foam sheets

Discussion of model railway baseboard design and construction
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alex3410
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Location: Essex

foam sheets

Postby alex3410 » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:46 pm

Hi all,

I have been watching layout videos on You Tube and most seem to make use of foam sheets ontop of the baseboard to help form hills and lakes etc

i am looking into the idea but not sure on what foam I need it this any good? : link

if so what do i need to use to cut it and are there any health issues to worry about when cutting it?

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Bufferstop
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Re: foam sheets

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:53 pm

If you use polystyrene sheet it can be cut with a saw blade or hot wire. Depending on the blade used it can release a lot of little poly balls which stick everywhere, including the inside of the vacuum cleaner. Cutting them with a hot wire cutter the edges are sealed. Squires, Proops etc sell the cutters, but for big jobs its easy to make your own providing you can find the wire. I just happened to have a reel of 10thou tungsten wire in my workbox, a leftover from a previous occupation, which will see my days out. The places that supply school labs should have it. 1 volt per inch seems a good starting value, you just stretch the wire across the mouth of an enlarged wooden replica of a fretsaw, and power it from something like an old H&M controller. There's a slightly different foam available from builders merchants which looks more like the inside of a crunchie bar, yellow with small holes in it. It's less messy to cut but releases a fine dust which means a mask must be worn whilst cutting it.
I built up my scenery by cutting contour boards from poly foam arranged in a grid pattern, with interwoven strips of thin card on top then about five layers of cut up brown paper sacks liberally code in dilute PVA.
Growing old, can't avoid it. Growing up, forget it!
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Pete
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Location: UK

Re: foam sheets

Postby Pete » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:59 pm

Hi

I've used the polystyrene sheets in your link above, they are great. A good tip is to stick them together with tile cement. I block them up into the thickness required and cut them to shape with a saw and a bread knife, the coarse teeth cut through it great. You'll end up with a snow storm of polystyrene balls as mentioned above, you'll be picking them out of your hair for months, but it's worth it. Once I have the basic shape I cover it with Tetrion or Polyfiller, plaster even, anything really that will smooth it over. You can use a hot wire cutter to form smoother contours, but I still recommend covering it with something as the polystyrene is rubbish at taking paint etc as it isn't very absorbative (is that a word!! you know what I mean).



Pete
It's the nature of evolution
The dinosaurs went to Hell


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Pevensey Flyer
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Re: foam sheets

Postby Pevensey Flyer » Sat Aug 17, 2013 11:29 am

Take a look at my layout 'Boship Abbey' ( link below).

This will give you a step by step guide on how to build a layout using polystyrene to form hills etc.


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