Saturday, November 10, 2012

material no 3 - styrofoam and styrodur

this is the third material entry.

all about styrofoam and styrodur.
I really like to work with this material, I think it is the cheaper version of expanding foam. but that may vary from project to project.
styrodur is a finer foam than the classical styrofoam, and it is mainly used for isolation of buildings. but also model maker use this material.

on this photo you can see 3 different kinds of styropor.
the one with the light blue colour is a very thick plate of styrodur, it is about 12 cm the pink one is also a styrodur plate but its thickness is only 1,8 cm. the white plate is a simple styropor plate with 0,7 cm thickness.

I don't recommend to work with styrofoam plates, it is a pain to work with it, better switch over to styrodur.

I really really like to work with styrodur. it is very light and very easy to handle. you can easily cut and carve it with a cardboard cutter, a fine saw and also sanding is no problem.

if you need thicker piece you can simply glue two thin plates/pieces together. but have in mind that strong glue like contact glue may melt the material with its solvent. so make sure you use solvent-free glue to repair broken styropor props or if you want to put two styrodur pieces together or if you apply anything.

styrodur and styrofoam are kinds of plastic, and plastic is sensitive to heat. if you make it hot it will melt. a big advantage over the wood, you save time because you simply iron it instead of sanding it. the plastic will meld and harden, so this step will also increase the stability of your project. on top you can easily create the blades without additional carving -> it saves a loooooooot of time
but when you are ironing it you have to put a baking sheet between the iron and the styrodur, otherwise you may throw away your iron and the piece you have been working on.

check this out
right piece is the basic piece. on the left side you see the ironed piece. it only took about one minute to iron it this way. and its stability is increased.

but sytrodur is dented easily, even if handled with care, it may happen that you drop something like your knive or scissors and the material will be damaged. but small dents can be corrected through ironing.
(you may need to enlarge this picture to see the dents)
but please remember: when ironing you loose material. test it out! and the vapours are surly toxic and very unhealthy , so open up your window if you are ironing styrodur!

this is the same piece ironed. all dents eliminated!

if you have a really detailed work carving might be the better alternative, because it is kind of difficult to work on small details with the baking sheet, the piece and your hot iron in your hands.
if carved, top it with papier maché or a thin layer of paper to increase its stability.
depending on the shape of your project it may be wise to increase stability trough a applied layer of foam rubber, cardboard, paper or fabric. I haven't tried the foam rubber, the cardboard and the fabric yet but I will expand this entry if I have tried it.

also you can shape and cut pretty easily with a saw, a knive or a cardboard cutter.

see this is a super-bumby piece of styrodur.
 simply cut it with the cardboard cutter.
depending on your skill the carved surface is pretty smooth.
and you can also sand it with a very fine sanding paper (400er) to make it completely smooth.
I love this material!

styrodur is pretty cheap. 
the 1,8 - 2,0 cm plates cost about 4€
the thicker plates cost more. sometimes it is difficult to get only one plate they sell them in sets of 10 or 15, depends on your building supplies store. 

painting the unironed surface will increase the amount of acrylic paint you will need to archive your wished effect. I also recommend working with a sponge if you want to paint large surfaces it will spread the colour evenly and is much faster then working with a brush.
working with spray paint is no problem if you apply thin layers of colour. remember the solvent may melt away the material.
for my katar I also used spray paint and it didn't melt :)

hope this entry helped you and thanks for reading.
have a crafty day. chackabäms!

1 comment:

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