Shaped cutting foam plastic at home
How to cut the extruded polystyrene foam. What to cut the foam in the home conditions. Effective cutting foam with a string at home
Styrofoam is quite a popular building material. It is used for thermal and sound insulation of rooms. In the process of construction work this material requires processing, in particular cutting to the required parameters. For cutting foam plastic, there are many options that are applicable in the home.
The procedure for cutting foam requires compliance with certain rules, as the material can break, crumble if handled improperly. To perform the cutting of Styrofoam use a variety of tools, for example, a good knife, soldering iron, saw with fine teeth for wood, metal, nichrome wire, angle grinder (only for thin Styrofoam).
Let’s consider several ways to cut polystyrene foam materials.
Cutting with a string
You can make at home with your own hands a special device for processing (cutting) foam. To do this, you need to buy a step-down transformer, string, springs, with which the string will be stretched, the tube with a thickness of 2 cm for the lining. The thickness of the most polystyrene board, which will be cut should not be less than 2 cm.
For the arrangement of the tabletop for this equipment will need a table, a profiled sheet, a board. To make such a device for cutting polystyrene foam at home is not difficult.
Small foam granules of foam plastic are 98% air. This explains the lightness of the material. The popularity of polystyrene foam is due to its many positive properties:
- has a low thermal conductivity;
- a good sound insulator;
- Resistant to the formation of mold, mildew;
- does not ignite;
Preparation of materials and tools
When preparing a tool for cutting foam sheets, it is necessary to take into account their thickness and density. The result of the work depends on it. It is important that the length of the cutting blade should be longer than the thickness of the insulator. Accordingly, for thin sheets you can take a sharp knife, but for thick sheets you will need a heavier tool.
The cutter is quickly blunted by the foam plastic. Therefore, in the course of work you need to check its sharpness and sharpen it in time.
You should pay attention not only to the quality of the knife, but also to the material itself. When buying foam, it is important to choose reliable sellers. Look at the appearance of the insulation. For example, a sheet that has been burnt out in the sun is quickly destroyed. When you cut it, it will crumble with terrible force and be of no use. To avoid this and other such surprises, it is better to buy foam plastic from manufacturers. Production volumes are demand-oriented, so the material does not lie idle for years in storage, under the open sun. Yes, and the correct ways to store thermal insulator manufacturer is known precisely.
Applications. where foam plastic is used
Conventional or extruded polystyrene foam is used in the following areas:
- insulation of the floor, walls, ceiling, roof, which prevents the escape of heat and the passage of the cold;
- insulation of the foundation;
- erection of permanent formwork;
- pipe insulation.
Often used in other applications. For example, making furniture, shipbuilding, or making handicrafts for the garden or school.
Why is it difficult to cut foam
The product is porous, filled with a large volume of oxygen inside. This is the main reason why it is difficult to cut EPS. If it contains thick layers, the procedure is even more difficult.
Peculiarities of cutting foam plastic
If you start sawing the product, you will notice the following features:
- The difficulty in cutting is more difficult if the thickness and density increase;
- light products are subjected to processing with electric tools operating at high speed
- If you want to cut the product with a minimum amount of waste, we recommend processing with a water jet (usually carried out at industrial plants);
- it is not recommended to cut the bases with a sharp blade, as the number of fallen off cells increases.
If there are no other tools at hand, it is recommended to take a knife with a sharp, wide blade. Carry out surface movements on themselves without changing the angle.
Professional device for cutting foam by yourself
If the amount of work is larger, and at the same time requires shaped processing, then you should pay attention to professional equipment. Specialists use a soldering iron with a knife nozzle. the heated blade helps create any cut.
During the work, safety precautions should be taken so that the red-hot oil does not get on your body or clothes.
At home you can use homemade equipment with nichrome thread.
The method has already shown its effectiveness and convenience. It is not much of a waste. The edges are sealed and the material does not lose its properties.
The necessary materials for creating a homemade tool:
The needle is fixed on the table and the thread is stretched between its ends.
Then connect the serial scheme of connecting the elements. The filament should only turn slightly red when current is applied. If the thread is too hot, it makes the cut uneven and too wide.
If a large amount of work is planned, it is better to buy a special tool in the store. It heats up quickly and guarantees the quality of the work. But it has a high cost.
If you are going to rarely cut foam, then buy a professional tool for its cutting is not worth it
Cutting foam has some features at home. So the preparation is required to make an accurate marking with a sharp pencil.
