Working with pink foam


Ok, so I am finally getting around to making scenery for my layout and
have decided to use 2" pink foam. I am modeling HO and want to make a
small "mountain range" (more like hills but hey, this is modeling).
Anyway, I plan to stack 5-6 pieces of 2" foam together to make the range
(10-12" total height). My question is what have folks found as the best
method to shape the top and sides of the mountains. I am looking for
rounded tops and gently sloping sides. I've played around so far with
utility knives and serrated knives but so far they tend to leave more
jagged facings, similar to rock facings and not gently sloping tops. I
am looking at the hot wire tools but not sure they can be used to make
rounded shapes and such. Also I see where Wooland Scenics and others
have molds that can be used. I have a couple of scenery books and have
a couple of more on order but none of them talk much about the tops of
hills and sloping sides when using foam. I see more of that with
plaster and the like. Any suggestions folks have or layout pictures of
what I am referring to would be appreciated. I'll try and finish my
website soon so folks can see my layout.
Jeff
Reply to
Jeff Binkley
Loading thread data ...
Jeff,
I too use the pink foam. I have used the Woodland Scenics Hot Wire tool as well as the Woodland Scenics foam knife to shape the foam. One warning, the hot wire tool, when used on the pink foam leaves an obvious odor not present when using the foam that WS offers. One thing to do, is practice on a scrap piece of wood or cardboard to try a simulation of what you are trying to accomplish on your railroad. Never experiment on your railroad. I have also used the WS casting molds to make rock formations. Once these are cast, they can be inserted into the foam by simply carving a space for them in the foam.
Bob
Reply to
EBTBOB
Jeff,
For final shaping and smoothing of the cuts made by either a serrated knife or a hot wire cutter, go to the local Lowes or Home Depo and find the metal scraper or sander (wish I could remember the proper term). These are about 1 1/2" wide and 3 or 4 long with a handle the bottom looks like it is all small holes but the back side of each is extended just a little to make a cutting edge. Use it like a wood plane and it work great. It will make allot of fine foam dust so keep the shop vac close by.
Ron Gardner
Jeff B> Ok, so I am finally getting around to making scenery for my layout and
Reply to
Ronald Gardner
Look at this site:
formatting link
Joel Bragdon demonstrates lightweight scenery techniques at various major train show. Even though he's based on the West Coast he was at Springfield MA (the Amherst show) early this year.
He holds clinics on lightweight baseboards, lightweight scenery and resin casting.
He mixes polyurethane foam by pouring two liquids together, and part of his demonstration is to mould these in rock moulds. It's not quite as simple as it sounds but it not much more difficult. You need a release agent (Vaseline?) then line the mould with a "fine" foam followed by the "coarse" foam.
He also demonstrates lightweight scenery using two layers of nylon mesh stuck and non-foaming polyurethane resin. It produces very thin, lightweight and rigid hills.
I believe he also does a video showing his techniques.
Good luck....Chris
Reply to
Christopher A. Lee
It sounds like a variety of a rasp, if we are talking about the same item, usually marketed as a "Shurform" tool. There are several different shapes and sizes IIRC.
-- Jim McLaughlin
Please don't just hit the reply key. Remove the obvious from the address to reply.
***************************************************************************
Reply to
Jim McLaughlin
JB> Ok, so I am finally getting around to making scenery for my layout and JB> have decided to use 2" pink foam. I am modeling HO and want to make a JB> small "mountain range" (more like hills but hey, this is modeling). JB> Anyway, I plan to stack 5-6 pieces of 2" foam together to make the range JB> (10-12" total height). My question is what have folks found as the best JB> method to shape the top and sides of the mountains. I am looking for JB> rounded tops and gently sloping sides. I've played around so far with JB> utility knives and serrated knives but so far they tend to leave more JB> jagged facings, similar to rock facings and not gently sloping tops. I JB> am looking at the hot wire tools but not sure they can be used to make JB> rounded shapes and such. Also I see where Wooland Scenics and others JB> have molds that can be used. I have a couple of scenery books and have JB> a couple of more on order but none of them talk much about the tops of JB> hills and sloping sides when using foam. I see more of that with JB> plaster and the like. Any suggestions folks have or layout pictures of JB> what I am referring to would be appreciated. I'll try and finish my JB> website soon so folks can see my layout.
Get a 'SurForm' tool. Come in various types, the most common is like a small block plane. A SurForm has a 'blade' that looks like a chesse grater. You should be able to find them at your local hardware store.
On a small warning: this tool makes a pile a coarse filings, much like sawdust, but pink (with a LOT of static 'stickiness'). You'll want to do your 'carving' someplace that you can vacuum and/or sweep up. You might also want to wear a mask as well.
JB> JB> JB> Jeff JB> JB>
\/ Robert Heller ||InterNet: snipped-for-privacy@cs.umass.edu
formatting link
|| snipped-for-privacy@deepsoft.com
formatting link
/\FidoNet: 1:321/153
Reply to
Robert Heller
A good old-fashioned rasp works well for outside curves also.
Yes, the foam can be a pain, but not as bad as beadboard. Now _that's_ got static cling!
Jay CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
Reply to
JCunington
On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 01:08:11 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@thebinks.com (Jeff Binkley) shared this with the world:
I start with knives (like you have), then use a Stanley Surform tool (like others have mentioned) , and finally use an old wire brush (old because the bristles are bent and flared, not standing in nice straight rows) to fine tune the soft edges. It can also make a nice smooth (but not perfect - just like the real world) ditch or gully with a couple of quick passes.
I have also messed with hot wire, but found it created "too consistent" surfaces.
Kent
Reply to
Kent Ashton
I've posted a small "How To" that you might find useful at:
formatting link

Mike Tennent "IronPenguin" Operating Traffic Lights Crossbucks Special Effects Lighting
formatting link
Reply to
Mike Tennent
Still use hot wire but instead of using one strand or a single core, take a couple of strands and twist together. This will make it more rigid when cutting and the wire can be sulptured into curves etc. Mare sure the hot wire cools down before reshaping it!!!
Reply to
David Earl
I'm surprised no one has mentioned this method. I have worked with the rigid foam extensively and have found that an electric carving knife works great. Very smooth , controlled cuts and best of all , no dust or debris. In some areas I use sandpaper to smooth any ridges that may be left and apply ground cover directly onto the foam. Trees are so easy to 'plant' in the foam and it's rigid enough to hold them good. I carve rocks into the foam in some areas and color with acrylics. Rocks molded from plaster adhere very well if you rough up the foam with sandpaper. I also use toothpicks stuck into the foam to support larger castings.
Hope this helps
Ken
Reply to
Ken Day
I've posted a small "How To" that you might find useful at:
formatting link
Mike! Thanks for sharing.
Bill Bill's Railroad Empire N Scale Model Railroad:
formatting link
History of N Scale:
formatting link
Links to over 700 helpful sites:
formatting link
formatting link
Reply to
Bill

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.