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Cutting Foamcore - What am I missing

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Tattoosleeve, Jun 12, 2018.

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  1. Tattoosleeve

    Tattoosleeve Member

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    Nov 5, 2012
    Prince George
    We rarely use foamcore as we never get requests for it but I have a project where the customer will not accept any other substrate substitution. Having worked with it in the past we always had challenges getting clean cuts. Didn't matter how sharp the knife was, how fast or slow the pass was, how deep the cuts were (multiple passes on single cut path) the foam center of the board would always catch the side of the knife blade and tear.

    We're generally a competent substrate shop that cut vinyl, Sintra, coroplast, polystyrene, etc on a daily basis so not sure why we've had such troubles with it in the past. What's the technique and or tools you use to get a smooth clean cut on foamcore?
     
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  2. MrRu

    MrRu New Member

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    Aug 19, 2012
    Menifee, CA
    I usually use a keen cut cutter with a fresh blade. But also use a straight edge and an 18mm olfa blade. Single pass, not super fast seems to work just fine. How thick is the foamcore?

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
  3. Tattoosleeve

    Tattoosleeve Member

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    1/4" generally
     
  4. rockz12

    rockz12 Specializing in the strange and unusual

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    Hamilton, NJ
    I cut foamcore by hand with a utility knife. Have noticed even if it is a new blade which has been out for a long time it will cut poor when dry. It needs to be oily new. Dry new blades will pull and make a mess. Buy a new pack from home boys.
     
  5. Sign Works

    Sign Works Very Active Member

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    1/4" foamcore cuts with straight edge and exacto knife smooth as butter, can't get any easier than this. I do feel that a proper cutting mat is beneficial.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Bly

    Bly Very Active Member

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    Wow. This must be the easiest board to cut.
    Sharp blade at not too steep an angle and voila.
     
  7. Signs101Admin

    Signs101Admin Owner

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    I laser cut it personally.
     
  8. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    I hate using it, pvc all the way. So far no client has had a problem when I tell them why and that it will be the same price.
     
  9. Ted Borowsky

    Ted Borowsky New Member

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    May 30, 2018
    Montgomeryville, PA
    Frequent blade changes are the ticket. when cutting foam core.

    If you're considering investing in a cutter, here are some of the issues to consider:

    - Maximum thickness and length of substrates
    - How frequently do you need to cut substrates?
    - What other substrates are you cutting besides foam core?
    - What level of accuracy do you need to achieve?
    - Do you want a cutter that is fixed to a work bench or portable?
    - What is your primary criteria for buying- price, warranty, long term value?
     
  10. eahicks

    eahicks Very Active Member

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    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Ted Borowsky

    Ted Borowsky New Member

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    May 30, 2018
    Montgomeryville, PA
  12. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    We too, use a Keen cutter without any real problems. However, we rarely use foamcore. That sh!t is for the birds. People claim they want it, because its a buzz word many recognize. They don't have any real reason to use it, other than it's cheap. We almost always talk the customer out of using it.

    Most likely, you're not using the right kinda pressure or wrong angle of the blade, thus tearing and not cutting the foam center. If you have a lot to do, think about outsourcing your cutting of them, otherwise, just invest in a decent cutting tool.
     
  13. Tattoosleeve

    Tattoosleeve Member

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    Nov 5, 2012
    Prince George
    We actually do have a Keencut but had not been able to get decent results still. We did however do a little digging after some suggestions here and found a video showing the most common mistake in cutting foamcore and as some others had suggested here, BLADE ANGLE was the culprit! Adjusted to low blade angle and we are now slicing nice and smooth. Thanks guys!
     
  14. 702 graphics

    702 graphics Member

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    Oct 7, 2009
    Las Vegas NV
    Its the quality of the foam you are using. We were buying price friendly foam and had the same problem with all our cutting equipment.
    Switched to styrene coated foam and no more problems! It cost a bit more but sure looks better handing it to a customer.
     
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