I've been a vocal advocate for thirty pound foam for a long time. For CNC routing that isn't about to change. But occasionally we build small study models which require lots of hand work. Thirty pound Precision Board, our material of usual choice, is tough to work by hand - especially at this scale. The solution was easy. Since we are only using the foam to block our our basic shapes and then putting a layer of sculpting epoxy over the entire surface the hardness of the foam wasn't an issue. Only the time it takes to create the rough shape is important. In our last order of Precision Board I asked them to include a couple of three inch thick sheets of four pound foam. It is so soft you can almost carve it with your fingers. I've used styrofoam for this purpose in the past but it doesn't take the sculpting epoxy very well.
I am building a small study model of a sunken paddle wheeler for an upcoming project. I sketched out the shape onto the board with a felt marker and then used a hand saw to rough out the shape. It only took a few minutes to carve the complex shape out of the block, and a few minutes more to use a two part epoxy to glue the pieces together. Tomorrow I'll start adding the detailed epoxy skin. Stay tuned for a report on how the foam works in the next few days...
It is hard to believe that it was only seven years ago I witnessed a CNC router in action for the very first time. I was fascinated and simply had to have one! Although I had been in the creative end of the three dimensional sign business for most of my life I didn't really know what I would do with one - but I just knew it could do fantastic stuff.
Through extensive research I quickly found out that with the relative simplicity of EnRoute, CNC routers were capable of just about anything imaginable. This journal will chronicle that journey to date and continue each week with two or three entries as we continue to explore just what is possible with this wonderful software... -dan