Blue foam or foam blues?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by sd80mac, Jul 9, 2002.

  1. sd80mac

    sd80mac New Member

    We are all familiar with the 2" blue foam we curently use in layout construction. It is very dense and very sturdy and makes for pretty solid and lightweight benchwork. My question is what wrong with using the 2" white "beadboard" foam?

    Aside from the obvious (less density and somewhat harder to shape), given proper support, more specifically under trackwork, would not white foam work just as well as blue or pink foam?
  2. billk

    billk Active Member

    For the limited usage you described it should be OK. It's "beady" as h*ll, but you won't be forming it with a rasp or anything, right? It's also much weaker than the pink'r'blue stuff, but if it was fully supported by being on a piece of plywood, so what?
  3. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    A lot messier is the main reason I can think of .......
  4. sd80mac

    sd80mac New Member

    Hi billk,

    No, I won't be rasping it. I've heard that the beads are VERY troublesome! If anything, I'll be using a hot wire tool to do ANY foam cutting.

    Also, I agree with you that properly supporting the foam will make up the difference of the less dense material. I just wanted to know if anyone else out there in Model Railroad Land had similar concerns on this subject.
  5. alkcnw

    alkcnw Member

    The beaded foamboard gives off a toxic gas when cut with a hot wire tool, better use plenty of ventilation!. The other foam boards are not as bad!!:eek:
  6. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    This thread reminded me of an early experiment of mine gone awry. I shaped up some white styro scenary and thought I'd be efficient by quickly spray painting it an earth tone as a color base.
    It almost immediately began to disolve into itself and ended up looking like the surface of the moon!
    Don't try this at home! :)
  7. As stated earlier, the "beaded" foam board is much messier in that the beads tend to break off and also because of the static in them they cling to everything in site.

    Why not use the pink or white regular insulation foam board. It's available at most lumber warehouse companies like Home Depot and Lowes and works the same as the thicker blue foam board.

    I've purchased all three at one time or another in 1, 1.5 and 2" thicknesses. It cuts real well with a artist razor knife with little or no static flakes to mess things up.:D
  8. rguyett

    rguyett Member

    I built my whole layout with the white foam and carved all my mountains and tunnels out of it and painted them and have no trouble i use water based paints. i use the beads as small rock as i just paint them. To each his own but works for me

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  9. Matthyro

    Matthyro Will always be re-membered

    I have always used the white beaded foam and find it cuts very well if you use a really sharp knife. It's true there is some mess but easily vac'd up with a small shop vac I keep handy.
    The price is why I go for it. Much cheaper than the blue or pink.
  10. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    If cost savings is the goal, and if you have to provide more support for beady/white anyway, why not just go for thinner blue and save the money there? 2" blue is fairly expensive, but 1" or less is less than half price of 2". Just a thot.

    As far as messy beads, I would just take it out back and cut it, the beads will all blow into neighbor Bob's yard, along with my leaves.
  11. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    I used the white beaded foam as that is the only kind I could get in this area. Be sure you brace it good. Also if you lean on the edge, it will squash down.

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  12. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    1/4 plywood

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  13. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    Then the 2" beaded foam. I painted it green so I would have a base for the scenery.

    Attached Files:

  14. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    If you are planning the cookie cutter method, the beaded white foam will not work.
  15. billk

    billk Active Member

    Will any of the kinds of foam work, especially in the larger thicknesses? Seems liike they're all pretty brittle.
  16. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I built my latest HO layout with 2" beaded foam using cookie cutter construction. Just used alot of support. I'll let you know how it holds up.
    This foam is messy, I cut it with a jigsaw(what a big mess that was). Nothing the shopvac couldn't handle though. I also used a rasp for shaping and a hot wire.
    I think I will try the extruded foam next time just to see the difference for myself.
  17. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I would think about any material would work, cookie cutter or not, given proper support. If you go to the extreme ends of the spectrum (1/4 boiler plate or Saran wrap), I'm sure there will be compromises :D :D :D

    They key is the end result, considering strength, weight, availability, buildability and of course, overall cost. The properties of the material after it's in place may also be a concern.
  18. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    The density rating of foam board (not thickness) is what gives it its strength. Compare a piece of white craft foam with a piece of white insulation'll see what I mean.:)
  19. Clerk

    Clerk Active Member

    The blue or pink foam will work great. Just be careful not to force too great a curve when seperating the cuts. I have seen the cookie cutter method used on my Son in Law's layout in Oklahoma
  20. jwmurrayjr

    jwmurrayjr Member

    I can't resist touting my 1/2" blue foam on 1/2" plywood method ("Oh, sure you can", voices chime in.)

    Everything above the table top is 1/2" extruded foam (Ignore the white stuff, it was a mistake!) Four modules connected with carriage bolts.

    The cookie cutter method was used for all elevations.

    The foam can be cut cleanly with a Stanley utility knife. No mess.

    From this...

    To this (a few weeks ago)...

    It's strong a relative light.

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