When you think “Foam” think of “Props” – Foam can be used to create any size and shape of props. You can make anything from foam décor prop, a prop for an event, a wedding prop or even a movie set prop. You can make foam props into anything you can imagine. |
Props are used by endless number of industries for endless number of uses, including films and movie sets, theaters, monuments, signs, architecture, art, museums, trade shows, displays, booths, amusement parks, decorations and events, aerospace, aeronautics and many more.
But how exactly are these props made, and can you make them yourself using simple hardware store tools at home?
Smaller props used for decoration, signs and any other type of props that do not require detailing can definitely be created with hand tools by using carving and sculpting tools and hand-held cutters. The props can then be brushed with any type of coating and then painted. However, larger and more complex props such as museum displays, theatrical props and foam sculptures may require the use of a CNC hot wire foam cutter, a CNC router, or a combination of both.
First, a CAD file (drawing file) need to be created, so that the foam cutter will be synchronized with the computer to produce the desired cut. If the prop is a two dimensional one, a PDF or DXF file is mostly sufficient. For a three dimensional prop an STL file is probably the best choice, although other software such as Solidworks and Vectorworks will work as well.
If a CAD file is not supplied to the foam cutting services company, it can be achieved by scanning the item, using a 3D laser scanner. The scanner can increase the size of the item up to x20 times larger than the original.
The CAD file created is placed in the computer that is connected to the hot wire cutter or the router will create the coordinates for the cuts. The CNC hot wire foam cutter will then cut the 2D shape using X, Y and Z motions (horizontally, vertically, up-and-down) by melting the foam. The CNC router will machine the foam in drilling-like motions to create the 3D foam prop. Any 3, 4 or even 5 axis machine is suitable.
After the foam prop is cut, sanding it is usually required to give it a smooth surface look. If the foam prop required is a large scale one, such as a museum displays or a theatrical prop, it can be cut in sections, then glued together and sanded to erase any lines created by the gluing. If you need to give it a more natural look you can then use a hand chisel or a knife. For example, you can carve bricks into a foam wall, carve letters into a tombstone.
The next stage would be the coating. To make the foam prop stronger and durable you need to coat it. If you need a hard shell coating you can use polyurea. You can also coat it with polyurethane or epoxy, but it will not be as strong. The last stage is the painting and at this stage, the artistic abilities are often required.
Definitely, creating foam prop project can be an interesting and enjoyable experience.
Related Articles -
Props, props for events, props for weddings, museum displays, foam sculptures, movie sets, movie set props, theatrical props, foam decor, trade shows,