One Day Build Bonus: Foamcore Memories

In this bonus clip from this week’s One Day Build, Adam shares a memory of how he and team modelmaking team at ILM used foamcore for prototyping miniature sets.

Comments (27)

27 thoughts on “One Day Build Bonus: Foamcore Memories

  1. Foam core is handy in design when you have part of something built, but can’t get a handle on critical detail and interference. I had to foam core mock up a bracket that had to fit inside a magnet( a quad) on the beamline of a particle accelerator. Ours wasn’t as nice as that model, but it’s sort of hard to get long shots in a real accelerator tunnel.

  2. Adam, what do you use for dust control? I never see you turning on any kind of dust collection system, although it appears you have one. How is everything in your shop not covered with an inch of sawdust and foamcore dust?

  3. Another great vid, I always admired your similar model on the wall of your office, I love mounting models vertically on walls , great to see you do too. Adam you have inspired many peoples builds, this is very similar to a build I’m doing for my wife , hard to build something she might appreciate so inspired by your maze build I am building a diorama of our 27 years together , it’s great fun but taking a bit of time to build all the members of our family at O scale using the cheap railway figures . I should post it on the tested forum once done ,thanks again

  4. You cut “v’s” in the foam core on the back side. Then bend it. You can do it by hand or they also make jigs and special cutters.

  5. Mass spec? Synchrotron beamline? Which one?

    I can see it (foamcore) being pretty handy on figuring out a hutch configuration – wish they used it more often. Some of the setups I have seen look like lunchtime projects. In fact we have some synchrotron diffraction patterns where the beam block looks like it was made from a cutout of foil from someone;’s sandwich. Kinda odd for publication.

  6. MantaBase,

    Both actually, but the specific case I was thinking about was the FEL at Jefferson Lab. I was contracting there in 1997 and 1998.

  7. Interestingly enough the top pic on my post shows the problem I had to deal with. This was back in 1998, so the machine wasn’t done in 3D CAD as the lab hadn’t installed it yet. So I didn’t have a 3D model of the magnets and other parts. If you look at the picture you can see a stand with a red magnet on it and some other stuff. That’s a quad. Right next to it, that grey looking tube, is a round corrector magnet that works sort of like the magnets on a TV tube. Now what happened was that when the FEL was laid out the corrector magnets had square shaped coils and were shorter. But the engineer responsible for the magnets went with a different design for simplicity which I appreciated since I was the sucker, er great designer, stuck with designing the mounts for those magnets. The problem was the magnets had to fit in place where they were bigger than the original layout planned for and the beampipe can be crowded.

  8. Moving the magnet position was NOT an option as beam guidance relied on them. Most of the magnets were no problem, I had to move some bracketry for others and then there was the one bracket that really was screwed up. Now the magnet had to be where it was, in between a quad and a stand. the stand had stuff on it and a bracket at the end of the stand, right where the aircore had to go. I couldn’t move the bracket on the stand because there was no room, so the only solution was to put the bracket inside the coils of the quad. I came up with a welded design y shaped bracket but I needed to make sure it would fit. So I plotted a scale drawing, went down the street to the hobbystore and got some foambard and a hot glue gun and whipped up a mockup. The mockup fit and life was good.

  9. For Jlab’s big accellerator’s targets they use beer can blanks. They used to use Coors Silver Bullet cans, but Coors stopped selling that size can. What they ended doing was going up the street to Ball and having a quick run of a couple thousand cans made up, without lids, and will be using them for beam targets forever.

  10. if you make a bunch of cuts on back (carefully only cutting half way through, so that you leave the other side intact) you can create curves. If you miter the cuts on the back, you get tighter curves. The more material you remove, the tighter the curve.

  11. If you want to make something curved from foam core, one way is to cut v-shaped grooves evenly spaced into one side. Try to cut all the way through the foam but not the paper. That gives you a flexible sheet that can be rolled into a curve. Some well-equipped craft stores sell knives for this purpose that have a depth-gauge for precise and repeatable grooves.

  12. i was about to post the same question id love to know!

    edit: then i procced to read the rest of the comment and find my answer

  13. Nice. Would love to have seen them using the coors cans. I have never been to the JL. Just the APS and ALS on the opposite coast.

