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 Post subject: Foamed PVC sheet
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:51 pm
Posts: 506
Location: Bothell, WA USA
I was rummaging around in Tap Plastics yesterday (wen't looking for small glue bottles), and found something interesting in their scrap bin.

Something called "Foamed PVC". It's basically sheet goods made for sign making. It comes is various colors (not important). It starts off in 48" x 96" sheets, but TAP will cut it for you for free while you wait as long as you are just requesting square sheets.

It comes in 1/8", 1/4", and 3/8" thicknesses, and I think it might be ideal for certain templates and such. Th 1/8" is thin enough to use as a top and/or back template for an acoustic. It's thin enough and easy enough to work that you can shape it and drill or cut brace marking slots fairly easily. I've been using paperboard from the office supply store for this, but they don't hold up well.

The thicker sheets (1/4" and 3/8") can be used for router templates for light router work (it is a pvc impregnated foam, so it's probably not suitable for all day/every day production work).

This stuff is fairly rigid and holds it's shape well. It cuts easily with a bandsaw and can be sanded and shaped with any standard wood tools without dulling bits. It can also be cut with a heated knife blade for cutting brace marking slots. You can make temporary marks with a pencil (it has a slight texture to it), and a sharpie will make permanent markings as needed.

I had been considering buying some acrylic sheets to make templates from to replace my paper ones, but put it off because I hate cutting and shaping the stuff. This is stuff works MUCH easier than acrylic, and is nearly as rigid and durable.

http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/product.php?pid=342&

Picked up a couple of 18" x 24" sheets of different thicknesses yesterday to play around with (i'm lucky there is a store a few blocks from my office). I'm going to make a top and back template from 1/8" and a couple of strat and tele router templates from 3/8", and see how it holds up.

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 Post subject: Re: Foamed PVC sheet
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 1:28 pm 
Interesting. Please keep us informed.
Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: Foamed PVC sheet
PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 11:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 2:51 pm
Posts: 506
Location: Bothell, WA USA
So, at Dave's encouragement, I finally took a few minutes to cut a template out of this stuff tonight.

I have to say that it seems like it is ideal.

I'd describe it as somewhere between heavy poster board and acrylic, but much more durable than the poster board and much more user friendly than acrylic.

I cut a tracing out of 1/8" white material on my bandsaw, and it cut like butter. Not nearly as messy with the plastic cuttings as acrylic.

I still have some 1/4" sheets I want to try to make an electric guitar body pattern template out of, and see if it will hold up as a router bearing guide.

If you are thinking about buying acrylic sheet for a body or side template, you might give this stuff a try (if you dread working with acrylic as much as I do).

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 Post subject: Re: Foamed PVC sheet
PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 10:24 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2014 7:25 am
Posts: 15
I've got a large sheet of this and have tried to use it for templates and so on. It is really easy to work with but I'm not sure that it makes a template rigid enough to hold a router bit bearing - too soft. The surface is harder than the edge where you can see the foam 'pores' but even so you can deform it with you nail. It also snaps like a choco bar.


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 Post subject: Re: Foamed PVC sheet
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 8:09 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 9:42 pm
Posts: 709
Location: Hummelstown, PA
Used the stuff for lots of outdoor millwork and here are my observations. It will not stand up to router bearings if used for production templates. The dust holds quite a static charge and always wound up stuck to all the equipment. Very tough to clean up and little grains of it always turned up weeks down the road leaving scratches in, or embedded in our nicer wood projects. We used to shape it with routers and that dust would get caught in them and it would destroy routers with regularity. seemed to almost immediately take out the speed control on any VS tool we used on it. It also expands and contracts quite considerably with regards to temperature. I personally developed a real dislike for the stuff, but we were working it on a very large scale at times.

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