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Building strucutres with faom core board

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Building strucutres with faom core board
Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 10:55 AM

 Recently I have been experimenting with using Foam core board and Gator board for structure building. It's virtues are it's extremely strong and light weight, cuts very easy with an Exacto knife or you can purchase the various tools made for working with foam core which I recommend. I know this is nothing new as I got the idea form watching one of the Allen Keller videos and seeing it first hand on someone's layout. So far I like it because it is very easy to work with and unlike styrene or wood it doesn't need much blocking or support. I was wondering if others have used it and your thoughts pro & con.The biggest plus for me is you can build very large structures for practically nothing.

I have a couple of pictures of a backdrop warehouse that needs to be finished but you get the basic idea.

Things are still in the mock up stage so I haven't painted it or decided on weather to side or brick face the structure need to check out a few more ideas first.

 

 

 

 

 

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by maxman on Saturday, March 21, 2009 11:18 AM

I used some Gator board to make a structure for our club layout.  We needed a tall structure that would fit around a corner (sort of "L" shaped).  Another member made some scanned copies of a Walthers warehouse.  I cut them out and glued them to the gator board.  She also made some individual copies of the pilasters (Spelling?), the vertical columns that separate brick buildings into the different panels.  I cut these out, glued them to some thicker poster board, and then glued the poster board onto the original pictures so that there was some relief texture to the wall section.

I wasn't making a contest model, so I didn't spend too much time on it, but from a couple feet away it looked acceptable and served its purpose.

You mentioned foam core.  This is a lot cheaper per square foot than the gator board, but in my opinion is an inferior product.  The gator board has some sort of wood fiber veneer, while the cheap stuff has what looks like a paper veneer.  The gator board is, in my opinion, the much better product.  If you get two equally sized pieces of the two products, I believe that you'll see that the gator board is stiffer, and the surface is firmer.  If I were spending any time at all to fabricate a structure, I'd use the better product.

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Posted by ewl01 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:03 PM

I don't intend to start an argument....

I think by inferior you may mean inadequate for the above use.  Foamcore is not an inferior product when used for approriate projects. True Gatorboard is in fact a wood and melamine veneer over foam product.  The structural integrity is what makes the difference.  Foamcore would make an acceptable base for buldings made from Gatorboard.

Just my opinion.

Eric

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Posted by maxman on Saturday, March 21, 2009 2:59 PM

ewl01

I don't intend to start an argument....

I think by inferior you may mean inadequate for the above use.  Foamcore is not an inferior product when used for approriate projects.

Well, my original post concerned the building structure application, and I'll stick with "inferior".  My opinion is that the foam board is just too flimsy.  I would not even use it for a structure base.

But this isn't a case of starting an argument or otherwise, it's just my opinion.  And that opinion would be that the only appropriate use for foam board is as a place for kindergarten teachers to pin their students artwork.

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Posted by tomkat-13 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 3:14 PM

Just some need some info:

Where to buy "Gator Board" ( Is this the name it goes by in stores?)

What size & thickness does it come in? Colors?

Approximate price?

Best way to cut ?

What types of adhesives to use?

I know I'm not the only one who is interrested. Thanks for sharing!

 

I model MKT & CB&Q in Missouri. A MUST SEE LINK: Great photographs from glassplate negatives of St Louis 1914-1917!!!! http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/kempland/glassplate.htm Boeing Employee RR Club-St Louis http://www.berrc-stl.com/
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Posted by Autobus Prime on Saturday, March 21, 2009 3:21 PM

Folks:

I'd like to try foamcore.  What I'm curious about is how people deal with the thickness...foamcore is pretty thick, isn't it?  Does the thickness tend to get in the way?

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Posted by ewl01 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 3:35 PM

As Maxman says it's intended use is by teachers, students, and jr. executives trying to impress their boss.  Like I said, it is inappropriate for structural use.  It's main use is for displaying art and projects, it is available at art, craft, and business supply stores such as Staples.  Gatorboard is available at many hobby and craft stores.  It is popular with doll house builders for it's light weight but strong structural integrity.  Micromark also sells this item. 

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 4:11 PM

 Gatorboard is just a trade name for one manufactures "board product. Gator foam is infact foam core board. As far as where one can buy it most art supply houses etc. carry  both it is manufactured by Alcan composites. It's trade name for the really hard stuff is Structa-board. Structa-board is harder to work with but is very strong actually for the purpose of modeling I feel a little over kill. Foam-cor board is compresable some what but when you glue all the pieces together geometricly it makes a very strong structure. It's actually what is used for arhitectural modeling.

My only reservation at this point is how will it take paint. It does come in a variety of colors white, black, blue, yellow, red and I beleive tan. I picked up a few sheeets in AC Moore and Micheals crafts.You can glue it together with rubber cement or Walther gue pretty much the same thing I think or use a hot glue gun which is a lot faster and it works very well.

At this point I intent to skin or cover the ouside with either styrene or possible bass wood or something similar, but hey for the cost and time involved I'll give the air brush a shot and see how it comes out. As mentioned for the use of a backdrop structure or a strucutre that is towards the back of your layout or even just somethign to cover a peer or post or something obsure like that So far it seems like a decent material to work with. I'm curious as to what some think may be a better choice other then Gator-board etc.

 Thanks

http://www.alcancompositesusa.com/prod_fome-cor_board.html
Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by Doug T on Saturday, March 21, 2009 4:20 PM

I an experimenting with foam core on several buildings right now. The buildings are nothing elaborate.