When doing the job, cut the material away from yourself to the side. Cutting should be done in a well ventilated room or outdoors. Styrofoam begins releasing toxic substances when heated.
Efficient cutting of Styrofoam with a string at home
There are many ways to cut foam plastic.
But it is important not only to do the work, but also to make an even smooth edge, so that the material does not crumble. The best device is a string cutter. You can make such a device with your own hands at home.
The manufacturing process requires attentiveness, special skills are not needed.
Figure cutting is popular, so the work requires a thermal cutter. The cutting tool is a nichrome thread attached to a handle. But some cases do not require a special device for cutting.
To begin with, using a pencil, a marking of the future cut is made. Then you need to attach a ruler to the line and use a box cutter.
It is not necessary to try to cut the blade completely off the plate. Then turn the board over and complete the cut. Then you should finish the cut manually.
Cutting foam plastic with a knife
For sawing the sheets up to 5 cm thickness it is optimal to use building knife or a stationary knife with the length of the blade allowing to cut through the insulation material from one penetration. Using a tool with a retractable cutting element is appropriate. The cutting process itself should be performed with the sheet laid on the edge of a table or similar work surface. When working, the cutting edge of the tool should be as close as possible to the reference plane. Before the cut the blade should be sharpened with a polishing wheel or if possible replaced with a new one, if necessary.
The cut off part of the foam board must be necessarily held to prevent damage to the insulation under load. To get a perfect quality cut during the work, the tool needs to move with the application of a slight force in the direction away from yourself, and in the reverse movement of the cutting element should be made “idle”. If you are sawing a board on a work table with a shoemaker blade, it must move in the opposite direction, so that it moves from the farthest edge of the board toward you.
Please note! Cutting thin foam board by weight and in a vertical position should be avoided, as this greatly increases the likelihood that it will break and the cut will be uneven.
Cutting foam with a hacksaw and angle grinder
With the first tool to make a cut insulation is much easier, although the principle of the work is no different from that of the knife. It is often preferred when there is a need to cut slabs up to 8-10 cm. To cut sheets of foam plastic you can use a metal or wood hacksaw, but in any case it is imperative that the blade has the optimum length and fine teeth. With these cutting elements you get a considerably smoother cut and a much smaller amount of debris. Working with this tool can be done in almost any position that is comfortable for you. When sawing it is important to make only a smooth movement of the hacksaw and not a jerk movement.
Cutting foam sheets can also be performed with an angle grinder and an electric jigsaw, but in this case it is necessary to take into account that in the course of the work there is a significant amount of debris. This is due to the fact that in the first situation, the tool circle rotates at high speed, and if the disk also has large teeth, then in the process of cutting there will be a significant destruction of the structure of the insulation in the place of cutting. If you reduce the speed to minimum, the foam starts to burn and melt, which must be avoided to avoid damaging it.
In general, the angle grinder is excellent for cutting boards up to 50 mm thick, but the quality of the cut will be much better than when using a knife, hacksaw and other power tools. For optimal results, it is necessary to use a thin diamond wheel, which creates a better cut than a metal disk, after passing through.
During the works, you can also use a jigsaw, but it is not possible to achieve perfect evenness in the cut due to the vibration of the saw, and in the process of cutting there is a lot of small debris. The significant advantage of its use lies in the possibility to make shaped cuts, which are much more difficult to implement through the other tools listed above.
Tools for cutting
Styrofoam boards have impressive dimensions. Since this material is used not only to insulate the walls of the house, but also for packaging during shipping, decoration of small parts, then it often has to cut.
This must be done carefully, because the foam is very fragile and can break in all the wrong places.
To do this, you should choose tools with which the cutting can be done qualitatively:
- If the sheet is no more than 5 millimeters thick, you can use a wallpaper knife or a stationery knife to cut it. This process is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but has a remarkable result. the edges are as smooth and flat as possible.
- To cut the styrofoam you can use a fine-toothed metal hacksaw or an angle grinder with a thin disc. Cutting involves beveled corners and edges, so these tools are used in extreme cases.
- An electric jigsaw is used for foam sheets 10 centimeters thick. But in the process of work, difficulties may arise with the processing of the edges of the sheet of the product.
- A large amount of foam is rational to cut with a red-hot string. Cutting the construction material is carried out quickly and qualitatively.
[advice]Take note: any of the above tools must be sharp, as this can severely deform the edges of the product.[/advice]
What are the best tools
Of all the cutting tools listed above, there are only a few that are suitable for high-quality cutting.
