Which is better: EVA Foam Tiles or Rolls?

Phauxelate

Active Member
I see a healthy amount of EVA foam tiles with a large amount of people using those as their main armor supply. But I also see foam rolls without a textured side from places like Red Moon Cosplay Solutions, or TnT Cosplay Supply.

My question is, is it worth it to go for the rolls of foam that people sell specifically for cosplay, or is it just fine to settle for the classic foam tiles. (I'm thinking about Harbor Freight if I get foam tiles, so let me know if harbor freight isn't good)
 

Spidermonkey60

RMO
405th Regiment Officer
I really like the Harbor Freight foam, but have recently tried the TNT foam and found it to definitely be superior. Really it boils down to cost, if you care about the texture on the back, and how thick of foam you need as the rolls usually come in different thicknesses.

I will say i felt that the foam in the rolls tend to be a little better on your blades, but that may just be a preference thing
 

PerniciousDuke

RXO & BCO
405th Regiment Officer
Community Staff
So far I like that you can get the cosplay foam slightly denser than harbor freight tiles. Like Spidermonkey60 mentioned with the knives. I think they cut up better. Cheap foam wiggles/bends a lot. If your blade isn't super sharp and it wiggles instead of cut.. bye bye clean cut.

That being said, the cheap stuff is just fine. It also does curve easily. If you have a belt sander you can sand the texture off pretty easily when needed.
 

he4thbar

Active Member
I haven't used tiles yet only rolls of closed cell foam, but I have to say since my rolls are 4'x6' they are really nice for making seamless big pieces that I didn't have to cut into smaller pieces.
However a warning against rolls is just have a place to store them because it's not as easy as tiles.
 

RandomRanger

Sr Member
I'd vote for rolls, while maneuvering the big sheet is sometimes a pain, I wouldn't want to imagine the waste and small pieces involved with using foam tiles. If cost is a main concern, here's a snippet of a conversation I had with he4thbar the other day.
he4thbar said:
I got mine from thefoamfactory.com. I think their Eva is a little expensive but for the size of the sheets you can make some good armor pieces without having to cut it into multiple pieces, just went with their closed cell foam and paid a little over $100.
I got
Two 4'x6' 3/8" inch foam at 30.99 each(3lb denisity)
And then I got 2lb density
2'x4' 1/4" inch foam for 11.99
2'x4' 1/2" inch foam for 14.99
RandomRanger said:
Based off the numbers you provided, that 3lb foam costs about $0.77 per sq.ft and is ~9.5mm compared to my 10mm foam. My foam is $1.6 per sq.ft, leaving your foam at about 48% the total cost of my foam (52% cheaper). Assuming the foam doesn't suck and I didn't mess up the math, that's the best deal I've seen. The higher density foams on TNT go for around $2.5 per sq.ft. How much foam did you buy? My Mk VI suit needed a little under 50 sq ft of foam to build, which (the math says) cost me around $80. I just ordered foam for 3 costumes the other day, and ordered 150 sq.ft

I looked at their site, assuming their "minicel T380 3/8in" is the same type of foam as the TNT EVA-38, then it looks like they cost about the same. Minicel T380 is $1.7 per sq.ft. So it I'm gonna bet that the price difference comes from a difference in density, as their Minicel T600 also seems to line up with the TNT EVA-60. I have a recent thread here about high vs low density foam if you're interested: High vs Low Density Foam
So even the roll foam can vary in price by quite a bit ($0.77 -> $2.5)
 

he4thbar

Active Member
So even the roll foam can vary in price by quite a bit ($0.77 -> $2.5)
Is this before or after you noticed the 4'x6' was $30.99 Each, just for clarity sake.

Let me also preface that the foam I bought was the 3lb Density clpe(closed cell) foam(for the 3/8" foam) which reacts a little differently than EVA foam. but still looks good. I know Elcorio used this for his ODST build, but said he was going to mess around with the EVA foam from their site. (The Foam Factory Closed Cell Foam)
 

RandomRanger

Sr Member
Is this before or after you noticed the 4'x6' was $30.99 Each, just for clarity sake.

Let me also preface that the foam I bought was the 3lb Density xple(closed cell) foam(for the 3/8" foam) which reacts a little differently than EVA foam. but still looks good. I know Elcorio used this for his ODST build, but said he was going to mess around with the EVA foam from their site.
All the math was done with the $30.99 each price the first time around. It was something else that I misread the first time around, but it doesn't affect any of the math. I just neglected to recognize the 2x as representing your total order cause I didn't realize how big 4x6 was.
 

