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 …

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

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.

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 …

– 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

– Masking Tape (To adjust your parts BEFORE glueing)


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.

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).

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.


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