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Subject: Foam Board Basics rss

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Daniel Barrett
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I'm looking at adding some walls to a game map I have and I know foam board is often used in that application.

Upon doing a little more reading I've come across references to Foam Board, Foam Core and Gator(?) Board.

Are any of these the easiest to work with? All I really want to do is cut, glue and paint it.

Are there specific glues and paints you should use?



 
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James Casey
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I've not heard of Gator board, and as far as I know foam core and foam board are one and the same thing.

Its basically just cardboard on the outside, so any paper glue will do. I use white PVA glue (I think you call it Elmers in the US?).

When cutting foam board, use the "three cuts" technique - use a *sharp* craft knife, make three cuts - first cut goes through the top layer of card, second cut through the foam, thrid cut through the bottom layer of card.
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Brandon Pennington
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Gator board is very rigid and doesn't warp (as much) as foamcore does. Yes foamboard and foamcore are pretty much the same thing.
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James Hébert
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FoamCore (and variations on that spelling) are more susceptible to warping depending how large a piece you use and whether you glue or paint with a heavy hand). The water content of the paint/glue can cause it to warp. I'm not sure how humidity much plays into it. I have a difficult time with foamcore staying flat no matter how careful I am.

Gator Board is definitely more rigid and will retain its flatness better. It is also more costly.

If anyone who's well-versed in foam core projects will chime in, I'd certainly like to know if there are any tips or tricks for keeping it flat (both when storing it, and when gluing it).
 
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Daniel Barrett
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What do you use to glue it together? Elmers as suggested, hot glue gun?
 
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Robert Ehlers
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Hot glue works well, but it is easier to make a mess with it. I love it myself, since it hardens in about 30 seconds. Elmer's glue or "Tacky Glue" will also work. The Tacky Glue is basically white glue, but much thicker and dries faster.

You will also want a cutting mat and a metal ruler with cork backing in addition to the sharp knife w/ lots of extra blades to do the cutting.
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Paul Amala
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For glue in projects like this, I like a polyurethane glue - like Gorilla Glue for instance. It fills in gaps, is very strong. But it can leave little bubbles and it swells a bit on curing. So practice with it at first to get the hang of it and you will end up with results you like.
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Greg r
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RangerRob wrote:
a metal ruler with cork backing .


oh wow Thanks RangerRob

I never thought of that, I have a metal ruler but no cork backing, that would make a big difference
 
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Robert Ehlers
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Ya, I used the metal ruler with no cork for awhile and it was always sliding around. I'm much happier with cutting now with the new ruler.
 
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Donald Cleary
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paulamala wrote:
For glue in projects like this, I like a polyurethane glue - like Gorilla Glue for instance. It fills in gaps, is very strong. But it can leave little bubbles and it swells a bit on curing. So practice with it at first to get the hang of it and you will end up with results you like.


I wouldn't use Gorilla simply because it does foam up. You really don't need a glue quite that strong. A thin layer of Modge Podge or Elmer's applied with a foam brush should work well.
 
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Robert Ehlers
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My first time using foam core was to make a dice tower. I was pretty clueless about it back then and made a complete mess of the cuts. The only glue I had available at the house when I decided to start was epoxy. That was a huge mess and hard to work with, but my joints ended up being stronger than the foam core itself.
 
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James Casey
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pepperhead wrote:
RangerRob wrote:
a metal ruler with cork backing .


oh wow Thanks RangerRob

I never thought of that, I have a metal ruler but no cork backing, that would make a big difference


I actually use mine with the cork side up! Otherwise there is a gap between the ruler and the surface and its harder to keep the knife flush with the edge.
 
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jeff
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I like to use any white "Elmers" type. Something I havn't seen anyone post I'll add in is... Try using round style toothpicks at the joints it helps hold the assembly together while it glues. If I have a "T" syle joint I push the toothpick through where the top of the "T" is and down inside the foam of the verticle part, (if that made any sence) and then you can paint over the "stud" later

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AvidHunter wrote:
I like to use any white "Elmers" type. Something I havn't seen anyone post I'll add in is... Try using round style toothpicks at the joints it helps hold the assembly together while it glues. If I have a "T" syle joint I push the toothpick through where the top of the "T" is and down inside the foam of the verticle part, (if that made any sence) and then you can paint over the "stud" later



I've done the same using straight pins.
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jeff
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kjamma4 wrote:
AvidHunter wrote:
I like to use any white "Elmers" type. Something I havn't seen anyone post I'll add in is... Try using round style toothpicks at the joints it helps hold the assembly together while it glues. If I have a "T" syle joint I push the toothpick through where the top of the "T" is and down inside the foam of the verticle part, (if that made any sence) and then you can paint over the "stud" later



I've done the same using straight pins.


That's a good Idea (the pins) which can cause less surface damage.

I usually leave the Toothpicks in and cut them off so in the long run they add more support. Do you just pull the pins out after the glue dries? Is it a strong joint?
 
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AvidHunter wrote:
kjamma4 wrote:
AvidHunter wrote:
I like to use any white "Elmers" type. Something I havn't seen anyone post I'll add in is... Try using round style toothpicks at the joints it helps hold the assembly together while it glues. If I have a "T" syle joint I push the toothpick through where the top of the "T" is and down inside the foam of the verticle part, (if that made any sence) and then you can paint over the "stud" later



I've done the same using straight pins.


That's a good Idea (the pins) which can cause less surface damage.

I usually leave the Toothpicks in and cut them off so in the long run they add more support. Do you just pull the pins out after the glue dries? Is it a strong joint?


I was making a 3D structure for Car Wars so I left the pins in as they did not visibly mar what I was building. The joint was extremely strong - I had the piece for about 15 years and never had any problem.
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