Cutting foam core- safety measures?

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Finn Maccumhail
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Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by Finn Maccumhail » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:05 pm

I'm using foam core to rebuild my Banana River and am about to start cutting foam for the interior of the hull. I know I need to wear safety goggles to prevent dust from getting into my eyes and a respirator to make sure I don't inhale it but do I need a tyvek suit or the like? It's standard 1" divinycel.

I can't find a good answer.

Thanks.



fallguy1000
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Re: Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by fallguy1000 » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:01 pm

All I wear is sometimes gloves to reduce skin exposures.

The product you are using would have an msds. Look for it in the manufacturers website.
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OrangeQuest

Re: Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by OrangeQuest » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:07 pm

Can you use a hot knife to cut it? No dust just smoke if it burns. When I set up my hot wire to cut large blocks (as high as 24" blocks) of Styrofoam very little smoke and zero dust. It would be like using a band saw but easier to use a fence to make straight cuts.

narfi
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Re: Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by narfi » Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:36 pm

OrangeQuest wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 8:07 pm
Can you use a hot knife to cut it? No dust just smoke if it burns. When I set up my hot wire to cut large blocks (as high as 24" blocks) of Styrofoam very little smoke and zero dust. It would be like using a band saw but easier to use a fence to make straight cuts.
Some core's produce toxic fumes when cut with a hotwire, some do not. It is best to use the appropriate method depending on the core.

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Evan_Gatehouse
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Re: Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by Evan_Gatehouse » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:05 pm

Yes, I've thermal formed Corecell and if heated too much it gives off nasty smelling fumes.

For cutting it - score with utility knife and just snap it like drywall / gypsum board. Or cut curves with a jigsaw. It's quite benign.
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OrangeQuest

Re: Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by OrangeQuest » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:48 am

There is always a fan blowing across my work bench to keep fumes away. I also use a variable voltage/current regulated power supply that I adjust the temperature to just able to cut through the foam. I use a Nichrome wire that does a nice job of keeping the same heat all across the cut. Easy to adjust the temp by increasing the voltage till it's to hot to touch. Styrofoam melts at such a low temperature. Things smoke when to hot and burn.
3548
I have to push the blocks through very slowly because the wire is so thin and temp so low that to fast and it breaks. Because I build the cutter every time I can adjust the angle of my cuts and cut up to 40" or buy the wire in a spool and go even wider. To make my cutter I have a small hole in the center of my work bench and feed one end through and attach to a brass nut and bolt. Clamp a board to the table top that I screw an upright to. 1/4" bolt and nut to allow the upper arm to pivot on. Another brass nut and bolt to attach the cutting wire to. Adjust a bungee cord just enough to keep the wire tight. Wire gets longer when it heats up. Use a protractor to set angle. Clamp long board to table for fence. Can stack multi sheets for repeat cuts or patterns.

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Re: Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by narfi » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:57 am

That sounds like a slick setup. Do you have any pictures of it?

OrangeQuest

Re: Cutting foam core- safety measures?

Post by OrangeQuest » Tue Aug 21, 2018 1:50 pm

narfi wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:57 am
That sounds like a slick setup. Do you have any pictures of it?
Never thought of taking picture of the setup. I take it apart after every use because it takes up the whole work bench. To make it work better I need a very smooth surface like a counter top.

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