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This article sheds light on why foam cutting, what uses are for foam cutting, the types of industries that use foam cutting, and what the cutting process is. It also explains the types of foam used and the equipment involved in the process.

There is tremendous growth in the demand for foam cutting today, especially for manufacturing and machining. The demand for foam cutting and machining is essential in various types of industries, including accessories, sculptures and monuments, boats, kayaks and canoes, signs, displays, architectural prototypes and forms, crown molding for construction, packaging insulation and wings. .

Foam cutting companies must use top of the line cutting equipment to offer a wide range of foam cutting services. Cutting can be done using a CNC hot wire foam cutter or a CNC laser cutter. The hot wire can cut almost any thickness of foam and projects up to 12 feet and more; While the laser cutter is cutting wire very fine cuts (up to ¾ “), making a high quality surface finish. The decision to use the laser or hot wire cutters is based on the type of foam (for example, Polyurethane, also known as PU foam, can only be laser cut), depending on the thickness and size of the foam to be cut.

Most CNC hot wire foam cutters are capable of cutting EPS foam (also called expanded polystyrene), EPP foam (called expanded polypropylene), and XPS foam (extruded polystyrene).

Smaller foam cutters typically cut wings, fuselages, logos, and lettering. Medium foam cutters cut shapes similar to small ones, with the addition of being able to cut crown molding and trim used in architectural industries, while large foam cutter machines are used primarily by construction contractors and large sign manufacturers.

Laser cutters and engravers can cut various types of foam, including polyurethane, primarily for packaging, insulation, and gun cases; Polyethylene or EVA foam for creating 3D shapes, packaging and tool trays; Polystyrene for packaging, crown molding, signs and accessories; Polycarbonate (also known as Plexiglas) for cutting and engraving and MDF for vacuum molds.

If the materials to be cut are wood or light metals, the use of a CNC router is necessary.

Different cutting machines differ in their dimensions and size, including their effective cutting on the X-axis (horizontal) and Y-axis (vertical), their hot wire length, and other characteristics such as cutting speed capacity, how many blocks of Foam can be cut into a single cut and the type of cuts made (tapered or non-tapered).

For projects that require foam machining or foam making, it is necessary to use CNC routers or a combination of a CNC hot wire foam cutter with a router system. Large-scale racing cars, 3D topographic maps (up to 10’x5’x20 “in a single cut), accessories and artwork can be machined, and foam molds can also be created.

All cutting machines are CNC, which means they are controlled by a computer and come with specialized cutting software.

The foam cutting process involves specialized files that include the shape drawing. For 2D shapes a DXF file is required, while for 3D shapes an STL file is needed, which allows you to rotate the shape and see all its angles for better precision.

Once the correct file is received, the data is entered into the computer that is connected to the foam cutter, including all the coordinates needed to cut that specific shape. Upon completion of cutting the required shape, it can be sanded to a rough or smooth finish, as requested by the customer. Large-scale shapes are made in multiple pieces and then glued together to form the complete shape. The cut can also be coated with polyethylene, polyurea coating and painted if necessary. The final product must be durable, strong and durable.

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