CNC Hotwire foamcutting materials
With Foamcube you can process a large variety of foam products ranging from Simple hardware store grade EPS to very dense and sturdy EPP blocks. Below are some of the materials you can work with. Any material that melts in a temperature range of 50 to 300 Celsius can technically be cut with Foamcube. By adjusting speed or wire temperature* you can tune in to a perfect cut with a narrow kerf and a smooth surface.
EPS 60 | EPP 50 | XPS
EPS – expanded polystyrene
EPS foam typically ranges from EPS 60 to ESP 500. EPS 60 is the stuff you buy at the hardware store, it is very cheap and often used for insulation. When EPS-60 is cut it is smooth but still shows some of the open structure. The higher the EPS number, the more condensed and heavy the foam will be. EPS 300 and up are very dense and can be sanded and have some structural abilities. (furniture, floating things, stage props etc.)
EPS-60 typically cuts fast and needs relatively low temperatures to cut (approx. 25 mm/sec @ 220-240 Celsius). Higher numbers mean lower speeds or require higher wire temperatures.
Low grade EPS 60
XPS – extruded polystyrene
xps a.k.a. styrofoam a.k.a. styrodur a.k.a. styrisol is much denser than EPS and has better insulating properties. It can be purchased at local hardware stores and typically has a yellow or blue color. XPS sheets often act as a composite material because the top and bottom of the sheet are more dense than the middle part. Because of this reason it requires a different setting on your Foamcube and it also matters if you cut sheets perpendicular or parallel. XPS cuts a bit slower than EPS and prefers higher temperatures but has a very smooth finish. (approx. 12 mm/sec @ 250-270 Celsius).
styrisol sheets (XPS) give smooth finishes but cut slower
EPP – Expanded polypropylene
Epp is an eco friendly foam that is typically very dense and has high structural integrity. When cut it makes tough parts that can handle a beating. E.p.p. is a bit harder to come by, but you should be able to find a few suppliers on the internet that are willing to cater. Due to it’s dense and rugged nature EPP cuts slow but it’s well worth the extra time. EPP wants a hot wire so be prepared for a beefy power supply or a short hotwire. (approx. 10 mm/sec @ 270-280 Celsius).
Rugged and dense EPP foam
Foamcube uses a 0.22 mm. hotwire and has a very narrow kerf width.
PE – Poly Ethylene Foam
PE Foam is very easy to cut and is ideally suited for inlays, protective casings, molds, furniture, or to build large very lightweight decor pieces in very little time. Polyethylene foam edges are very clean when cut with a foamcutter / hotwire and the material is fairly cheap, comes in dozens of colors and all kinds of sizes.
Dozens more ….
While the materials above are most often used in our lab, there are naturally dozens of other materials you can cut and style with our CNC Foam cutter. Feel free to experiment and play. Foamcube can handle some abuse and loves new stuff to chew on ! Found a new material to play with ? Please let us know …..