Anyone Use "Foam In a Can" For Scenery??

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by Hoss, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    While laying WS foam risers for subroadbed the other day I was searching for different objects in my garage to use for weight to hold the risers down while the glue dries. One of the items I used was a new can of that insulation foam in a can that you spray into holes and what not and it expands and hardens filling the hole.

    The thought occurred to me that maybe that stuff could be used in making mountains or in other areas where maybe just some filler is needed. Anyone ever use this stuff? Would it make a suitable mountain if you used it to build the mountain and then did some carving on it??

    Seems like it would be tough and very lightweight.
  2. guppyman

    guppyman Member

    I have seen a few people that used it on their models. One guy had a great step by step picture guide of how he used it to build his mountains.... Unfortunately, I can not locate his web page.

    Great Stuff has listed as one of their "100's of uses for Great Stuff":

    Craft and hobbyists use it to simulate mountains, tunnels and volcanoes.

    It is carvable and paintable, so I will probably be using some on my layout. Hopefully I don't get as crazy with it as I did sealing my doors and windows.. (What a mess I made)
  3. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    Great Stuff is what I have at home. I have already thought of a couple of places that I can use it for building up mountains. Seems like it would be considerably easier and faster than trying to cut foam to the shape of the area you're trying to fit it in. I might have to make an experimental mountain on a sheet of plywood just to see how it comes out.
  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    The big question is how long were you trapped in the house before you were able to carve your way out :D:D:D

    I have 3 cans of great stuff I bought for the purpose. I plan to use blue foam and fill in with the expanding liquid. I believe there is a type for sale that does not expand which may be better suited, but I got this free after rebate. I'll post pics when it materializes, unless I seal myself in :D:D:D
  5. GNRail

    GNRail Member

    I have ytied to use it for some other construction projects with varing degrees of sucess.

    We tried to fill large torso sized molds with it and put to much at one time. I would try building up slowly

    :wave: FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. :wave:

    I know that is hard for most of us but this time it would have helped.

    Here they also have 2 types low and high expasion. I am not sure what the high expansion would do if you tried to build with it.

    I don't know what else you are building on but check to make sure that the "raw" foam straight out of the can doesn't eat anything.


    PS Yes I learn to many things the hard way
  6. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I wonder how it cuts with a hot knife (or wire). I hope there are not too many nasty fumes. Anyone cut it with a foam cutting/hot tool?
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I think it is probably the same stuff that is sold for the hobby as "Mountains in Minutes." It is probably polyurethane foam. Be careful with a hot wire, when burned it gives off all sorts of bad stuff if it is polyurethane.
  8. TinGoat

    TinGoat Ignorant know it all

    One lesson learned...

    A friend of mine used it on his OCMOD (On30 Conspiracy Module)

    It works great... He added it on top of the blue foamboard. It doesn't appear to have eaten any of the blue foamboard.


    Make sure that it is fully set before you try to do any extra carving.

    While it is still active and pliable it forms a skin. If you cut through the skin, the stuff will collapse a little. Kinda like baking bread or cakes. If you disturb it while it is still rising, it will go flat.

    When it is set, it carves easily with a knife like regular blue or pink foamboard.

    I figure that you could use chicken wire fencing or wire mesh to create a base, and then add the spray foam on top.

    For filler, you could try those styrofoam "Peanuts" used in packaging.

    It is really lightweight and would be great of modules and other mobile set ups.
  9. Hoss

    Hoss Member

    Well....obviously I'm not the first person to think of this. :D

    I'll have to give it a shot and see how it comes out. Of course I'll provide pictures and feedback. :)
  10. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    used the high expansion on last layout worked well got it in a 30 lb pack from mine i worked at cheep but if used in large amounts make shure of proper ventelation nasty fumes from it:)
  11. Lighthorseman

    Lighthorseman Active Member

    If I'm not mistaken, Malcolm Furlow made extensive use of this stuff in his San Juan Central HOn3 RR.
  12. krokodil

    krokodil Member

    My last layout, the Ferkel Lines RR is made from this great stuff. After the final shape I applied few layers of plaster mixed with about 50% white glue and water.
    The foam works for long time, so for my wild west scenery I have got lot of cracks etc in the surface which enhanced dramatically the overall view.

    More pictures are here:


  13. krokodil

    krokodil Member

    The attached picture is missing:

    Attached Files:

  14. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I saw someone at a train show (a year or more ago) using the foam and rubber moulds. I think he was wrapping the moulds in a circle and squirting the foam in. He was also trying to sell some of the results.
    I think the moulds needed a shot of something to keep it from sticking (cooking spray?)
  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Bragdon engineering from the San Fran. bay area uses something similar for what he calls "geodisic (spelling?) scenery. He uses the two part foam and catalyst mix on window screen. It uses a minimum of foam and creates a strong flexible scenery base. For rock molds he rubs vaseline into the mold so it seems to completely disappear, then shoots white laquer paint on the mold before he pours. The vaseline/paint mix makes a mold release.
  16. GNRail

    GNRail Member

    One other thing that came to mind. Make sure you cover the spray foam well. Alot of them break down in Ultraviolet light.

  17. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    I made a rather large one over a year ago. It's made of low expansion foam on a wire and tape core. I'll list the pluses and minuses. PLUS, very light and easy to put trees into and to carve with a knife. MINUS, rather expensive as four cans went into a 3 foot tall by 3 foot around mountain. Hard to control and work with. Very sticky when sprayed, fingers were nasty for a week. Easy to cover uncut parts with paint, but cut areas soak up paint worse than anything I seen, took almost 2 gallons of latex housepaint to get it covered. Worse thing is it's disappearing slowly. Notice yellow patches in picture that were once covered with paint but are now flaking off. Let's put it this way, the last mountain I just built I used papertowel hardshell on a wire and tape frame. DASH10

    Attached Files:

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