EVA Foam Vs Alternatives?

SkyBox

New Member
Hey I am new to Costume and Prop making and I am both a Star wars and a Halo Fanboy if you want to call it... And I really want to make costumes for both however I have a bit of a problem, Here using EVA Foam seems to be fine among users and whatnot however over on another Costume Form the MMCC Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club says otherwise... they dont really say what is wrong with it, just that they will not pass it past inspections if I want to be a real member of the community. Here is a Quote from their application
  • EVA foam is not an acceptable armor building material for the MMCC. EVA foam MAY be considered for use on parts such as “soft cods” and “soft” knees. It will be a suitable material to back plating on knees and such for comfort. Any EVA that is visible, ie. soft cods and soft knees, will be HIGHLY scrutinized. It is HIGHLY recommended that if you choose this route, you heavily incorporate the App Team in the WIP and apply any suggestions to increase the probability of acceptance.
Now I want to be able to use other alternatives like fiberglass however I have asthma and being 16 and still living with my parents does not help as they are pretty defensive when it comes to this stuff... If I say something about getting a respirator they say its too expensive... So i go check amazon and find them for 20-30 bucks I tell them and they instantly say and i quote "THOSE ONES ARE CHEAP AND PROBABLY NOT UP TO CODE FOR WORKING WITH FIBERGLASS" Now I just wanna ask you guys

A. What is the problem with Eva Foam i.e will it degrade over time
and
B. will a cheap 20$-30$ respirator be able to protect me from inhaling fiber glass I would like to get word from someone who works with this stuff so I can try to convince my parents (I am 15 btw) and if a 20$-30$ respirator wont work I would like to know so I dont have to constantly keep getting into fights over if i can use it or not.
 

Demogorgon

Well-Known Member
I think the MMCC are just more strict on their guidelines and EVA not being a suitable building material is just a preference in their community. There is absolutely nothing wrong working with EVA foam.

Does foam degrade over time?

Well, kind of. In my experience the seams are going to be your weak points. That's where a majority of the foam malfunctions occur, seams ripping apart. As long as you take your time when you initially build the armor it should last a long while. After 2 years of Halloween parties and Medieval Fairs, my Daedric armor is still intact and holding up great. Foam is not as rugged as fiberglass but I can assure you it's not as frail as you might think.

As for the respirator, I've used the 3M 7500 Series Half Facepiece Respirator with the 3M 60921 P100 Organic Vapor Filter (It has a layer of activated charcoal to absorb the vapors generated and a P100 (HEPA) filter to catch any particles). Perfect for fiberglass work.

Choosing between Fiberglass and Foam builds really comes down to your personal preference. Both have their pros and cons. Fiberglass builds can be weighty, but are strong and durable. They also tend to look and feel more like armor than foam builds, but if you get good enough with foam you can make it look just as good as a fiberglass build. Foam builds are light and comfortable to wear for long periods of time and is a more forgiving medium to work with, however it is less durable and prone to tears (usually at seams).
 
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SkyBox

New Member
I think the MMCC are just more strict on their guidelines and EVA not being a suitable building material is just a preference in their community. There is absolutely nothing wrong working with EVA foam.

Does foam degrade over time?

Well, kind of. In my experience the seams are going to be your weak points. That's where a majority of the foam malfunctions occur, seams ripping apart. As long as you take your time when you initially build the armor it should last a long while. After 2 years of Halloween parties and Medieval Fairs, my Daedric armor is still intact and holding up great. Foam is not as rugged as fiberglass but I can assure you it's not as frail as you might think.

As for the respirator, I've used the 3M 7500 Series Half Facepiece Respirator with the 3M 60921 P100 Organic Vapor Filter (It has a layer of activated charcoal to absorb the vapors generated and a P100 (HEPA) filter to catch any particles). Perfect for fiberglass work.