Mortimus

New Member
I have been buying TnT cosplay foam for a while now for my ODST and another cosplay. I highly recommend it because of the higher quality you get from their product and others like it (SKS props sells it, as does another company).

Compared to foam mats, it just feels less dense and is probably more prone to tearing or breaking down at a quicker rate than higher density foams. The upside as well to using rolls over mats, there is no texture. I can use either side and not worry about sanding anything down. It's not that much more expensive (as far as foam goes) so I felt it was worth the price.
 

he4thbar

Active Member
The upside as well to using rolls over mats, there is no texture. I can use either side and not worry about sanding anything down. It's not that much more expensive (as far as foam goes) so I felt it was worth the price.
Yeah the clpe foam I bought from the foam factory is smooth on both sides and I love that too.
 

Mortimus

New Member
Just wanted to note that TnT sells both low and high density foams (see my comment above for some prices)
Yep, totally correct. What I should have more accurately stated is that the foam that they sell at higher (and lower) densities feels much different from how a floor tile does, at least when I was first comparing the two for my build. The variety that TnT cosplay has and how much it has grown is immense and now they have some thicc foam at 1-2inch thick.

As stated, other companies have popped up by other cosplayers/prop makers that also make high quality foam rolls! SKS props for example.
 

Elcorio

Member
When I first started, I used floor mat foam and the texture sides really threw me off when having to account for flipping a pattern. That and I didn't care for the 2'x2' limitations of the pieces. That led me to my search for something else. I did look at TNT and SKS for their foam, but at the time, it was 2' wide by whatever length they came in and I found the prices to be a bit high (w/ shipping) for me compared to what I could get in the XLPE sheets. With TNT, it also seemed they were out of stock quite a bit. So my search continued.

I found the XLPE from the foam factory and it came in glorious 4'x6' sheets that was smooth on both sides and I felt the pricing was reasonable comsidering shipping was free for orders over $75.00. Since then I haven't looked back. Once I find something I like, I tend to stick with it.

What works for some, may not work for others. I am fortunate in the sense that my financial situation affords me this option and I am willing to pay a bit more if it is something that I like and don't mind the expense. Plus, I am also fortunate to have the room to store all my building supplies. :)

So, for me, foam rolls are my go to option and as he4thbar mentioned in the thread, the next order will be some of the minicell to give it a test run as well. If there is one thing I do miss from using XLPE, it is the ability to score the foam and have it separate with heat. XLPE just doesn't do that!
 
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Phauxelate

Active Member
So, with all of your foam buying and building expertise, would you advise against buying harbor freight foam?
 

Mortimus

New Member
So, with all of your foam buying and building expertise, would you advise against buying harbor freight foam?
I think it's a fine way to start and experiment with foam. I would definitely lean more towards the foam rolls if you have the finances for it. I've seen great cosplays done with harbor freight foam though, so don't count it out.
 

Elcorio

Member
I think it's a fine way to start and experiment with foam. I would definitely lean more towards the foam rolls if you have the finances for it. I've seen great cosplays done with harbor freight foam though, so don't count it out.
I wouldn't advise against it. I've seen absolutely amazing builds across the board using that foam. Stuff I wish and hopefully one day can pull off.
 

Mortimus

New Member
I wouldn't advise against it. I've seen absolutely amazing builds across the board using that foam. Stuff I wish and hopefully one day can pull off.
Oh there are plenty of cosplays out there that use the harbor freight foam. They outclass me any day. That just comes down to experience of the crafter. You can make things look amazing with a bit of glue and a good pain job. No one would ever know if you used harbor freight or TnT in certain cases.

In terms of my personal preference in use, it's handy to have a giant roll of foam to put my templates onto. However, WhereisDanielle has used (still uses?) foam mats and clearly she is amazing with it and can use templates fine on it.
 

Sean Anwalt

RCO
405th Regiment Officer
All of my builds have been with harbor freight foam and with the exception of filling a few bubbles i don't have any complaints.
 

RandomRanger

Sr Member
I've seen a lot of people mention the harbor freight foam, so I looked it up: it's $0.56 per sq. ft of foam. This is a very good price! Compared to the lowest I've seen prior was $0.77, and the stuff I've been buying is $1.6. So that's why I see people still using floor mats when cosplay rolls exist, it's like 1/3 the cost! I probably would've used them for one or two of my upcoming builds if I had known haha, ah well. Assuming a halo suit consumes 50 sq.ft., the cost of foam goes down from $80 -> $28.

Also, you can buy a belt sander online for about $40.
 
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