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Blue foam - What is it called?

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Herri17/08/2010 08:07:54
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I need some blue foam for my winter project(s). To fill in a nose cone and for making a plug for a cowl.
Here in Holland I have never seen the stuff.
I will be in the UK next month and my question is:
Can I buy it at say B&Q ?
Has it got a proper name or does everyone just refer to it as "blue foam"
Any advice to sourcing it would be appreciated.
Thanks
Herri
Martin Harris17/08/2010 08:20:45
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I found this info which may be useful:
 
Pink/Blue foam is actually EXTRUDED Polystyrene. This is a closed-cell extruded form of polystyrene that is commonly known by the trade name of “Styrofoam”. Just as most people call a vacuum-cleaner a “Hoover” Extruded Polystyrene is called “Styrofoam”.

Now Styrofoam comes in many guises, it comes in different colours and different thicknesses and different densities. Colour can be largely ignored – it isn’t important anymore and very few of the companies that can supply Styrofoam will even know what you mean by “Pink or Blue Foam”. If you see foam that is blue or pink it can easily be something completely different and totally useless: what you need to know about is Density.
The density of Styrofoam for the modeller essentially means how “hard” it is: the denser the foam the harder (and heavier) it is. The original (blue) Styrofoam has a density of 32kg/m3 and this forms the benchmark for modeling: anything less dense than this can be too soft, anything more dense can be fine... right up to 200kg/m3 foam which is used to make surfboard blanks!

To find the right foam near to you search Google for “Styrofoam” or “Underfloor Insulation” and find a local stockist – Phone them up and check the density of the styrofoam, forget the colour and don’t worry about the tradename it is sold as. Here are a few trade names that may help you locate a supplier though:
Styrofoam LBX / DOW Styrofoam IB (UK/USA/Eur/Aus/NZ)
Floormate (UK)
Foamular (USA/Oz)
Styrodur (Europe)
Roofmate (France)
De-Q-cell (Germany
 
 
A tip when sanding (apart from strong advice to wear a mask as the dust is rather nasty stuff) is to always sand in one direction.  If you rub back and forward it will form balls under the sandpaper and tear the surface.

Edited By Martin Harris on 17/08/2010 08:21:33

Tim Mackey17/08/2010 08:29:24
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Herri - not sure how you are travelling but if you buy some from a distributor its likely to be rather large. If all you need is a lump or two for a nose cone and the like, Im sure we can get you small quantity from one of the forum members for free - and arranging for you to collect it should be easy enough. Where abouts in the UK will you be?

Edited By Tim Mackey - Administrator on 17/08/2010 08:30:06

Erfolg17/08/2010 09:56:25
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Much of written above is correct.
 
The product most refer to as blue foam, is an insulation material.
 
The grade most commonly used is:
 
"Dow Corning- Floormate X200"
 
it is sold by Sheffield Insulation. who have many large warehouses around the UK.
 
The important aspect is it being EXTRUDED polystyrene, its physical properties are very different from Expanded Polystyrene.
 
It is also very different to "Kingspan" , Celotex" and other similar polyurethane foams.
 
I am a little surprised that this product or similar is not available in the Holland. As the first time I saw Blue Foam, was on a German construction site, some +40 years back.
 
As also stated the sheets are large and cheap by modelling standards being less than £15 for a 2.5m*1.5m* 50mm sheet (I paid £11.20 some 5 years back).
Herri17/08/2010 09:57:32
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Thanks Martin, that very interesting.
 
Tim, we'll be along the south coast from the beginning of Sept and hoping to go to Hop Farm-Show on the Saterday, just before we go home.
 
Cheers
Herri
 
Tim Mackey17/08/2010 10:00:26
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Well I reckon someone here would be willing to take you a lump of foam to the show if you wanted - why not start a thread to that effect if you want......we have section for just that sort of thing. HERE
Herri17/08/2010 10:46:40
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Erfolg,thanks for your input.
It probably is available if you know what to ask for.
My problem, apart from (up till now) only knowing it as "Blue Foam"  is also, I didnt want to buy a load of insulation, get it home, spend hours sanding it etc, only to find out it melts when in contact with epoxy or other problems.
Martin Harris17/08/2010 11:27:28
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Don't get ordinary cyano-acrylate or nitro-cellulose products near it!  Epoxy should be fine but I'd be wary of polyester resin (although I haven't tried it).
Grahamd17/08/2010 11:35:44
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Someone is selling small sheets on Flea Bay http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/2x12x24-STYROFOAM-PINK-FOAM-SUBSTITUTE-BLUE-300x600mm-/320575348082?pt=UK_ToysGames_RadioControlled_JN
Erfolg17/08/2010 12:02:12
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Yes!
 
As with many polymers, care is needed in using compatable materials.
 
As the surface is suspetible to dings etc. I now sheave my blue foam with lightweight glass cloth, using WPV (water based varnish) to laminate. It adds vitually no weight, yet does create a hard shell.
 
As for adhesives, PVA, Epoxy, Polyurethane (Elk, Gorilla etal), I hvae used some Cyno, I guess must have been odourless.
 
Definatly do not use Evostick impact! as the surface melts back by an amount!
 
