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Machining polyethylene foam?

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Machining polyethylene foam?

Unread postAuthor: jor2daje » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:40 pm

Hey guys, the lab Im working for this summer wants to make special foam inserts for their specialty tool boxes, so Ive been CADing up some inserts, at first I was just going to cut them out by hand but luckily the professor in charge is in favor of getting them cnc machined. However I have no idea what type of machining could be used on this fairly low density foam.
So if you guys know of a company that could do this or a more suitable material to use for inserts that could be machined (preferably available from McMaster) thatd be great.



heres the McMaster material Im thinking of using, its tear resistant and chemical resistant which would be good for the tools, however Im not sure if its too soft.

Thanks again guys
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Unread postAuthor: Technician1002 » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:55 pm

Since it can be cut with a saw, a high speed router bit may work on the stuff. Use slow cutting advance speeds to keep heat down.

Try with a small sample. From the density, I presume this is similar to a swimming noodle. Pick one of them up to see if you can machine a swimming noodle. Make sure your tools are sharp to prevent distorting the material.
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Unread postAuthor: jor2daje » Thu Jun 10, 2010 3:54 pm

Ok thanks, Ill see if I can try that with our cnc here, but I think we may have to outsource, do you happen to know a good company to do the machining for us? For convenience sake probably located in california?
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Unread postAuthor: Gippeto » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:32 pm

There are two good ways to cut foam. :)

CNC hotwire;

http://www.foamlinx.com/

Or try a water jet;

http://www.foamandfoam.com/custom_foam_cutting.htm
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Unread postAuthor: deathbyDWV » Thu Jun 10, 2010 4:46 pm

I saw a how it's made on this exact thing... They used a giant hydrolic press with a big die on the end... Since in guessing you don't have one of those :roll: If you have to cut them by hand, maybe a hot knife would work well. They have bits for soldering guns that are blades. One of those might work but could easily be too hot...
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Unread postAuthor: jor2daje » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:46 pm

Thanks Gippeto, great links, I think we're going with the waterjet guys. This is why I love spudfiles.
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