  14. Beginner crafter here. Thinking of using foam core for a personal project but looking to make round columns. Is it possible with those boards? How do I go about doing it? I see the set that Adam featured in the bonus video and it look impressive on the curve tunnel. Any tips or tricks master builders here could share with me?

  15. Anyone have suggestions about where to obtain it. Amazon has a nice selection but I can only imagine the condition it would arrive in (bent, folded, coroners mashed, etc.) My tour of local places like Wal-Mart and Michael’s, etc. turned up only small sizes (12×24 for example). We used to have Pearl, an art store that carried this kind of thing, but it is long gone now. I suppose I could glue small pieces to make larger ones but that seems offensive to me. 🙂

  16. Those 1 2 3 blocks are awesome! I’ve been looking for something like that forever. Thanks so much. Just got a set for my house. About to order a few more for my studio. Thanks Adam!

  17. Well, there’s always one, and this time it’s me.

    I hate foamboard. With a passion.

    As an architect making models at university I would go to alarming lengths to avoid the stuff; for some reason the world (studio) was divided into the foamcore users – with nimble, sweatless fingers – and those of us who blunted hundreds of scalpel blades on thick grey card.

    I could model in card, paper, wood and plastic, but never got the hang of foam board. Still, I did grow fond of its distant cousin which had layers of plastic laminated either side of a more rubberised core… that stuff was incredible and far easier to work with.

    So, foam core: great stuff if you have the skills or the temprament, but not the be-all and end-all. But give me a cereal packet or a decent business card stock any day.

    PS. I don’t hate it. We’ve just mutually agreed that our relationship is going nowhere and that we will consciously uncouple.

  18. OK I have to be Safety Sam here (or as others would say a name I prefer not to use) as a rule of thumb to keep your thumb always use a push stick if the piece you are cutting is less than the width of your out stretched hand. Adam I know you know what you are doing but some who don’t may emulate you and you had a number of injuries on Myth Busters. Please either explain why you aren’t using “proper” safety procedures or say “Don’t try this at home” for the protection of the neophytes. I am honestly amazed at the way you’ve used a table-saw on MB and Tested you have all your fingers. Please keep them all!

  19. I was thinking of asking the same. With all the dust and paint overspray flying in the Barbarella (can’t decide if “space sexploration” or “space sexploitation” is the more fitting category) rifle build, I couldn’t get over how he can keep anything clean, especially keeping junk out of his finishes? Just building out my dust extraction setup now so it’s on the brain.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

A Tour of Grant Imahara’s Shop

Show And Tell

A Tour of Grant Imahara’s Shop

Friend and colleague Fon Davis gives Adam Savage a tour of G…

Adam’s Favorite Tools: Heat Gun and Iron!


Adam’s Favorite Tools: Heat Gun and Iron!

Inspired by one of his favorite YouTube channels (Ted Woodfo…

Conserving the X-Wing at Smithsonian


Conserving the X-Wing at Smithsonian

How do you restore and conserve an artifact like the X-Wing,…

The Mystery of This Original Rocketeer Stunt Pack

Show And Tell

The Mystery of This Original Rocketeer Stunt Pack

Adam visits Prop Store to take a look at an original stunt p…

Portable Fog Machines for Propmaking and Photography!

Show And Tell

Portable Fog Machines for Propmaking and Photograp…

Want to add fog or fake smoke to your projects? We round up …

Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Apple’s Diminishing Returns – This is Only a Test …

Another duocast this week, as Jeremy joins Norm to recap the announcements and disappointments from Apple's California Streaming event, including the new technolgoy in the latest generation of iPhones and Apple Watch. Plus, more thoughts on The Matrix, the launch of the Inspiration 4 mission, and the first trailer for Marvel's Hawkeye sho…

Adam Savage Tours Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s Farmhouse Set!


Adam Savage Tours Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s Farmho…

While on location of the Ghostbusters: Afterlife set, Adam S…

Adam Savage: How I Wear My Face Mask

Show And Tell

Adam Savage: How I Wear My Face Mask

With masks being part of our lives for the foreseeable futur…

Why There’s an X-Wing in the Smithsonian


Why There’s an X-Wing in the Smithsonian

While in DC in August, Adam stopped by one of his FAVORITE p…

How the Original MythBusters Series Would Be Different Today


How the Original MythBusters Series Would Be Diffe…

Tested member Adam Joseph asked Adam Savage, "If MythBusters…