Choosing between Fiberglass and Foam builds really comes down to your personal preference. Both have their pros and cons. Fiberglass builds can be weighty, but are strong and durable. They also tend to look more like armor than foam builds, but if you get good enough with foam you can make it look just as good as a fiberglass build. Foam builds are light and comfortable to wear for long periods of time and is a more forgiving medium to work with, however it is less durable and prone to tears (usually at seams).
Thank you for your opinion on this man It means alot! I want to use a mix of the two for different things and now I might be able to convince my parents that it is safe to use fiber glass with a cheap respirator
 

mawrTRON

Active Member
For me personally I use both in my builds.
I use foam for the body and fibreglass for the helm.
My reasoning for this is.
A.The body needs to be comfy. Wearing fibreglass gets uncomfortable in 20 mins or less for me, where as I can wear the foam for 8 hours straight
B.The helmet needs to be accurate. This is the main "selling point" of the helmet and foam helms always seem mishapen to me..

Here is a quick pros and cons list.

Fibreglass.
+ very strong
+ takes paint well
- expensive
- toxic and smelly
- messy/sticky
- can be fiddly
- less forgiving
- requires a lot of sanding and body filler
- uncomfortable to wear (cutty AF)
- difficult to repair

EVA foam.
+ cheap
+ light
+ flexible and extra comfy to wear
+ no toxic nastys
+ easy to fix
- sealing can be costly and tricky
- more likely to get wear and tear
- hot glue gun burns

As for looking and feeling like armour I think that EVA foam has more potentual to look like actual armor than fibreglass.
This is because EVA already has a thickness to it, which makes it look heavy. Also adding extra details onto a fibreglass build is a nightmare compared to EVA. And details are cruicial in selling the look of the armor.

Finally heres a pep/glass and a EVA side by side.
IMG_20170520_014423.jpg
 

mblackwell1002

Sr Member
For me personally I use both in my builds.
I use foam for the body and fibreglass for the helm.
My reasoning for this is.
A.The body needs to be comfy. Wearing fibreglass gets uncomfortable in 20 mins or less for me, where as I can wear the foam for 8 hours straight
B.The helmet needs to be accurate. This is the main "selling point" of the helmet and foam helms always seem mishapen to me..

Here is a quick pros and cons list.

Fibreglass.
+ very strong
+ takes paint well
- expensive
- toxic and smelly
- messy/sticky
- can be fiddly
- less forgiving
- requires a lot of sanding and body filler
- uncomfortable to wear (cutty AF)
- difficult to repair

EVA foam.
+ cheap
+ light
+ flexible and extra comfy to wear
+ no toxic nastys
+ easy to fix
- sealing can be costly and tricky
- more likely to get wear and tear
- hot glue gun burns

As for looking and feeling like armor I think that EVA foam has more potential to look like actual armor than fibreglass.
This is because EVA already has a thickness to it, which makes it look heavy. Also adding extra details onto a fibreglass build is a nightmare compared to EVA. And details are crucial in selling the look of the armor.

Finally here's a pep/glass and a EVA side by side.
View attachment 243410
(the one on the left is foam, the right is fiberglass)

mawrTRON, though I share your opinions on foam VS fiberglass, you're saying things that are flat-out false. For instance "-can be fiddly" and "+Extra comfy to wear" are not facts...they're your personal opinions which are exaggerated to influence a person's decision. "Fiddly" is an extremely vague reference which holds no true value to a reader; it's a negative word which makes the entire passage have a more negative tone. You can't do extremely opinionated things like that, man. You want to give a person hard facts to let them find the method that works best for them. using a blurry picture isn't helping either...it kinda sheds (yet another) negative light on your Pepakura opinions. Plus, that was your first suit, so of course your 3rd suit will be better than your first suit. Your Fred suit is beautiful, but please stick to facts.

Both Pepakura and foam are effective ways of making a costume; each have their advantages and disadvantages. SkyBox, use the method that works best for you. You could even merge the 2 methods, it just depends on your needs.
 

Voren Marr

Jr Member
I have two MMCC Approved kits and as said above Foamex / Sinatra / metal are the materials of choice set out in the costume requirements.

