Shop Tips: Cutting Foam for Propmaking

Frank shares some of his favorite blades and techniques for cutting foam for prop and costume fabrication. Whether you run a large workshop or just work out of your garage, we want to hear your shop tips that you rely on in your projects. Post them in the comments below!

Comments (15)

15 thoughts on “Shop Tips: Cutting Foam for Propmaking

  1. Very cool video! Frank, I was wondering if that blade is really tricky to install on the band saw? It looks like a fun way to cut yourself putting that on the saw. I always use gloves to change my blade, but that scalloped blade looks like it would cut through leather just by handling it. Foam is one of my favorite materials for building prototypes, so this could be a game changer!

  2. I do not yet have a band saw, but it’s on my must-buy list. I was wondering about the life and cost of such a blade when you’re comparing it to disposable handheld blades or resharpening box cutters.

  3. Technical term for that edge cut- The “rout” cut that Norm called it is: “Skiving.” We use small replaceable skiving blades made by Osborne for our leatherworking, which are basically those blades, just pre-curved for taking the thickness off of the edges of hides. Comes with a neat little bent sheet-metal handle to make it a little more ergo.

  4. I wonder how well a good zero-clearance insert would do to minimize the jagged edges on the band saw? No doubt the scallop blade would still be superior, but you could save the hassle of swapping the blade out if it the tear-out was all but gone with an insert.

  5. thats not how i store them, thats how it came to me from McMaster.

    thanks for the link though! ill check it out.

  6. I totally endorse that band saw folding method, its easy & convenient once you have practised it a few times. Wearing a leather glove for low TPI blades and particularly that scalloped blade is a good idea. I prefer to use cheap (less sticky) electrical tape to keep the blades coiled for storage.

  7. I use a cheap $200 Chinese A3 size laser cutter, it works perfect and because it’s burning in the foam it leaves a nice finish if you focus the laser correct. I can cut 20mm foam in 1 go, but i usual use 10mm layers. just draw it up in sketchup, export to dfx file and send it to the laser. this is the insert i made for a peli case to store all the video problem solvers at my job:

    http://www.crankbmx.com/images/pelicaseinsert.jpg

    http://www.crankbmx.com/images/insertcutting.jpg

  8. hard to cut big things on an A3 size laser. and lasers dont do bevels. i have presets on my Universal Laser for all of the foams i use. but still limited in size, and lack of bevels.

  9. I just bought a scalloped blade for my machine. How often would you need to sharpen this when using with EVA foam?

    And my machine only has a speed of only 800RPM. I haven’t received the blade in the mail yet but I’m hoping that this will be fast enough

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