Where to get foam

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Where to get foam

Post  Izec on Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:07 pm

I just thought I'd post some stuff about where to get foam to make weapons and shields.

First off, there are different kinds of foam to use. I'll go through the various quality foams and where you can get them.

------------ Weapon foam --------------

The easiest foam to use is funnoodle. It doesn't last very long, however. You can get it at Wal Mart when it is in season.

Camping pad is also available at Wal Mart. It is the roll of blue foam that I believe now comes in .5" thickness. Obviously, you can find it in the camping section. A lot of folks use camping pad to make flat blades on the cheap. I personally think it is probably too hard, but I swing kinda hard. I do use it for shields, though.

Packing foam is old school tech that I still like to use sometimes. It is pretty light and lasts longer than funnoodle when constructed properly. I get my stuff from The Container Store. At the Austin location (at the intersection of 360 and 183 in the Gateway shopping center) you can find the foam in the back right corner of the store after walking in the front door. It is polyethylene foam that comes in 12" square perforated sheets and is about 1/8" thick (.125"). They are on big rolls and you just pull how many sheets you want and tear at the perforation. It currently costs 49 cents per sheet. A typical short sword uses up 6 feet for the blade (with a 2 foot long striking surface). The link online is below:
http://www.containerstore.com/browse/Product.jhtml?searchId=17143879&itemIndex=8&CATID=268&PRODID=61240

I am currently experimenting with Volara foam. I've made a couple of speed bats (round blades) and I am waiting to see how durable they are. The foam is heavier than funnoodle or packing foam, but I think it will last longer if you make a spiral wrap round blade. I believe I'm using half inch (.5") thickness. I got my stuff from here: http://www.closedcellfoams.com/volara.html

Next up on the foam quality ladder is Evalite. It is pricey, but very good quality. You can find it at http://www.mcmaster.com/ Just type in EVA in the search box on the left and it will list you options. Choose sheets, then choose your thickness, and it display that part #. The sizes I get are 1/2" Thick, 29" X 47" currently at $31.76 Each or 3/8" Thick, 29" X 47" currently at $26.47 Each. Prices do go up on them regularly.

After that, there is stuff called MC foam. It is similar to Evalite, but from what I've heard it lasts even longer. Some guys report making a spiral wrap round blade that will last 10 years with regular use. The place to get it in Austin is a company called Polyplastics. They are located at 10201 Metropolitan Dr. in Austin, TX 78758. The local number is 512-339-9293 and their website is http://www.1polyplastics.com/
I've heard there is two types of MC foam to get for a long lasting legal sword. If you spiral wrap it the stuff to use near the core is mc 2900 (I'd probably go with .5" thickness). The stuff to use on the outer layer is called ec 1900 (.5" thickness, I guess). I heard the sheets went for about $35 about a year ago, but made a good number of swords. I'll get some of this stuff someday and play around with it.

----------- Shield foam -----------------

Camping pad is the cheap, easy stuff to use. If you build it right it should last quite a while. I've got shields I made years ago that are still legal. Again, get it a Wal Mart in the camping section. It comes in blue rolls.

You can also use the Evalite stuff from McMaster Carr. See higher up in the post to see where to get it.

There is also good open cell polyurethane foam to get from McMaster Carr. It is highest quality open cell I've ever seen. The stuff I've used before is 2" thick. The part number is 85735K66 for 2" Thick, 24" X 48" and it goes for $35.14.

What has been used a lot within the last few years is typically called "plank foam". It is polyethylene foam planks available in various densities. The densities typically used for foam fighting is 1.7 and 2.2 or 2.3. I believe these numbers stand for Lbs./Cubic Ft. Most people use 2" thickness, but some use 3" thickness, especially for punch shields where they will cut a recess for the hand. I've used 2.2 density at 2" thickness and the shield is durable and very lightweight. You can find it in a couple of places that I know of:
http://www.foamandupholstery.com/polyethylene_foam.htm
http://www.closedcellfoams.com/polyethylene.html
Shipping can get pricey, though, as the planks are typically over sized. You might be able to get the planks at Polyplastics, but I'm not sure.


Well, that's the stuff that I know of. If you've got any more suggestions feel free to post them and don't forget to post your results with foam experimentations. Sharing knowledge with other members helps all of us have more fun.
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Izec

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Re: Where to get foam

Post  Casimir on Thu Apr 16, 2009 1:55 pm

The Narnia unit has something called a 'tab method' that supposedly secures foam to round cores alot better than just DAP. I will look into it and ask around if any of them show up to Gates.
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Casimir

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