All the more so if the cutting is done at home.
Each tool is used in accordance with a specific technology:
- Cut the material qualitatively and evenly is possible with a nichrome wire. To do this, a device is assembled that consists of a string through which an electric current is passed. For electrical current generation uses the most simple transformer. The device can be made portable. For this purpose it is enough to use the charger.
- Shaped cutting is provided by a special machine, which can be purchased in a construction store, or you can make your own hands. Self-made cutter for foam plastic is a device consisting of a table, a metal frame and a blade. The device can be used in manual mode.
[warning]It is worth taking into account: for high-quality cutting foam plastic mainly electric devices are used, so it is important to observe the rules of safety during their use, to monitor the serviceability of the wiring and the integrity of the wires.[/warning]
Machine for cutting foam plastic
Styrofoam is a good insulator, an excellent raw material for a variety of decorative elements, which you can make yourself. For decorative cutting foam plastic need a specialized machine. There are many variants of such equipment, it all depends on the intended design of the product.
The necessary stencil is attached to the board of polystyrene, and with the help of a tungsten thread the object is created. This procedure is not difficult, does not take much time.
Also for equipment you can use a construction blade, a cutter. The device of the machines may differ, but the principle of operation remains the same. the use of tungsten filament, which is connected to the mains. With such a device you can independently make decorative elements of foam plastic of any configuration.
To perform the cutting, it is recommended to buy such a tool:
If you assemble the cutting machine correctly, then there will be no difficulties in the process of work. The main thing is to use quality tools, to show maximum effort and care. And to perform such work to experienced craftsmen will not need to turn to.
The choice of paint
When working with foam plastic it is worth remembering that the material is afraid of organic solvents. When exposed to them, its physical properties deteriorate. They are included in most paints and coatings. Therefore, when choosing a paint you should pay special attention to its composition.
The paint must not contain substances that were mentioned earlier in the description of the adhesive for working with foam boards. In addition, the composition must be without:
Do not use oil-based paints for the dyeing of foam plastic panels. It is also worth mentioning substances that are not able to harm the material when interacting with it:
- paraffins as well as oil;
- cement mortars;
- water-based paints;
- any acids;
- alcohol paints.
Paint that is labeled RS is suitable for staining foam plastic.
Cutting foam polystyrene with a soldering iron
Styrofoam boards are perfectly amenable to processing with a soldering iron. This tool gives the opportunity to perform work in the shortest possible time. To perform such work with a soldering iron, its end must be flattened with a hammer. It is necessary to put a specially prepared part on it, which is pre-made of a blade, a cap of a fountain pen, made of steel.
The blade is installed on the end of the soldering iron. After heating the tool, the material can be cut.
Styrofoam is perfectly amenable to coloring, so the decorative elements obtained by cutting can be painted. Each option for cutting foam has its own advantages, but it is recommended to choose the one that is less difficult for you.
There are several types of foam pellets, which are also called balls of polystyrene foam, crushed, secondary, crumb. Crushed foam is a material obtained by crushing. It is made with the use of a roll crusher.
The shredder is designed as a grater that is fitted on a shaft. The movement of the drum on the shaft is carried out by a motor through a reduction gear, which reduces the number of revolutions.
Waste pieces are conveyed to the cutter via a guide tube. The adjusted gap between the cutting elements and the holes of the grinder determines the output material fraction. If such an installation is placed indoors and a dust collector is attached to the motor, there is no need to use a protective cover around the shaft.
The hammer crusher is designed to crush molded foam of dense grades while maintaining the capacity of the mechanism. The mesh installed at the outlet allows to get small particles. The rotor design, equipped with sieves, has a high shredding capacity. Grain size at the outlet controlled by a calibrated grid.
For large quantities of foam crumb production uses industrial equipment. The waste enters the crusher’s body and runs against the two knives installed on the drum and the shaft. Between the cutting edges, the material is shredded and the output is pellets of the desired fraction.
The mesh grinder of expanded polystyrene, whose properties consist in destruction, works on the principle of a grinder machine. Its design consists of:
The foam grinder is driven by a motor from the concrete mixer. Foam waste is fed to the rotating screen. Pellet size is determined by the diameter of the holes.
The feed is manual and requires additional trimming of the material across the width of the disc. The advantage of this type of equipment is its low cost. The disadvantages include the complexity of shredding all pieces and the dustiness.