The comments about sanding seems applicable to all the insulation materials, as Kingspan gives me a sore throat, Rockwool (no use for modelling) makes my hands itch. I have not really noticed to much with Blue Foam, but care is sensible.
Martin Harris17/08/2010 12:24:12
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A clubmate spent some time in hospital having blue foam dust scraped out of his lungs! He'd been doing some extensive sanding of blue foam in his shed.
Erfolg17/08/2010 12:47:31
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I would reiterate, care would seem to be sensible.
 
I have known of a person having residential hospital treatment from using epoxy resin, by spraying. Carpenters have suffered from lung disease from wood dust.
 
What these instances illustrate that high concentrations or repeated exposure of many common substances can be the cause of serious illness. Often light contact causing no short or long term issues.
 
Yet it is sensible to be cautious.
 
Bare in mind this is true of sanding, balsa, spraying paints, a whole manner of everyday materials.
 
For me it is alarmist to single out blue foam, without hard evidence. 
John Ellerton26/01/2012 20:00:28
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I am intending have a go at cutting some wing cores for the first time, using blue foam to replace a broken wing on a 66" slope soarer. My local branch of Sheffield Insulation does not have the Floormate X200 - the lady I talked to says the replacement for that is Floormate 300A. I've checked and the density for this is 38kg/m3, compared to 32kg/m3 for the X200.
 
Is this still going to be OK to use for wing cores ? or will it be too heavy (nearly 19% heavier) ? Will it still be easy to cut with a hot wire ?
 
What blue foam is everybody else using at the moment ?
 
JohnE Boy
IanN05/07/2012 17:18:13
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It certainly pays to do your homework and phone ahead if intending to buy from Sheffiled Insulations

I called in at the Ruislip branch, as was already in the area, and they didn't have the Styrofoam X-PS (product no 21615, 2 sheets for £20) mentioned by Danny Fenton in this month's mag. A phone call to Bedford revealed that they also don't stock it, and don't intend to

I ended up with a sheet of the Floormate 300A but its a fair bit pricier than the Styrofoam, or the older prices for Floormate X200 quoted above - £25 for 600mm x 50mm x 2.5m

Erfolg05/07/2012 18:10:56
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Hmm

I will have to buy ahead it seems. I am down to half a sheet which were 4' * 8' * 50mm @ £10embarrassed.

It may be that 20% can be absorbed, by wall thinning, as I use it for body parts , rather than wings.

If used for wings, rather than covering with balsa or obechi sheet, brown paper with LE &TE stock, could keep strength adequate and weight acceptable.

IanN06/07/2012 11:50:23
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Seems things have moved on. Phoned two more branches of Sheffins this morning and both said that Styrofoam X-PS 21615 is no longer stocked, and has been replaced by Dow Styrofoam LB-X, product code 21683 (enter that 5 digit no into the search window in Sheffins website to see the sizes available)

The seemingly more knowledgable / interested of the two Sheffins people I spoke to also recommended Floormate 300A as the "closest" alternative (albeit - as already said above - slightly heavier)

Danny Fenton06/07/2012 12:29:54
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Hi Ian, that is interesting. I must say that it was a little while ago that did the exercise. I have just dug the invoice out. 14/01/11 and it was 25.45 with VAT for the two sheets.

I will be interested to see what you find out as I will need to replenish my stock sooner rather than later, having sold one of the sheets.

Hope I haven't misled anybody, that was not my intention embarrassed

Cheers

Danny

Erfolg06/07/2012 13:09:40
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The "Blue Foam" I have previously purchased was:

Dow Corning , Floormate, X200 @ then £11.20 per sheet

I have just had a look at there web site, it still seems to be listed with the code 216590503. It now seems to narrower at 600 wide. In the past this was 1200.

When i purchased my own sheet, some 4-5 years back, I was asked was I a modeller? Which I confirmed. The guy then said, yep, it seems you are the only guys who purchase it. It could well have been the single sheet that was the issue.

IanN06/07/2012 13:25:55
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Posted by Danny Fenton on 06/07/2012 12:29:54:

Hi Ian, that is interesting. I must say that it was a little while ago that did the exercise. I have just dug the invoice out. 14/01/11 and it was 25.45 with VAT for the two sheets.

Cheers

Danny

 

 

No worries Danny, manufacturers' specs etc always subject to updating, I guess. I've asked Sheffins to confirm the prices for the "new" Styrofoam" as I was after a 75mm sheet. I THINK the lady on the 'phone said c £13 for the 50mm sheet (the same size as you bought?). Not sure if that's with VAT or not, but its not a million miles away from your price back in Jan 2011 so I reckon that's still pretty good value

I'm quite happy sticking with the sheet of Floormate 300A I bought from Ruislip. They had neither the old nor the new Styrofoam, and any saving on the price of Styrofoam v the dearer Floormate would easily be eaten away by the cost of driving further afield to find some. As its mainly for ribs and the odd "basic" moulding - wingtips etc - the slight density increase is neither here nor there

Not used this before. Quite looking forwards to trying it yes

 

Edited By IanN on 06/07/2012 13:27:22

IanN09/07/2012 12:47:30
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Posted by Danny Fenton on 06/07/2012 12:29:54:

I will be interested to see what you find out as I will need to replenish my stock sooner rather than later, having sold one of the sheets.

Sheff Ins have just confirmed the following VAT exclusive prices

STYROFOAM LB-X 50mm x 605mm x 2438mm £13.54

STYROFOAM LB-X 75mm x 605mm x 2438m £20.30

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