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Where to get 'sculpt-able' foam for fiberglass mould?

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' at netrider.net.au started by MeltingDOg, May 1, 2012.

  1. Hi all,

    I have decided to build my own cafe racer seat after watching how easy (ahem...famous last words!) it seems to be in this vid.


    (sorry - wont let me embed the video for some reason)

    I've been able to track down fibreglass and resin fine but I cant find the foam blocks he uses for the mould in the video. Bunnings and Clark Rubber are out. Closest I could find were those block florist use for flower arrangements.

    Would anyone know where I can get some foam blocks or know of something similar I could use?

    Thanks heaps!
  2. Hmm I watched the video again. Looks like there pictures of flowers on the packaging for those blocks. Think he's using the same florist stuff anyway...
  3. Yeah looks like he is using the florist type blocks. Give a florist a call and see how you go.

    Another option is to make the mould using the expanding foam stuff you can buy from Bunnings. Not sure what the price difference will be between the two. I usually just use normal packing foam, stick it together and work from that. I make the shape and then put a layer of body filler to smooth it all out. Sand it back again to make sure everything is good, wax/buff 4 times (first time only...if you make copies then second time you only need to wax/buff once or twice) and it is ready to be fibreglassed. If you have a spare mirror/glass/plastic large enough for your project, you can give it a few coats of wax/buff, that way it is much easier to remove than the cardboard base the dude in the video used.
  4. On florist's foam - great for carving and sculpting over, some types set hard if you spray them with water and let dry. The types I have seen will start to crumble to dust after a few months, so be careful.

    Another type of foam you can use is "pink insulation foam". Problem is I don't know if it is available outside of the USA, worth asking in bunnings. Sculptors glue blocks of it together and carve large sculptures of the stuff so it holds detail and can be sanded fairly smooth. Don't know how long it lasts.
  5. where did you find the fiberglass sheets and resin?
  6. I doubt if Bunnies would have a clue what you're talking about but look up foam suppliers or insulation suppliers in the Yellow Pages and you might have more luck.

    What you want is either extruded (not expanded) polystyrene foam or rigid polyurethane foam. Stick it together with hot glue or white PVA and go for your life.

    Do not burn or hot wire cut the polyurethane stuff or you'll die.

    BTW, people build the structural bits of (real) aeroplanes and boats out of the stuff so, sealed in a fibreglass shell, it can be regarded as lasting for ever.
  7. Hey thats a great idea! I might combine the two - use the florist foam and the expanding foam over a cardboard and polystiring base. Ill post pics on how I go
  8. Just at Bunnings. They sell the sheets by the roll or both resin and sheets in a little kit.
  9. If you want to buy fibreglass items in bulk. Buy from these guys. They have helped me out when I was buying a lot for making/fixing my race fairings...mainly fixing.

  10. Come to Melbourne, theres currently a truck load of foam spread over the Maroodah Freeway.
  11. Hobby shop?

    I used Styrofoam to make my tank mold, but I don't recommencement it. It' creates a mess and it's not easy to sculpt.
  12. Some people who build bases to train sets and modelling, use Extruded Polystyrene Foam, I found a list of suppliers in NSW. Hope they may be of help?

    Austech External Building Products Pty Ltd
    80 Tattersall Road, Blacktown NSW 2148
    PO Box 4208 Marayong NSW 2148
    Phone: 02 9831 1623
    Fax: 02 9831 5043
    Contact: Tony Curran, Christian Wallin, Mike Nagle or John Hansen
    Email: sales@austech.com.au

    Foamex Polystyrene
    31 Mavis Street
    REVESBY NSW 2212
    Ph. 02 9773 1655
    Fax. 02 9773 1907

    Foamex Central Pty Ltd
    Factory: 4 Donaldson Rd
    WYONG NSW 2259
    Phone: +61 2 9773-1655
    Fax: +61 2 9773-9355

    Solartex - Insulation Solutions
    Unit 1 / 169 South Creek Road
    NSW 2099
    Phone: (02) 9971 4600
    Fax: (02) 9971 4611,
    Mobile: 0416 252 542,
    Email: enquiries@solartex.com.au

    Dynamic Composite Technologies
    Unit 8, 171-175 Newton Rd,
    Wetherill Park
    NSW 2164
    T (02) 8788 9555
    F (02) 9604 7468
    E info@dctech.com.au
    W http://www.dctech.com.au/brands/styrofoam.php

    Australian Urethane Systems Pty Ltd
    25 Garling Road
    Ph: 61 2 9678 9833
    Fax: 1800 887 666 61
    email: peterb@ausurethane.com

    Austech Building Products
    80 Tattersall Road
    Blacktown NSW 2148
    Phone (02) 9831 1623

    119 Broadmeadow Road
    NSW 2292
    PHONE - 02 49614215
    FAX - 02 49622132
  13. Agree with you there, it sure does get messy.
  14. That's the stuff.

    If you were lucky enough to happen upon a construction site where it's being installed, you might even get enough offcuts to make a seat unit for the price of asking.

    Oh yeah. Just remembered, ISTR that polystyrene foam will dissolve if in contact with polyester resin (the stuff from Bunnings). So you'll need to seal your carved plug with something. Gloss paint, exterior varnish, something like that. A few layers of cling film will also work for long enough for the resin to go off.
  15. There is also a lightweight balsa type wood used by tool makers for vacuum forming moulds. I have worked with it in the past and it holds together well, sands up easy and cuts with a stanley knife. I will have a Google about and see if I can find some, although places like an Industrial Design college (like RMIT) would also be a good source for pattern making material.

    Aha! Here we go, balsa wood in Sydney...


    Worth considering as an alternative to foam, the thin part of your seat pan would be more rigid as a balsa pattern.
  16. Hi all,
    Thought I would update this. I bought 2 types of florist foam. The green 'wet' type and the grey 'dry' type. Booth are $5 a block (approx 22 by 10 cm) from Spotlight.

    Some things I found that might help people doing similar projects:
    the spray adhesive he used in the video does not work. Would recommend wood glue but make sure it doesn't melt the foam first.

    The grey 'dry' foam is much more rigid and less crumbly then the green 'wet' foam. It's much easier to work with.

    I found a hack saw blade (detached from the actual saw) and fine grade sand paper were the best tools to work with.

    Be careful if marking with texta -it melts the foam
  17. Photos please?

    Try a whiteboard marker, it may not melt the foam.
  18. Thanks for the update :).

    You can mark the foam with water based textas...the ones you buy for kids so they don't get high on the fume.
  19. Now where's the fun in that?
  20. I hear a bit of petrol in an open bucket in an enclosed area can change that.