How to detail armour

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OJ102

Member
Hi there

I'm working my way through the pitfalls of pepakura and have come to a situation that has stalled my creativity, detailing in the foam!

I'm trying to love my work but it's just so untidy and I cant see how its mean to be done! The first image is the template and it shows the indentation in white. I decided that the best approach was to cut it out as a whole and then cut the indents out of it and offset them into the foam 50% thickness. I dont like the result as the second image shows...

The details are fine and the look scruffy. How would some of you who actually know what your doing deal with this?

I cant see how to get around this.. on test foam I even tried a soldering iron to melt the details in, which did look better but the foam finish was really bad and I've seen some amazing finishes with foam that can be done!

It would be nice of pepakura had an exploration function that let you rotate and zoom in on Parts from different perspectives, half the time I cant even get up close to what I'm building..

Any help would be great as I cant continue with this version as I'm just not happy with its quality... scale is about right tho
 

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xXDashIVXx

Sr Member
Hi there

I'm working my way through the pitfalls of pepakura and have come to a situation that has stalled my creativity, detailing in the foam!

I'm trying to love my work but it's just so untidy and I cant see how its mean to be done! The first image is the template and it shows the indentation in white. I decided that the best approach was to cut it out as a whole and then cut the indents out of it and offset them into the foam 50% thickness. I dont like the result as the second image shows...

The details are fine and the look scruffy. How would some of you who actually know what your doing deal with this?

I cant see how to get around this.. on test foam I even tried a soldering iron to melt the details in, which did look better but the foam finish was really bad and I've seen some amazing finishes with foam that can be done!

It would be nice of pepakura had an exploration function that let you rotate and zoom in on Parts from different perspectives, half the time I cant even get up close to what I'm building..

Any help would be great as I cant continue with this version as I'm just not happy with its quality... scale is about right tho
I would say use a dremel if you have one, or cut it out/score the foam with a blade and heat gun it. Your blade also may need to be sharpened. This does look tricky. If it is just an indent, I would cut out the shape, and then cut out the shape with the line cut outs in craft foam or something a bit bigger, and glue that ontop. But that's me and I'm not that smart so let's wait for someone else :)
 

OJ102

Member
I was considering the second layer approach already, but the design itself is indented into the armour so it would mean multiple layers all over..

I have a dremel, or rather rotary tool. I didnt think it would do anything to the foam however. I'll try some test bits.

I'm considering restarting the project with a denser foam. I'm using a 45* foam currently. I have the options of 65* and 100*. 100* saying its denser.

Do you reckon if I used a soldering iron to cut the indents and then used a dremel I could smooth then out?
 

xXDashIVXx

Sr Member
I was considering the second layer approach already, but the design itself is indented into the armour so it would mean multiple layers all over..

I have a dremel, or rather rotary tool. I didnt think it would do anything to the foam however. I'll try some test bits.

I'm considering restarting the project with a denser foam. I'm using a 45* foam currently. I have the options of 65* and 100*. 100* saying its denser.

Do you reckon if I used a soldering iron to cut the indents and then used a dremel I could smooth then out?
It's worth a try. I am not very good at controlling my wood burner as ifs holdable part is way at the top so I cant handle it like a pencil, but maybe yours iseasier. I have used it and it works great, but mine also doesnt get nearly hot enough. Darn cheap tech!
 

Lieutenant Jaku

Sr Member
Personally, I tend to run into similar problems, you could cut it into smaller pieces and glue those together so you don't have to bend the foam into weird positions, but the second layer approach probably would work better. Anyway, I'm not the best at foamwork so let's call in someone better. TurboCharizard, some help please?
you're good with foam right.
 

TurboCharizard

Division PR, RXO and BCO
Division Staff
405th Regiment Officer
Member DIN
S068
Personally, I tend to run into similar problems, you could cut it into smaller pieces and glue those together so you don't have to bend the foam into weird positions, but the second layer approach probably would work better. Anyway, I'm not the best at foamwork so let's call in someone better. TurboCharizard, some help please?
you're good with foam right.
I wouldn't say "good" but I can do some foam stuff fairly well.

For sake of a clean and even appearance you could go a few different approaches depending on how deep your offset from the surface is.

If you want to use a raised section overlaid on the base and cut the detail into the raised top foam only it'd likely come out a little bit cleaner but still depends on your cutting skill of the top layer.

If you have multiple thicknesses of foam you could use those to your advantage and have a consistent offset based on the delta between the two heights of the foam.

To minimize awkward corner cuts that get messy you could split the "arms" from the main body and make a separate assembly that's easier to stick together piece by piece instead of wedging a part into a location surrounded by foam and adhesive on three sides.

When in doubt, rotary tool.

A more extreme approach if you wanted exact, even widths of insets and your foam is high enough quality to withstand tooling you could use a flush trim router bit to follow along your insets.

Should I keep throwing ideas at the wall?
 

Spidermonkey60

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
Stream Team
Member DIN
S060
I would recommend either using a heat knife for those line details, or mark then with a pen and then using a hobby knife just follow the lines you drew, cutting maybe a quarter inch into the foam. Once you hit the foam with a heat gun those cuts will expand giving you a nice clean indented line
 

Sean Anwalt

Sr Member
Member DIN
S530
Small tiny cuts to make the piece round or etc... can often be ignored in foam since you can bend or heat form a lot of details into it. I mention this to help keep things clean. The more seams the greater potential for mess.

What I like to do is create raised details in one of two ways:

First is to create the raised detail out of thinner foam and carefully super glue into place.

Second is to cut the shape carefully out using a sharp X-acto blade or scalpel, (which you can get on Amazon for cheap.) Then push the piece out halfway, as has previously been discussed.
 

OJ102

Member
That method of cutting part way and heating looks amazing! I'll have to try that on some test foam.

I've currently got 45* foam at 5mm, while the thickness is good for the armour I fear its density is going to cause issues. A 100* roll of 5mm is about double the price, would it make a difference you reckon?

Your right with the more seams=more mess thing. I cut every detail in the first version but the contact cement and working with it and then have them 50% offset in thickness distorted it and made it look bad

I tested my dremel on some scrap foam but it just seemed to squish/melt it rather then sand it down. Could that be down to the density of the foam im using?

I may look into getting 2 rolls of the high density foam, a 5mm for structure and a half size roll at 2mm for details. I'm wanting to go full in with this project and add electronics to it, so this foam base had to be as good as possible!
 
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