Unlock Foam Core’s Inner Secret: FoamBoard model making: modeling tips and tricks for Designers

Unlock Foam Core’s Inner Secret: FoamBoard model making: modeling tips and tricks for Designers

what if you could get your foam core
models to have compound surfaces like this well I’m gonna share with you my
material and technique for quickly and easily making awesome foam core models
like this I was checking out my sponsors website PCB way and they have this
open-source shared section where they have all kinds of different projects if
one of your projects gets picked up you can get a 10% commission on all the
parts and everything everything from this cool Nixie clock to stereo audio
amps water level meters and all kinds of other electronic projects I think you
might like it check it out link below my name is Eric Strebel I’m an industrial
designer welcome to my channel about product design and making I hope that
you like and joy and become a subscriber so for the purposes of this video with
demonstration purposes I’m gonna do a couple little sketches I would do that
before I built a model there’ll probably be several other design phases in front
of this where we would design what the product looks like so this is super
super condensed I’m basically sketching out a little orthographic view of this
little speaker and it’s just to get me the right scale and understand my
construction it’s super important that you have a plan when you put something
like this together when you’re building a model doesn’t matter to build a house
you build it a model bill in a car or whatever you gotta have some sort of
plan but how things go together so this sketch that you’re watching me sketch up
here is drawn to scale so I can always come back and measure it it’s full on a
side view there’s no perspective and all I want to do is I want to understand
how the inner workings of this model is going to be constructed so that I can
have a plan to build it correctly I got the outside sketched in the form that I
want and I just sketched in and I’m putting in the structural layers right
now the different floors those gonna be foam core and there’s gonna be a series
of braces that hold all those layers together this is a round little object
and this helps me understand what I’m gonna build
I could build this model by hand using a circle cutter or my hand with a compass
but the accuracy is not as good or as fast as using a laser or so for this
project I’m gonna use the laser because I have one but you could certainly do
all of this stuff by hand one of the great things about this project is you
could build this without any equipment and it’s all
with foam core and readily accessible materials so the laser of course is
fantastic for cutting out circles and that is what it’s doing right now it’s
cutting out those four columns and then there’s a little indicator so that I can
line up everything on top of each other when we put it together you’ll see how
it all comes together here very soon in the original sketch I thought that I was
gonna use some quarter-inch dowels but I think some half-inch foam core is going
to be easiest and quickest I can just cut that with an exacto blade and put
everything together I’m gonna use a little bit of hot glue now normally I
don’t like hot glue if you’ve seen any of my videos in the past I rather just
test the stuff because of the fact that it pulls strings and it’s messy but in
this case it’s an internal component you’re not gonna see these things so it
doesn’t much matter and it is quick there are some benefits of course to
using hot glue we’re gonna line up all the floors the little disks here on top
of each other that’s why they all have that registration hexagon in them so
that they all can all get lined up correctly and I’m setting them to the
heights from my sketch based on the distance that I chose and the
proportions that I want and again that’s the beauty of this system is I can move
these rings up and down and adjust on the fly if I need to
we’re gonna use a little bit of hot glue to hold the floors in place and that is
gonna work out fantastic now I think that I’m gonna use some cardboard on the
top and the foam core wouldn’t work for those fine little rings and I cut out
some stuff on the laser and then I hot glue that little contraption into place
now we need something to skin the outside of the model with so let’s take
a look at a piece of foam core right it has paper on both sides and this is what
gives the foam core it’s amazing strength its composite construction of
the paper on the outside with the foam on the inside let’s remove this paper
and reveal the core or the foam and we can do this with some hot or warm water
and letting the foam core soak so that we can easily remove this paper to
reveal the inner layer inside the foam core all right once we have this paper
removed this is gonna reveal the inner core of the foam core and we are looking
for a nice flexible material to wrap around the outside let’s see if the foam
core is gonna be flexible enough not quite flexible enough so we need
something else that is foam we’re gonna use this craft foam it’s an Eevee a foam
it comes in tons of different colors and different thicknesses these are three
material millimeter thick sheets this is six millimeter you can buy this at craft
stores all across the country this foam is gonna be flexible enough for us to
skin our object so very cheap just like foam core very versatile and absolutely
fantastic for a project like this again it’s something you can cut out without
any equipment you could cut it with a laser but you can certainly cut it here
with an exacto and I’m gonna do that so I roll it around my form to get the
right size you could measure it if you wanted laying it out like this is
easiest for me but cut it with the exacto we’re gonna place some tape on
the ends because we need to roll this into a tube so we can skin the outside
of our structure we’re gonna use some contact cement now you will see a lot of
other people on YouTube that use this kind of craft foam they use maybe like a
barge cements also contact cements a little bit more hardcore I don’t have
any of that but this is gonna work fine we’re gonna take off those pieces of
tape after about 15 minutes and we are gonna bought joint the foam to itself
and then we’re gonna slide it right onto the structure that we made earlier so
that we can skin this and get the nice soft organic forms that we want in this
piece so we are gonna need to anchor the foam onto the bottom of the model when
you use some sort of a glue that’s not going to eat away the foam from the foam
core and I’m using this gorilla glue it doesn’t attack the foam and attaches
onto the craft foam very very nice so by gently squeezing it on there I can get
that now you saw that original cardboard ring that I put on the top that’s not
going to work that I see the Eevee a foam wrapped
around the outside of the structure and I’m gonna cut a couple of foam core
rings I’m gonna radius one of the foam core rings on the top to give me the
radius that I want so I can roll the foam let’s remove those cardboard pieces
that we put on originally and we’re gonna drop in a couple of rings it’s
tight and that’s what we want we want a good fit and we’ll use a little bit of
white glue to glue in these foam core rings we’ll set them in place and then
that’s gonna allow us to roll and have a really nice radius on the top and this
is the one with the radius that I sanded in with the little sanding stick
remember when you’re sanding always always you’re using the sanding block or
some sort of a sanding tool we’re gonna heat up the Eevee a foam with a heat gun
and this is gonna soften it and it’s gonna allow us to manipulate the foam a
little bit better I make a little foam core disc and drop it in there to hold
it in place we’re going to use a black one for the final one that’s a little
bit bigger we want a little bit of a mesh or a grill on the top of our
speaker and have an old speaker grille here that I’m cutting up and I place
some blue tape down and I laser that to give me a nice round circle again just a
great way to do circles on the laser you certainly could use a compass or some
sort of a circle template I use a pair of tin snips to cut the metal right
close to the pattern of the blue tape and then we’ll take this over to the
sander and we’ll sand it nice and smooth so we can get it round and really clean
for our model so that it looks good always using the blue tape as our guide
to get this thing nice and round to the shape that we want now we need to add the soft soft little
concave shape at the bottom of the speaker and we can we use the heat gum
we heat up the EBA foam and we have it glued on the bottom and of course it’s
held in place at the top so we need to stretch this Evie a foam so that we have
a little bit of a nice concave shape in the bottom of our speaker that matches
the sketch so we can build this model to the way that we designed it this is not
something that you could normally do with a piece of foam core but this craft
foam works fantastic I’m gonna go so far as to prime it and I’m using some
regular rattle-can primer here dupli-color do not use rust-oleum to not
use krylon use a good quality primer so that you do not mess up your model you
put a lot of work to get this far use good quality stuff I am spraying
down very very little light passes on to my model these are light coats of primer
I started out with gray and I’m coming back with a second coat of white primer
to get the model back into white so that I can spray my final coat which is gonna
be this silver color notice very light little coats all the way around and I do
multiple coats and each time nice little coats not spraying
holding the button constantly very light light you want to build up those layers
of paint so you don’t get any runs or drips you spent a lot of time making
this model you do not want to screw it up let’s put a little bit of a dark
hotrod gray on the grill mesh for the speaker we’re gonna back the speaker
with a little bit of blue painters tape so we get a little blue showing through
I line up the seam of the painters tape along the seam of one of the rows where
the holes are so you can’t actually see the seam of the blue painters tape this
gives a nice little effect of that blue coming through the grille mesh we want
to also attach a little loop so that you could put this onto a carabiner and hang
it from a tree or something like that should you need to do that let’s do the
final assembly here a little hot glue holds that loop in place and then we’re
gonna place our grill mesh on top of that to simulate the speaker I’m going
to put a little weight on top of this while the hot glue cools down and bonds
everything together so the secret inside of your foam core is the foam that’s
what allows you to make a model that’s organic with compound curves like this
little speaker using foam core and craft foam be sure to leave a comment below to
let me know if this technique will help you with your projects I think it’s a
fantastic alternative to using that yellow urethane foam I can’t stand that
stuff it’s terrible it gets everywhere it’s nasty this is cheap and easy it’s
very corporate friendly and you can use it right at your desk let me know good
luck and hey don’t forget to leave me a thumbs up if you liked the video or rock
on click here to check out some of the other design and making videos that I
have that you might enjoy

