Some foams are, even though they look nice, entirely unsuitable for such applications due to releasing gasses which can gum up the workings of precision equipment, and cloud optics. x ~12 in. However, it's too thin to be cost effective for tool box inserts. The best settings for cutting the foam obviously depend on how many layers you are cutting through. There is one other thing you may want to consider, especially if you're cutting inserts for high precision equipment, especially with optics, and that is outgassing of the foam you use. This soft but firm foam can be easily laser cut with ZMorph VX and has many practical applications, which we’ll cover in the next section of this article. The lowest cost PE foam I found was a blue camping pad from WalMart. This material comes rolled up (like the WalMart PE camping pad). The laser easily cuts through a variety of foam thicknesses, allowing you to precisely cut inserts that fit your specific tools. Custom foam inserts are widely known to be much more durable and protective than pick and pluck foam, or a generic foam lined case. This method is practical for tools with simple outlines like 1-2-3 blocks, V-blocks, squares, and the like. The way the laser optics are designed, the beams are only perfectly focused at one z-height. Without the right tools, making those cuts and shapes can be messy, time-consuming, and a real hassle. Universal Laser Systems logo and name are registered trademarks of Universal Laser Systems, Inc. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. This method isn't as easy as it sounds because, if you are using a normal pen or pencil, it's a bit difficult to keep your pencil or pen tip at a fixed distance from the edge of a complex object while you trace it. Who desired an easy to find, easy to use source for tool foam, tool control foam, foam for toolboxes and custom cut toolbox foam. I mostly use method 2 with the drafting lead. I cut my roll across the width without thinking about it and ended up with no pieces wide enough to fill the drawers in my roll around tool box. If you do find something on Google, remember that even if it's the same material on the same laser, you need to do test cuts. Without the access to the Epilog laser at TechShop SJ, I doubt I would have made the effort to make these inserts. It came out just as flat. Whether your needs include having us create custom tool foam using a waterjet, having foam custom cut by us is no problem. When cutting foam, I tune the settings so the foam is just barely cut through on the bottom. I hope you find this as useful as I found it fun to do. See the step about the WalMart camping pad material for how I used it here. Where did you find 1/2" Plastizote for ~$4/sq.ft. Compliance with regulations. Laser Engraving of Foam The power of the laser beam can be limited so that it removes material (engraves) to a specified depth. 340 Snyder Avenue, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey 07922 Kits With Tools. As a result, I've been carrying a lot of cutting and measuring tools back and forth from home. Foam & Etch is a veteran owned small business providing the military and commercial industries with customized tool control kitting and laser identification services since incorporation in 2005. The foam is tear resistant, does not absorb liquids and is resistant to most fuels and oils. Foam is used for suitcase inserts or padding, and for seals. But if you can't achieve results you are happy with by adjusting the energy as above, you might try multiple passes where you lower the focus (raise the work) between each pass. Since the V-block clamps (the black wishbone looking thing on the top left in the picture above) were only about half the thickness of the foam, it would be hard to get them out of the box. I'll report back on how the thick foam performs in the laser in a week or so after I have a chance to play with it. If you don't mind the cosmetic defects in the surfaces, it's pretty much the same as Harbor Freight's EVA tiles, only thinner. Foams are usually made from polymers, but they can also be made from ceramics or metals. The hackerspace in St. Louis, Arch Reactor, where I am a member, has a laser cutter. Because the gas is trapped within the pockets, closed cell foams do not compress as easily as open cell foams. No rocket surgery here. This stuff also works great, it's cheap, and I'd sure rather go to Harbor Freight than WalMart! :-). 