Advice/tips for newbies working with EVA foam

CharlitoH

New Member
Greetings 405th members!

Im a new member i just finished creating my first Helmet (an ODST one) now i was curious as a new member is there any
advice/tips some of the more advanced creators and Senior members of the community could suggest for us newbies especially with working with EVA foam

Thanks everyone!!
 

Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
Several things that will help turn you into an expert:

1) Study. Read the tutorials, watch videos, find punished props and Evil Ted on YouTube, read through threads, and ask questions.

The 'book- smarts' are important for knowing what to do.

2) Practice. Buy some cheap foam, a razor or box cutter, get a good cutting surface somewhere, and start cutting. Practice straight lines, curved lines, and bevels. Then trace a pattern on your foam with angles and curves and mark a few of those lines as beveled cuts. Then cut that piece out and assess how you're doing. Once you get the hang of the cutting, it isn't hard.

The 'street smarts' are important for knowing How to do it.

3) KEEP YOUR BLADES SUPERWIZARDIMMACULATE SHARP!!!

clean cuts mean clean seams which makes for a clean professional looking build. If you find yourself sawing and
hacking, you're probably due for a sharpening or new blade.

Good luck!
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
I'm no expert, but one thing I've found useful for extending the life of my hot knife is using a box cutter for large straight cuts, and the hotknife for anything else. A box cutter doesn't need to be plugged in, allowing full and free movement on a table or other cutting surface, and the blades seem to last longer from my experience. I'm not certain how expensive a box cutter is, I... borrowed... mine from work a few years back. I don't work there anymore. But I do know hotknife blades can be expensive, a pack of two cost me $5.

Also, don't use too much hot glue.
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Top tips to take you to stardom

The Right Tools for the Job
A steel edged ruler keeps your lines straight and accurate.
A sharpener keeps your blade keen and your seams clean.
#11 blades for small details, believe me.

Top Secret Techniques
Bevels turn flat foam into interesting shapes.
Foam bends and heat forming lets it keep that shape longer.
Valley cuts in the back of the foam let you get sharp angles with no visible seam.
Sanding hides crimes.

The Secret Stuff
Lumin's Workshop or similar Foam Clay lets you gap fill.
Woodland Scenics Foam Putty fills in imperfections.
Rustoleum Leak Seal creates a surface for paint that is still flexible.
 

Fallen

Active Member
  1. Can't say it enough. Keep blades sharp. Get a good blade sharpener such as this one and use it often.
  2. Have a couple types of blades
  3. Contact cement > hot glue.
  4. Kwikseal is a great way to hide seams at a low cost
  5. Practice, practice, practice
  6. Be patient. Rushing leads to sloppiness.
Most importantly, have fun with it. If you're having fun you'll want to keep doing it, and the more you do it the better you'll get.
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
  1. Can't say it enough. Keep blades sharp. Get a good blade sharpener such as this one and use it often.
  2. Have a couple types of blades
  3. Contact cement > hot glue.
  4. Kwikseal is a great way to hide seams at a low cost
  5. Practice, practice, practice
  6. Be patient. Rushing leads to sloppiness.
Most importantly, have fun with it. If you're having fun you'll want to keep doing it, and the more you do it the better you'll get.
+1 to all of this
 

he4thbar

Well-Known Member
Can I extend off of this for anyone else to answer.
I understand the seamless way to get mountain folds from looking at this tutorial (Tutorial 2nd vid) But for when you guys do valley folds do you cut the outside of the foam and just bend there, or is there an easy way to cut the back side of the foam so that there won't be seams on the outside.

I have a guess it's gonna be like doing the mountain fold just on the show side of the armor and fill the seams in later.
I was working on my shoulder armor scoring and cutting last night and was having difficulties conceptualizing it.
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
Can I extend off of this for anyone else to answer.
I understand the seamless way to get mountain folds from looking at this tutorial (Tutorial 2nd vid) But for when you guys do valley folds do you cut the outside of the foam and just bend there, or is there an easy way to cut the back side of the foam so that there won't be seams on the outside.