I'd say for my halo costume if I made it from the same material as my mandalorian it would weigh too much to be work comfortably at a convention. :)

Eva for me has been a blast.
 

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CommanderPalmer

Well-Known Member
Both MMCC and 501st don't approve any EVA foam costumes.

There are good EVA costumes and there are good fiberglass costumes. EVA foam often has this characteristic structure that you can spot. Also, seams - bigger or smaller but they are VERY hard to hide (you can always be able to hide with additional battle damage, but you will still be able to spot it), especially when foam was cut to be rounded or to change its shape. And often the thickness of the foam immediately gives it away as well.

Personally I prefer fiberglass costumes (looking at or making), where I also disagree with mawrTRON, thickness has *nothing* to do with it. There is no problem to add thickness to fiberglass.
I agree with mblackwell1002, some of the vs points are good, but most are MawrTRON's personal opinions.
Totally agree with mblackwell1002 here, again.

Fiddly and complicated applies to both EVA and fiberglass. It just depends on the costume.

As for EVA foam not being toxic? Not quite true. When you heat the foam with heat gun it always gives that fume which is quite toxic, not much, but it is.

-

I personally prefer using fiberglass and I can't imagine doing armor with EVA foam (initially I started with EVA foam and later with fiberglass), BUT I would like to say that you can make great costumes using both ways.
Both have pros and cons, but I have seen many beautiful fiberglass costumes and foam costumes.

I would recommend you trying out both methods and see which one you like more.

Oh, another good point of fiberglass? Because of the weight it makes you walk and move like in actual armor.

Also, recently I started improving my fiberglass costume and I've started adding some raised details with 2mm foam. It's quite nice to work with, it's much faster than if I were to add those details with bondo anyway.
But when painting it, after sealing and more than few layers of paint I can immediately feel the difference in material when I'm painting it with brush...
For such details? Foam is nice - saves you time - you'd always have to block the desired area and then fill it with bondo, sand, etc. And with foam - it's faster.
I've seen many people making raised 3d details with foam on fiberglass base too.


-

I have full armor made with fiberglass and bondo. I've been wearing it for full days and never had really any problems.
Also, I've been said by multiple people and cosplayers my armor looks very real because it's not foam but hard material.

Also, here is are photos of my fiberglass costume and also I'm repainting it so if you want for comparison with different paintjobs (plus added few more details with 2mm craft foam).

sfgs.JPG
palmerfoto6.JPG
 

Xs SHAD0W sX

New Member
Any "group" that dictates what is and isn't an acceptable medium has some fundamental problems. I have seen people that can do more with cardboard than others can with high quality foam.

Also foam's biggest perk is rapid assembly and Pep and bondo's biggest perk is detail.
I don't care what you build with. If it's good.... it's good
 
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Cadet

Executive Officer & RCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Opinions on what material to use are fine, opinions on other costuming groups or organizations are something that should be kept to yourself. Neither I nor Angela, FANGS , will tolerate any bad mouthing, insulting or dismissive behavior of other organizations.

Our membership is better than that.
 

CommanderPalmer

Well-Known Member
Opinions on what material to use are fine, opinions on other costuming groups or organizations are something that should be kept to yourself. Neither I nor Angela, FANGS , will tolerate any bad mouthing, insulting or dismissive behavior of other organizations.

Our membership is better than that.
Very well said and totally agree.
 

FANGS

Commanding Officer
Community Staff
Division Staff
Hey guys!

It's totally true! The Star Wars groups have very different requirements. Some of that is due to the relationship those groups have with LFL/Disney. But mostly it's due to the type of armor. Star Wars armor tends to be much more close fitting and sleek whereas Halo armor is larger and bulkier. I believe that Eva and pep just suit Halo much better than it does Star Wars.

Whatever method you decide to go with, enjoy the process! Clean EVA cuts require lots of practice. Fiberglass is a whole art form of it's own. Trimming, finishing and fitting a vac formed kit takes skill and practice to get right. They are all great on their own or in combination. And now with the edition of 3D printing of detail pieces or resin casts there really is so much you can do!

