never for other types. With other types of foam, you run the risk that the heat will smear, melt or even ignite the fabric. Since Styrodur is hard and stiff, the hot wire is quite good, but you should never use this light-hearted, otherwise there are potential problems and fire.
Although there are other tools, such as circular knives, which are specially designed for foam, but really have the least home improvement at home. Likewise, this includes the cutting method of a sharp water jet, which is also used only in industry. The above tool is best for home improvement and people who want to implement their own projects with the material. Do not use saws. These tear the foams usually only in half.
Tip: You can have foams cut at the hardware store or at specialty retailers, especially if you need a precise and clean cut that should not be different from measured sizes. Although this will require a small fee, if you know exactly how many blanks are needed and in what size, this method will prove effective.
Cutting foam | manual
In order to be able to cut the foams effectively and as cleanly as possible, you need to be careful, incorporating the properties of each tool into the process. For preparation, you only need a straight, cut and, in the case of the hot wire, fireproof pad, a ruler and a pen to paint possible marks on the fabric.
Then proceed as follows:
Step 1: Choose your tool and prepare it. Likewise, the foam boards that you want to cut.
Step 2: If you know the dimensions you need for each piece, use the pen and ruler to help and draw guides on the fabric. You should not press too hard into the foams, otherwise it can come to holes that could affect the surface.
Step 3: After completing the markings, you can start cutting. If you cut very large pieces, it is advisable to use another person as a helping hand.
Step 4: If you decide on a knife and feel it does not work, you should sprinkle it with a bit of olive or sunflower oil. This relaxes the tension of the foam and makes cutting a lot easier. For all other tools you can do without it.
Step 5: Otherwise, the cut is done like all other cutting measures, except that you should take care with every tool to use it consciously so that you do not injure yourself. Especially with foams, it can quickly come to a wrong cut, especially if you do not keep the tool completely in view during the cut.
Step 6: After cutting, you should disconnect the electrical equipment from the power and let the hot wire cool down. Then dispose of the remaining foam that you no longer need.
If you do not opt for a professional cut, you always have to expect that the desired mass can not be fully implemented. Often these are not in the millimeter, but centimeter range possible, especially with scissors and knives.
Alternative | Freeze
As an alternative to the classic cut, freezing and subsequent cutting with a saw is a good option. It has been described above that sawing is not suitable for cutting foams, but this is no longer the case once the fabric is frozen. In the frozen state, the fabric can hardly bend and does not yield, which is perfect for the saw.
Proceed as follows:
- Place foam in a water bath or bathtub and let it soak
- then for several hours in the freezer or freezer
- After the substance has completely frozen through, remove it from the cooling compartment
- Now you can cut simple pieces with the saw
- after that, the foam is simply put outside to defrost and dry