I have a guess it's gonna be like doing the mountain fold just on the show side of the armor and fill the seams in later.
I was working on my shoulder armor scoring and cutting last night and was having difficulties conceptualizing it.
Here's my interpretation of valley fold:
I mark where I want a corner to be, and then I cut the inside of that corner. The goal is to get the foam to bend in a certain direction, but there is foam on the inside of the corner that's in the way and getting compressed, so I remove that foam. Once the bend is in a position I like, I glue it down from the inside. Does that make sense?
 

he4thbar

Well-Known Member
Here's my interpretation of valley fold:
I mark where I want a corner to be, and then I cut the inside of that corner. The goal is to get the foam to bend in a certain direction, but there is foam on the inside of the corner that's in the way and getting compressed, so I remove that foam. Once the bend is in a position I like, I glue it down from the inside. Does that make sense?
Yes that makes sense, I kind of guessed it was like that (similar to the tutorial) I just wanted to make sure that I would be making those cuts on the outside/showing side of the armor. Thanks for the advice! at least I won't be afraid to cut into the foam now.
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
Yes that makes sense, I kind of guessed it was like that (similar to the tutorial) I just wanted to make sure that I would be making those cuts on the outside/showing side of the armor. Thanks for the advice! at least I won't be afraid to cut into the foam now.
This is something I was doing before I heard about 'valley' cuts. The thing to be careful about is not cutting through the foam, I like to leave like 2-4mm of foam uncut.
If anyone else has other tips feel free to chime in, I never looked at tutorials for this stuff.
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RMO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
Can I extend off of this for anyone else to answer.
I understand the seamless way to get mountain folds from looking at this tutorial (Tutorial 2nd vid) But for when you guys do valley folds do you cut the outside of the foam and just bend there, or is there an easy way to cut the back side of the foam so that there won't be seams on the outside.

I have a guess it's gonna be like doing the mountain fold just on the show side of the armor and fill the seams in later.
I was working on my shoulder armor scoring and cutting last night and was having difficulties conceptualizing it.
From the back of the foam make a cut at 90° to between 50% and 75% of the foam thickness depending on the sharpness of the fold. The deeper your initial cut, the sharper the angle that will be on the "right" facing. Then on either side of that initial cut, slice a wedge out at ~30°-45° depending on how sharp a fold you want, don't worry about cutting too wide of an angle because you can always backfill with hot glue or similar if you cut too much and it'll help maintain shape of your finished part. As always, a stupid sharp knife is needed for clean cuts on an angle.
 

RandomRanger

Armory Assistant
Community Staff
From the back of the foam make a cut at 90° to between 50% and 75% of the foam thickness depending on the sharpness of the fold. The deeper your initial cut, the sharper the angle that will be on the "right" facing. Then on either side of that initial cut, slice a wedge out at ~30°-45° depending on how sharp a fold you want, don't worry about cutting too wide of an angle because you can always backfill with hot glue or similar if you cut too much and it'll help maintain shape of your finished part. As always, a stupid sharp knife is needed for clean cuts on an angle.
Sharp knifes are particularly useful with cuts like this, I also imagine a blade with a curve would be good too.
 

he4thbar

Well-Known Member
From the back of the foam make a cut at 90° to between 50% and 75% of the foam thickness depending on the sharpness of the fold. The deeper your initial cut, the sharper the angle that will be on the "right" facing. Then on either side of that initial cut, slice a wedge out at ~30°-45° depending on how sharp a fold you want, don't worry about cutting too wide of an angle because you can always backfill with hot glue or similar if you cut too much and it'll help maintain shape of your finished part. As always, a stupid sharp knife is needed for clean cuts on an angle.
Thanks this helps a lot! this was more the style I think I was looking for, and yep don't worry got my home depot utility knife for straight through clean cuts & my fiskars hobby knife for those smaller more exact cuts. and of course a blade sharpener I use every to every other cut.
Also the backfill was what I was worried/wondering about so that answers my unasked question.
 
Top