Everyone is going to have a different experience with different mediums. Some will have a natural skill for one but struggle with another. Some will lean more towards vac forming and the skill required to get one of those kits to fit you properly. Some will find fiberglass is too heavy to wear or foam is too easy to damage. Others will have a completely different experience and swear by one of those mediums. Certainly getting advice from those who have already done sets is a great way to get started, but keep an open mind. Your experience with making and wearing are going to be uniquely your own!

As for safety....that's something we all need to be very mindful of. I'd rather see you wait and get a good respirator rather than do any sort of health damage. CommanderPalmer is correct. You need to wear a good respirator with foam as well.
 
I personally love working and making fiberglass armor instead of using foam.
I just love the overall sharp look and durability fiberglass can give. Although any look you want can be
obtained with any material as long as you have the skill. I also use a suit and respirator to protect myself
from fibers.

And to begin with, you already noted some limitations, so foam may just be the way
to go for you since fiberglass doesn't seem to be the best choice. And btw, the thicker armor look is
due to the design, not because of the material!! hahaha. But then again work what's best for you and always stay safe!
19075111_10208554259727833_965169050_n - Copy (2).jpg
19549579_10208554261327873_1678774838_o.jpg
19621725_10208554260127843_1133800687_n.jpg
 

Dirtdives

Division Scheduler and Keeper of Con Lists
Division Staff
Community Staff
MasterChief7117 looks great dude......just 2 points though....the boots look way to big and the shins way too small. Or is it just the angle we're looking at?
 
MasterChief7117 looks great dude......just 2 points though....the boots look way to big and the shins way too small. Or is it just the angle we're looking at?
The boots are big, the shins are actually bigger than what they should be. Just made the boots bigger for extra height, but should look better when everything is put together properly. And the shins still have a missing piece that will make it look longer, you'll see ^^
 

FunFrostbite

New Member
Opinions on what material to use are fine, opinions on other costuming groups or organizations are something that should be kept to yourself. Neither I nor Angela, FANGS , will tolerate any bad mouthing, insulting or dismissive behavior of other organizations.

Our membership is better than that.
Yeah, I think it is kinda dumb how people hate on other people's groups. I also think people can use any material that they want. Whether it be cardboard, foam, fiberglass, or anything else. I completely agree with your comment
 
For me personally I use both in my builds.
I use foam for the body and fibreglass for the helm.
My reasoning for this is.
A.The body needs to be comfy. Wearing fibreglass gets uncomfortable in 20 mins or less for me, where as I can wear the foam for 8 hours straight
B.The helmet needs to be accurate. This is the main "selling point" of the helmet and foam helms always seem mishapen to me..

Here is a quick pros and cons list.

Fibreglass.
+ very strong
+ takes paint well
- expensive
- toxic and smelly
- messy/sticky
- can be fiddly
- less forgiving
- requires a lot of sanding and body filler
- uncomfortable to wear (cutty AF)
- difficult to repair

EVA foam.
+ cheap
+ light
+ flexible and extra comfy to wear
+ no toxic nastys
+ easy to fix
- sealing can be costly and tricky
- more likely to get wear and tear
- hot glue gun burns

As for looking and feeling like armour I think that EVA foam has more potentual to look like actual armor than fibreglass.
This is because EVA already has a thickness to it, which makes it look heavy. Also adding extra details onto a fibreglass build is a nightmare compared to EVA. And details are cruicial in selling the look of the armor.

Finally heres a pep/glass and a EVA side by side.
View attachment 243410
Damn those sets look awesome. May I ask how you did your Fred Undersuit? I am trying to gather ideas for my undersuit
 

Crusader1080

New Member
Personally, I used pepakura+epoxy resin for my build, it is strong and sturdy enough to be worn for the convention but I do want to further refine it with car/wood filler putty.

In my experience, I would prefer pepakura with epoxy resin over EVA foam as EVA foam are more expensive to obtain in my country and shaping and connecting the pieces are a hassle.
 
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