6 years ago I'm sure it has improved a lot and I need to take another look. They have 2 ft. x 2 ft. x 1/2 in. Also, since the material comes rolled up, you need to flatten it out before laser cutting it into pieces to fit the laser. FWIW I agree with you about Adobe's pricing model. You could layer up the blue PE camping pad for less than that, but saving the hassle if probably worth it. Plastazote isn't very expensive either, I paid about $40 with shipping for about 10 square foot of half inch thick foam. Toolbox foam Inserts. We don't want PVC in the laser cutter due to the hydrochloric acid vapors produced during cutting. As you can see from the pic above, trying to use the interlocked tiles resulted in an ugly seam in the middle of the drawer. Keep your leftover pieces so you can fill up the foam and use as a solid layer. An example of what co2 laser can do is tool shadowing. I've used this foam before and it cuts great in TechShop SJ's Epilog laser. Foams made of polyester (PES), polyethylene (PE) or polyurethane (PUR) are well suited for laser cutting, laser engraving and laser marking. Turns out that the 2 ft. x 2 ft. (~610mm x 610mm) size includes the interlocking features! The most common processes for foams are the following: Platform Size – Must be large enough to hold the largest sheets of foam that will be laser processed or be equipped with Class 4 capability and safety precautions for processing larger sheets.Wavelength – The 10.6 micron wavelength is the best choice for laser cutting and engraving polymer foams. If that's too much trouble, at least print out the outlines and lay the tools on top of them to check that all is well. It's a standard practice aimed at preventing tools from being left some place they shouldn't be and subsequently causing "foreign object damage." I ended up just unrolling it in the bed of my pickup truck (which happens to have black bed liner), putting some small weights on the ends, and letting it bake in the sun for a couple of hours. The whole point here is safe, long term storage. Start with an organized toolbox. Therefore foam laser material processing should always be supervised. It's way too much work to do this manually if you want to do a clean job of it. More about the craft foam in a later step. Open cell foams can be compressed easily because the air can flow freely through the pockets. (~610mm x ~1825 mm x ~13mm) for $7.97. Foam combustion is inherent to laser processing and may produce flames. EVA foam is available at Harbor Freight. If you do dig up a source for Plastazote in the US, I'd be happy to hear about it. Far from it...the order I just placed for some Kaizen foam was inspired by it! You'll be amazed at the time you save. Polyurethane is also used for foils and textiles, in particular for technical applications. This sounds easy too, but be prepared for a lot of fussing with the scan before it will convert to a usable vector outline. The double thickness material cut well on the 60W Epilog laser at 20% speed, 60% power, and 1000Hz. He saves all of his scraps and many are large enough for my needs. 5 weeks ago For foam to protect tools during transport, it needs to fit closely around them. Lately I'm doing more machining at TechShop SJ. ft. As soon as I figure out what I'm going to use it for, I'll start playing around with it and post the results. Also, so much of the interlocking feature was cut away that the pieces didn't hold together at all. Variation "down" means that the beam dispersion increases towards the bottom surface of the work and so the kerf gets wider. If you do this, it's best to convert the scan to a vector format (using LiveTrace in Adobe Illustrator or its equivalent) so you can tweak it if needed. Second, check Google to see if someone has figured this out and posted a recipe. Shadow Foam allows you to quickly and efficiently create spaces for each tool. I'm learning the GIMP to replace pshop but you need to follow some tutorials because you have to think about some aspects differently. Learn how we shadowed a wrench set for easy storage and organization in tool… Using inserts in tool boxes to protect and organize tools is called "shadowing" in the aerospace industry. I agree that for particularly delicate instruments or those that are hard to clean, it's best to err on the side of caution and get pay up for foam that does not outgas. I haven't played with it in a very long time and it was a pretty crude tool back then. The best way to check is to cut some corrugated cardboard test pieces. Too much oomph. interlocking foam tiles are $1.50 ea, so call it $1.50/ sq ft. :-). Things like the condition/age of the laser tube, how clean the optics are, etc. on Introduction. Railroad Rail Lantern / Sign Stand Split With Axe. My test cuts are simple squares about 1 in x 1 in (25mm x 25mm) so I can run a lot of tests without using up too much material. These are available as per buyer requirement at affordable prices. Organize your toolbox using durable foam inserts CNC-cut to shadow your tools. It's difficult to give much help on exactly how to develop the recipe for any given material. Features: - To find and put the tools faster. Moving up or down away from that height causes the beam to widen. If you need a complete tool kit with