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 Post subject: Questions on types of foam
PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2012 11:00 pm 
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Hello everyone,

I've recently decided to try building swords out of more than just walmart and pvc, and realized I really don't know anything about any other foams. Would someone mind explaining what Cross Linked Polyethylene, EVA, or Open cell foam is, their ups and downs, and what's a reliable supplier for any/all of them? Feel free to include any other usable foams I haven't included in this list.


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 Post subject: Re: Questions on types of foam
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:03 am 
The Nightbringer
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please read the foam smithing resources. i think you will find it useful.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions on types of foam
PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:10 am 
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Thats a pretty big question and depending how detailed you want to get I imagine a full answer would be pages and pages. First off, open cell is way different than the other two foams you mentioned, which are closed cell foams. Think Poof football, charcoal packing foam, etc. It is really squishy and used for stuff like javelin and arrowheads, and some stabby tips(but now yoga mat is far more prevalent). Cross linked polyethelene foam comes in a couple varieties, volara being one of them; its pretty good stuff. Its relatively cheap if you get it in bulk, pretty tear resistant, and it lasts a while. Its what I use for my weapons. Another nice thing is that you can get it in 4lb and 2lb densities for progressive builds. One downside(for some applications) is that the thickest you can get it is 1/2" thick so for flatblades you have to layer it(1/4" is SWEET for omnis though) I remember reading once that volara is what edhellen uses, but that might not be true.
I got mine from here" http://www.foambymail.com/VA.html
EVA foam(not sure what it is but I think EVA refers to the process of how its made) is a popular choice for things like 4lb boxes. I think some people also use EVAlite as the last blade layer, but that is pretty expensive and I think the other, cheaper options are just as good. You can get pre-routed boxes from some people online(Barley) or you can get 4lb EVA puzzle mats at K-mart, Home Depot, etc.
http://www.kmart.com/best-step-primary- ... ockType=G1
The idea behind using these different density foams is that they will make your weapon last longer, be safer, and hit nicer. It allows for less total foam because the higher density foam dissipates the force better, allowing for less of the 2lb density.(very rudimentary explanation, but the best I can do)
Another term you might here is MC foam. Its another popular cross linked closed cell foam. Its two main advantages over volara is that you can get it thicker(2") so you don't need to layer it for your blade and it has very fine cells(mini cell) so plastidip looks really good on it. I don't know if it is as tear resistant as volara though. I got this stuff from the same place as the volara:
http://www.foambymail.com/MC2-/cross-li ... m-2lb.html
If you buy over $75.00 worth(and thats a lot of foam) you get free shipping so I think its a pretty good deal. Good luck with your future projects!


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 Post subject: Re: Questions on types of foam
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:42 am 
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Triton wrote:
I got mine from here" http://www.foambymail.com/VA.html

This stuff is ****, I bought it. It's closer to plank foam you would use for a shield... but at 1/2" it's useless. Scratchy, huge air bubbles junk.

Triton wrote:
http://www.foambymail.com/MC2-/cross-linked-polyethylene-foam-2lb.html
If you buy over $75.00 worth(and thats a lot of foam) you get free shipping so I think its a pretty good deal. Good luck with your future projects!

NO! Again, I bought this and at 1/4" I thought it would be good for making some bats. NOPE, might be a good base layer, durable but not really practical. I have not used either of these foams in construction as I felt they were junk and just returned them.
They hold nothing in common to Forged Foam or even Walmart Blue.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions on types of foam
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:13 am 
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Are you sure you aren't thinking of this:
http://www.foambymail.com/PE2-_1/polyet ... 2-2lb.html

The Volara is not at all how you described it, it has tiny tiny bubbles and is very smooth, so I'm not sure if your thinking of the same thing. It is way may durable than blue foam.

And what exactly was the problem with the MC, how was it not practical?


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 Post subject: Re: Questions on types of foam
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 6:04 am 
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If you're just getting away from using blue foam and PVC, I would suggest stepping up incrementally. Replacing your PVC with 1/2" Fiberglass would be a good first step. I just posted a link to a by mail supplier of round and square stock fiberglass in the Foamsmithing Resources thread.

If you want a better foam that is probably available to you locally if you look in the right place, I would suggest (as I always do) checking army surplus stores for surplus foam sleeping mats. I've also found it online http://www.outdoorgear.net/foam-sleeping-padmat-wties-military-camping-p-2806.html?gclid=CKCS36CZq7MCFYw-Mgod7EIAkQ. More expensive than blue foam, but lasts so much longer.

If you want to add stabbing tips, the best thing I've found are these EVA stadium cushions. http://www.*.com/product/index.jsp?productId=12453844

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