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Foamed PVC

Foamed PVC

Foamed PVC | PVC foam board
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What is Foamed PVC? 

Foamed PVC, short for Polyvinyl Chloride foam, is a lightweight and versatile material known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, durability, and insulating properties. It is a type of closed-cell foam, meaning its cells are sealed off from each other, resulting in a material that is buoyant, waterproof, and resistant to moisture, chemicals, and corrosion.

PVC foam is commonly used in various applications across industries such as construction, marine, transportation, signage, and arts and crafts. Some common forms include sheets, strips, boards, and panels.

Its key characteristics include:

  • Lightweight: It is lightweight, making it easy to handle and transport.
  • High Strength: Despite its lightness, it exhibits high strength and rigidity, making it suitable for structural applications.
  • Waterproof and Buoyant: Due to its closed-cell structure, It is inherently waterproof and buoyant, making it ideal for marine applications such as boat building and flotation devices.
  • Chemical Resistance: It is resistant to a wide range of chemicals, making it suitable for use in harsh environments.
  • Thermal and Sound Insulation: It offers good thermal and sound insulation properties, making it suitable for applications requiring temperature control or noise reduction.
  • Easy to Fabricate: It can be easily cut, shaped, and molded using conventional tools and techniques, allowing for customization to specific requirements.

Overall, PVC foam is a versatile material valued for its combination of lightweight, strength, durability, and resistance to environmental factors, making it a popular choice in various industries for a wide range of applications.

How to cut Foamed PVC in scale modeling and craft? 

Cutting Foamed PVC can be done using various cutting tools, including a craft knife and a saw. Here's how to cut it using common hobby tools:

Craft Knife:

In modeling the most common thicknesses are less than 5 mm, so you will be able to cut practically everything with this tool.

  1. Begin by measuring and marking the desired cutting line on the Foamed PVC using a ruler and a pencil. Ensure your measurements are accurate to achieve precise cuts.
  2. Place the foam board on a flat and stable surface, such as a workbench or table.
  3. Using a sharp craft knife (preferably one with a retractable blade), carefully score along the marked cutting line. Apply firm and consistent pressure to ensure a clean cut.
  4. Repeat the scoring process multiple times, gradually cutting deeper into the foam board with each pass. It may take several passes to cut through the entire thickness of the board.
  5. Once the foam board is scored deeply enough, gently bend it along the scored line to break it along the cut. Be careful to apply even pressure to avoid uneven or jagged edges.
  6. If necessary, use sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or imperfections left.

Hobby Saw:

For thicker PVC foam boards or when more precision is required, using a hobby saw is preferable. 

In general, this material is very easy to cut with any cutting tool, but if the piece you want to cut is too thick you may need some additional help. 

  1. Clamp the material securely to a workbench or sawhorse to prevent movement during the process.
  2. Choose a fine-toothed saw suitable for cutting plastic materials. A jigsaw, a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade, or a handsaw with fine teeth can be used.
  3. Position the saw blade along the marked cutting line, ensuring it is perpendicular to the surface of the material.
  4. Turn on the saw and slowly guide it along the cutting line, applying gentle and steady pressure. Let the saw do the work and avoid forcing it through the material to prevent melting or chipping.
  5. Continue until you have completed the desired cuts.
  6. After you have finished, remove any burrs or rough edges with sandpaper for a smooth finish.

How to paint foamed PVC?

When painting foamed PVC, it's important to select appropriate materials to ensure a successful and long-lasting finish. Acrylic paints are highly recommended for this task due to their versatility, quick drying time, and strong adhesion.

Acrylic paints come in a wide range of colors, finishes, and viscosities, allowing you to achieve virtually any desired effect. Whether you're aiming for solid colors, gradients, or intricate details, acrylic paints offer the flexibility to fulfill your artistic vision.

When painting this material, it's essential to use a primer, any primer formulated for miniature painting, such as those used for painting models and figurines, is compatible. Applying a primer ensures better adhesion of the paint and enhances the durability of the finish.

After priming, you can begin painting with acrylics. Use brushes or airbrush to apply thin, even coats of paint to the primed surface. Acrylic paints can be mixed and layered to achieve various colors and effects, allowing you to unleash your creativity.

Once you've completed your painting, consider sealing the surface with a clear acrylic sealer or varnish. This step helps protect the paint from damage due to handling, moisture, or UV exposure, ensuring that your artwork remains vibrant and intact over time.

Dangers of working PVC foam in scale modeling and craft?

While PVC foam boards are widely used in scale modeling and crafting due to their versatility and ease of use, it's essential to be aware of potential dangers associated with working with this material, these are the most important to take into account:

  • Dust Inhalation: Cutting, sanding, or shaping it can generate fine dust particles, which, when inhaled, may pose respiratory health risks. Prolonged exposure to PVC dust may cause irritation to the respiratory tract, exacerbate existing respiratory conditions, or lead to long-term health issues.
  • Toxic Fumes: When this material is heated or subjected to high temperatures, it may release toxic fumes containing chlorine gas and other harmful chemicals. These fumes can be hazardous if inhaled and may cause respiratory irritation, dizziness, headaches, or nausea.

How to glue PVC foam?

When it comes to gluing PVC foam, selecting the right type of glue is crucial for achieving a strong and durable bond. This material is a type of plastic, and not all adhesives are compatible with it. Here's a breakdown of types of glue that are compatible and not compatible:

Compatible Glues:

  1. Solvent-based adhesives, such as cyanoacrylate glue (commonly known as super glue) and PVC cement, are generally compatible. These adhesives work by chemically melting the surface creating a strong bond as they cure.
  2. Epoxy Adhesives are suitable for this type of bonding. Epoxy adhesives consist of two components that must be mixed before application. They provide a strong, durable bond and are resistant to moisture and temperature variations.
  3. Contact Cement is another type of adhesive that can be used to bond it. This adhesive is applied to both surfaces to be bonded, allowed to dry until tacky, and then pressed together to form a bond. Contact cement creates a strong, flexible bond and is suitable for a wide range of materials.
  4. Water-based adhesives, such as white glue or PVA glue, are generally compatible. They work but the fixation is not strong. Within this typology, the one that works best is the Tuft Glue offered by Green Stuff World.

Not Compatible Glues:

  1. Hot Glue, or hot melt adhesives, may not provide a strong bond. The high temperature required for hot glue application can melt or deform the material, resulting in a bond that is not as durable as desired.
  2. Rubber-based adhesives, such as rubber cement, may not be suitable. These adhesives are typically designed for use with paper, cardboard, or fabric and may not provide a strong bond with plastic materials.