tools, including custom cut foam and laser etching, we can help! I'm not sure what I'll do when my present version of Illustrator, Photoshop, etc get too crunchy to continue to use. With regular, or even occasional, use both those issues shouldn't be that big of a concern though.I am based in Sweden but I was living in the US when the need for it arose, I'll look through my resources and see if I can find the places I looked for it. This Instructable is all about finding the best, least expensive foam from which to laser cut inserts to hold the tools safely in their boxes. I don't use their products anymore. (~610mm x ~610mm x ~13mm) gray EVA interlocking tiles, 4 for $10. Both grades are quick and easy to use. The material came out plenty flat enough for our purposes here. Thanks for this - your materials research was a great jump-start and saved me both time and money.I've tested the Walmart Ozark blue foam, and I find that on a through-cut the kerf becomes very wide at the bottom - is the fix for this to use less power and slower speed? Even so, keep some thin foam makes a good complement to the thicker foam (more on that later). ft. The Gedore (German) tool sets that fit in foam that is the perfect size for their cart drawers I was told were cut via laser but I don't see how a laser could cut much beyond the shape of the tool (the two colors of foam are not layered afterwards....the cut is into the blue or red layer as well) In reality they might be done via CNC router... but I don't know really. I've used it myself to line camera boxes I've made, and it works really great, and can be laser cut.I don't know about "tool box foam" as you point out, but sometimes it's well worth it to spend a few bucks extra to protect your tools instead of taking the cheap route. Can you use a Lidar image to create a template to cut tool silhouettes? Please PM or email me when you get it and let me know what it looks like, and how it may work with a razor knife, maybe a pic or 2. Sheet size: 2' x 4' (+ or - 1"). 6 years ago The Fiber laser can cut through thin sheets of foam (up to 1/8” or 3 mm). The BobsCNC E4 Router Engraver Kit is … 99 Another easy to use material. It comes in sheets 2'x4', in Black or White, or a "sandwich" of both colors. delivered? This is my first Instructable. All materials have unique characteristics that dictate how the laser beam interacts and consequently modifies the material. Laser- Cut EVA foam chainmail - lightweight faux chainmail for cosplay, larp, and costuming (20"x12") available in pre-woven and kit form CoscomArtSupplies From shop CoscomArtSupplies Be sure to take notes while you are testing. For an appropriately horrifying image, think about a big pair of ViseGrips left inside a jet engine when it's fired up. Don't forget that multiple lower power passes is sometimes better than one high power pass. Common uses for foam materials such as these include suitcase inserts or padding, and for seals. I received the 30mm Kaizen foam yesterday. Tool Organizers. Share it with us! If your knife has a dull tip, start the cut with a sharp knife. Adobe's switch to a subscription only model for their products doesn't really work for me as a casual user. It worked okay functionally. I've found two tools that make it easier to trace. The loss of the plasticizer is why your dashboard cracks. All types of foam can be processed by laser cutting, engraving, and marking. Most stuff sold as "tool box foam" is polyethylene (PE) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) and is way too expensive. For the 60W Epilog laser at TechShop SJ, I used vector mode at 20% speed, 60% power, and 1000Hz. Not counting them, the tiles are actually less than 23 in. It's about 2 ft. x 6 ft. x 1/2 in. You may already know what I'm about to describe about laser optics, so sorry if this is redundant. The laser easily cuts through a variety of foam thicknesses allowing you to precisely cut inserts that fit your specific tools. FastCap Kaizen Foam is constructed of many layers of 1/8" thick foam; Simply trace around the tool with a marker, cut out the outline, and peel off the layers as you would an orange peel until you reach the desired depth; Easily cut to size with a table saw and/or chop saw to fit your drawers or any other space; Works much like wood To cut the foam is a different story to cutting wood but also requires the right supplies for the task. on Step 3. Anybody have experience cutting foam with a lower power laser - say 20 watts? Cutting foam for organizing tools-often called "tool shadowing"-is quickly becoming a very popular laser application. Laser Cut Foam Shadow Tool Organizers Cutting foam for organizing tools - often called "tool shadowing" - is fast becoming a very popular laser application. It's also unnecessary for anyone who has access to the Epilog lasers at TechShop SJ or their