Tip Of The Day: Working with EVA Foam

Posted: August 14, 2011 by Patrick Dubuc in Links, Tips
Tags: ,

Article written from informations taken on the Schenz Theatrical Supply website.

So? You’re about to use EVA Foam for your next project? Please consider the following before doing so …

Like Wil already said in his Work In Progress: Wil’s Futuristic Armor post, EVA stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate. This dense, closed cell foam is not only environmentally safe but it’s somehow weather and chemical resistant and has a low water absorption level. This means, that it’s easy to work on it with glue, paint and everything you can throw its way. Now for the Dork part …

REACTIVITY DATA
Avoid fire and temperature above 329°C (625°F). EVA Foam is not compatible with: Gasoline, Cyclohexane, Ether, Ketone, Paraffin, Xylene and combustion conditions may release fumes hydrogen bormide and/or other toxic vapors

HEALTH HAZARD
Beside the evidence (Like swallowing might make you choke) the only health hazard is regarding inhalation of the EVA. Dust/fumes generated during thermal forming or slicing may cause eye and/or respiratory irritation.

PRECAUTION FOR SAFE HANDLING AND USE
Work in a well ventilated area when thermal forming or sanding/cutting the EVA Foam. Might want to consider using a mask to avoid inhaling dust from the foam.

Safety informations taken from Foam Order

 … Time for some EVA Foam carnage now …

You will need some tools to work on that baby so grab a piece of paper, a pen and take notes …

TOOLS NEEDED
– An X-Acto Knife (AND/OR any specialized blades you can think of for special cuts for example) AND/OR a hot blade of some sort …
– A Large Transparent ruler (The kind with a grid printed on it)
– A Fine Point Sharpie and an Ultra-Fine Point Sharpie (Or the cheap brands)
– A cutting surface (If you don’t want your wife to kill you for hacking through the kitchen table)
– A Dremel tool or its equivalent with sanding discs or bands
– A Heat Gun (For thermal forming)
– A mask (For protection) … Might consider some sort of Protection Goggles as well …
– A can of Contact Glue

Optional
– Masking Tape (To adjust your parts BEFORE glueing)

MISCELLANEOUS TIPS & TRICKS

Thermal Forming

When using the Heat Gun to form your EVA Foam, make sure you heat your surface evenly. You might want to have a surface to help you bend your foam. Since EVA does not absorb water, consider using it to shock your pieces once bent.

Dremel
A Dremel (Not making a shameless plug here, use whatever equivalent tool you want!) is a wonderful tool to make smooth edges, textures and details on your foam. I might consider making a post with possible things that can be done with a Dremel tool (Maybe using my scrap foam parts after my Futuristic Armor Project).

Sharpie
Use the utra-fine point sharpie to trace your pieces on the Foam. The fine point sharpie is used to write stuff on them or mark references (Like where to cut a hole later on).

If you have other questions regarding EVA Foam and the way to work with it … We would be more than happy to update this post for you. Send in your questions using the Contact link at the top of the Blog.

Patrick

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