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Tony Galiani

PVC Foamboard

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Tony Galiani

 

In this video, the modeller uses something called PVC Foamboard to make the base of his diorama.  I am not familiar with this and it does not appear to be foamcore board which is relatively easy to find in the US.  Does anyone know what this material is called in the US?  It looks like it might be a lot easier to cut for a small layout base than wood and it appears to be sturdier than typical foamcore board.

Cheers,

Tony Galiani

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cteno4

Toni,

 

pvc foam board is like foam core but it’s pvc foam interior and pvc faces. There are a couple of name brands like  palite and Syntra, and also many generic or company brands. Cheapest way to get it is to look up your local plastics supplier and ask for pvc faced pvc foam board in the thickness you want. Usually sold there in 4’x8’ sheets and much much cheaper than buying in smaller quantities elsewhere. Commercial sign makers also may have some and may sell it to you (last place to look). We have a big plastics supplier about 30 miles away a friend and I use to take trips to once or twice a year and then share cut up sheets of styrene, styrene faced stryene foam board and pvc faced pvc foam board. She recently discovered a plastic shop on the far side of Baltimore 70 miles away that was cheaper and would deliver for free when they were in the area with a truck (once or twice a week), so now it’s super easy! 
 

the pvc foam board is nice stuff and with a little bracing you can get away with more like 3-5mm thickness for smaller modules. It is a little more flexible than the styrene faced styrene core foam board (brand name ultraboard), but you can cut it with a matte knife pretty well, ultraboard really needs to be cut on a table saw or with a circular saw with a plastic blade. Ultra board is the stiffest and strongest if you want to build anything structural. We use in it exhibits for anything that is up high like on a wall or ceiling as it’s so light if it fell it would not hurt anyone, like wood or any other material would. But it’s tougher to work with without a table saw or careful circular saw work.

 

the palite pvc foam board tends to be a little stiffer than the Syntra (which I think is used more to be able to do curved stuff) and kind of cuts like a soft styrene. The 1, 2, and 3mm are Staple material in many different model making worlds. You can also thermoform then with a heat gun or very hot water to bend them around things or get it to conform to an uneven surface.

ive seen palite sold in art and craft places in smaller bits but the prices can be hideous.

 

ive got some of all these materials if you want me to pop a few in the mail for you to look at and test cutting etc. pm me.

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

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Tony Galiani

Thanks for the info - I will send you a pm.

Now that Chihiro Horikowa is basically complete I am looking at ideas for a new layout and a lightweight baseboard appeals to me if I could make a reasonably good one that would hold up.

 

I would also be interested in advice as to how to neatly cut either pvc foamboard or foamcore.  In the video it looks like he is using some sort of powered cutting tool and that may be the way to go.

 

Tony

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cteno4

What he is using is a Dremel circular saw attachment that angles the blade like 20 degrees so the Dremel lets you get about 3/4” cutting depth from a 2” circular saw blade attached. Basically makes a mini circular saw. You can draw cut these freehand like he does with practice. Other option is to clamp a board just off the cut like to draw the saw along to keep it straight on the line. This is done all the time with a standard big hand circular saw to cut up high sheets of plywood.

 

another saw option is to use a powered hand saber/jig saw you can use the same guide board trick with them plus cut curves if needed and you can cut into a corner vertically so you down have those circular saw overcuts in the corners. Use a very fine tooth wider blade for doing straight cuts (harder to curve off straight). Probably a tad safer than the dremel circular saw. The thing i don’t like about circular saw blades like this on a Dremel is they use hard on/off switches usually in an recessed space (so you don’t accidentally turn it off while handling it!) and not a dead mans pressure-only-on switch. If something happens while cutting it can be hard to turn it off. Best is to just drop it (as long as not in your lap!) and jump back and pull the plug but we tend to react differently and try to grab things, reach for the switch, etc which can lead to the blade intersecting with you, even when just flipping it over to turn it off... it’s one thing to have a hard on/off switch on a stationary blade on a bench top machine where the blade stays in one place and it’s another when the blade is whipping around in the spaces your body parts might occupy...

 

jeff

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katoftw

I used a very sharp knife and sanded it back.

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cteno4

Yep the pvc foam board cuts well with a knife. 8-12mm stuff will take several cuts to get thru. The stryene faced foam board you can cut with a knife but it’s really a PITA...

 

jeff

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katoftw

The other option if you dont wanna cut it is to design the layout to match the board sizes.

 

Just make sure at the hardware store all the board you get are the same sizes. L x W x D.

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cteno4

Another simple and light option is just a 1x3 frame and 1” extruded styrene foam sheet embedded in the frame and backed by a few 1x2 cross pieces. These are pretty light and uber sturdy. Our first club layout was a mass of these at 2’x4’ each bolted together to form a huge table. Very cheap and easy to build. Wood can be cut with a hand saw and miter jig easily and foam with a matte knife the first 3/4 of the way and finished with a serrated steak knife. For a few bucks most big box stores or lumber yard would whack the wood and maybe even the foam board on their saws for you to size.
 

Thinking the pvc foam board at like 3/8-1/2” is going to be expensive and only available in 4x8 sheets. The 2mm stuff is like $20 per sheet so I’m guessing the thicker stuff (to be nice and stiff like he used) will be $50-75.

 

jeff

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