equivalent. Custom cut foam inserts are a great way to keep your tool kits organised and all your expensive tools accounted for, whether its it’s a mobile pelican case for on site service kits, or drawer systems for workshop/manufacturing facilities, this is the best way to ensure all tools find their way home! Thanks! Bright, contrasting colors show what's missing at a glance. If you look at the pic above for step 4, you can see the cut on the left has a pretty wide kerf even on the top surface. is the main reason I'm a member at the TechShop. I have found a source of foam in a neighbor who operates a vehicle upholstery business. Tool Foam was created in response to feedback from customers. A quick and dirty test layout doesn't take too long and you can move the outlines around in Illustrator to fine tune everything. Did you make this project? The final check is a full size cardboard cutout. But, at this point I'm not doing anything with optics. Their website is: if you want to look it up. It doesn't say what the specific kind of foam is used for the layers in the catalog, but it looks like what you get inside of a tablet case when you buy one that uses a foam spacer where you'd put your tablet. It didn't meet my basic cheapness criteria for this project because I didn't need the thickness. The sheet is made up of 1/8' foam sheets stacked on top of each other and in thicknesses of 20, 30 or 57mm total thickness. For closed cell foams, the gas pockets are not connected. Call it $0.63/sq. The usual way to make close fitting DIY inserts around complex shapes is to trace the outline directly on to the foam with a Sharpie and cut out the recess by hand with an Xacto knife or scalpel (there are lots of YouTube videos on the subject). These materials look cool, but were pretty much a bust. Reducing the laser pulse frequency can also be a useful knob to turn but it's more fussy and can result in perforated cuts. There's a class of plasticizers called pthalates that are particularly controversial right now with respect to their health effects. The reason being is that this “instructable” tells me that something I REALLY require, is unattainable, unrealistic and never going to happen, for me. Laser-material interactions almost always create gaseous effluent and/or particles. I will definitely do some knife work as part of the experiments so non-laser-enabled folks such as yourself can get something out of it. I was going to get some, but the supplier I went to was out, and I've been focused on other projects ahead of it, but will be excited to hear how it actually works from someone I know. Foams are made by trapping pockets of gas within a material. Inkscape is about to release version 0.91. I think it might be ideal for your application, or for someone who does not have access to a laser cutter, but can use a utility knife and peel down the layers for depth. The black foam you’re looking at is a material called EVA. Don't waste time looking for your tools. We are a hhighly acclaimed name in manufacturing and supplying Tools Foam Program. I swear I responded to your comment earlier but it's nowhere to be found. Too bad that hand tools tend to have complex shapes. was enough. I've used all three options successfully. The first is a FastCap Long Nose Pattern Marker (promo video above). Foams made of polyester (PES), polyethylene (PE), or polyurethane (PUR) are well suited for laser cutting, laser engraving, and laser marking. For the 60W Epilog laser at TechShop SJ, I used vector mode at 35% speed, 60% power, and 1000Hz. ft. You can't get this online, so you'll have to grit your teeth and go there. The 1.06 micron wavelength is the best choice of cutting, engraving, and marking metal foam. The laser easily cuts through a variety of foam thicknesses allowing you to precisely cut inserts that fit your specific tools. I haven't used it personally, but I've wanted to get some and give it a try. I didn't really think the Kaizen foam would work best for you, but more for people who are not neat one of the shops where you can use the tools, like me, who may want to do something similar using a razor knife rather than a laser cutter. I probably could have cut a little faster and that might have reduced the distortion in the narrow cut out show above. Even for larger quantities laser cutting now constitutes a real alternative to conventional processing methods such as die and knife cutters (cutting plotters). This process is easily controlled digitally. x ~1/4 in.) Thanks for the kind words and the comment. For the purpose of cutting foam, the industry has discovered the laser beam as tool more and more frequently. What may gum up tools over time, if you just store them and never use them, is the thin film of oil which probably covers most of your tools anyhow.

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