11 thoughts on “Unlock Foam Core’s Inner Secret: FoamBoard model making: modeling tips and tricks for Designers

  1. Honestly, I hand made models once … now I'm always 3D-printing.
    Off course that puts some limits on my creative thinking, which not necessarily is a bad thing.
    I love how 3D lets me play a lot, before committing.
    Anyway, I should do more compound stuff.

  2. How may different glues can Eric feature in one video? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sure seems like hot glue was your go to choice in this one. Perhaps your views on it are softening?

  3. Thanks Eric,

    I'm an engineer.. and think like one. These videos are great – they've shown me a glimpse of another way to think and share ideas with my customers.

  4. Nice construction method with the eva foam lofting over a solid base, but man that seam and the foam pores are distracting. Maybe smooth it all out with some caulking and/or wood glue before paint?

  5. Hey Eric, really great video! Watching you soak the foamcore to remove the paper made me want to share a tip with you. If you are in North America you can buy a brand of foamcore called Readi-Borad by RL Adams. Itโ€™s designed to have easy peal paper. Comes off very easy, no soaking needed. Best part is you donโ€™t need to order it from a specialty supplier. Itโ€™s stocked at Dollar Tree for $1 a sheet. Super convenient, I use it all the time

    Maybe you are already familiar with this, if so Iโ€™d love to hear your thoughts on why you donโ€™t utilize it.


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