One will be a warehouse type building, about 30 inches long by 17 1/2 inches wide and 10 inches tall. There will be an office attached to the one end. There will be 2 rail car doors and 4 truck dock doors.

The other building is a 4 stall engine house, measues 24 inches deep, 22 inches wide and 8 inches tall.

Both buildings will use a plastic corrugated product (used for signs) for the flat roofs. They will both have pilasters columns for support.

Instead of paint, I am using brick paper to cover the sides of the buildings. The warehouse has consumed 13 1/2 sheets of brick paper (copy paper).

There is a company called Evans Design that offers software packages that include various types of siding (brick, stone,wood, metal), roofing material, including all types of doors and windows. They have been at some of the larger train shows. I am not affiliated in any way with this company. If you go to their website they offer a free building for you to try. I built that building using illustration board and covered it with the printed materials that I printed onto regular copy paper.

My buildings are O scale. 

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Posted by caldreamer on Saturday, March 21, 2009 4:28 PM

The basic oxygen furnace building (BOF) 16 X 9 X12, in my steel mill has foam core walls with .Evergreen .040 sheet metal siding glued on.  It is shaped after the BOF at the US Steel Edgar Thompson works near Pittsburgh, Pa.  It is the blue building behind the mill in the foreground.  I chose it because of its odd shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by C&O Fan on Saturday, March 21, 2009 5:55 PM

I've used it as a mock up structure with CAD generated drawings of the real building

glued to the sides as with this mock up of the C&O station at Prince WVA

But i much prefer to use wood or plastic for a finished building

TerryinTexas

See my Web Site Here

http://conewriversubdivision.yolasite.com/

 

 

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Posted by camaro on Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:16 PM

I used Foam core for the scratch built power plant below. The support structure within the powerplanthad to be reinforce with thick plastic strips to straighten out the foamcore.  The unfortunate aspect with Foam core is its ability to warp.  Gatorboard is much better suited to scratch building since it is plastic impregnated cardboard. The plastic basically seals the cardboard making it more moisture resistant.  As a result, it is slightly more expensive but less prone to warping.   I have found both Gatorboard and foamboard at stores that sell artist supplies (with the exception of our local Michel's).  Dick Blick sells both and are fair on their pricing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by modelmaker51 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 6:44 PM

Foam core is definitely not an inferior product The results you get from any product depends on how you use it. Yeah,sure foam core is flimsier than gator board, but that just means you need to brace it more. For the cost difference I'll use foamcore most of the time. And it does take paint very well. You do have to putty and sand the edges, but you have to do that with gator board as well. I've been using foam core for years for many different uses, including buildings. As someone else said, archetects use it almost exclusively for achetechtural models, do think if it was so inferior they would continue to use it to show their clients?

My new engine house based on the Saratoga Springs building, (and not yet finished), has outer wings made of foamcore with the center  section made of two pikestuff engine terminals:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jay 

C-415 Build: https://imageshack.com/a/tShC/1 

Other builds: https://imageshack.com/my/albums 

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Posted by stebbycentral on Saturday, March 21, 2009 7:24 PM

The only issue I have with foamcore is that it is thick, which may make it unacceptable with applications where you need true wall thickness.  In O-scale, 1/4" foam core is a wall a foot thick.

Here is a recent project of mine. The shell is made from 1/4" foamcore, assembled with a silicon based craft glue and pinned at the corners with ribbed panneling nails. The "floor" helps keep it square and true. 

The veneer siding was attached with regular contact cement.


I built the window bay out of model airplane plywood for a thinner profile.

Here it is with doors, windows and interior partitions added.

And here it is finished.

 

I have figured out what is wrong with my brain!  On the left side nothing works right, and on the right side there is nothing left!

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Posted by simon1966 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 8:11 PM

 

I like to use foamcore to quickly build the substructure of something. It is then easy to laminate on whatever siding you want to get the completed project.

 

Here is something I posted a few weeks ago.

Simon Modelling CB&Q and Wabash See my slowly evolving layout on my picturetrail site http://www.picturetrail.com/simontrains and our videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrCrispybake?feature=mhum

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Saturday, March 21, 2009 10:13 PM

 Camaro and Modelmaker those are some awesome structures as well as some of the other examples shown. Thanks for the replies and your opinions. As I mentioned it's obviously nothing new  as a whole lot of peopel are using it and have been for quite some time I guess.

I always enjoy trying new  methods of doing something and hearing what others have to say. Hey that how you teach an old dog new tricks right.

 

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by steinjr on Sunday, March 22, 2009 9:42 AM

 In this thread there are some nice buildings with foamcore walls for strength, and a thin veneer of styrene for looks: http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/p/140225/1562764.aspx - it also contains a link to Ken Spranza's online clinic on foamcore/veneer building.

 Smile,
 Stein

 

 

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Posted by camaro on Sunday, March 22, 2009 9:44 AM

I used Walthers brick sheets on my power plant.  I think it would even be easier on a structure that wasn't as tall.  I was using nearly a sheet and a half to cover the front facing.  I completely covered the building after the windows were cut into the foamcore and then went back and cut out the brick sheets covering the window openings.

For a backdrop warehouse front, I think foamcore or gatorboard would work well especially if you don't have a ton of small windows to cut in.  For the power plant I made a template and cut each one out after outling on the foam core.    I have had considerable sucess with my warehouses with painting them with a rattle can textured paint (Home Depot) and then airbrushing them with whatever color.  Since I am now modeling the warehouse districts around Miami, FL, most are white or tan and smooth sided.  After seeing your warehouse fronts, I am going to reinvestigate using foamcore for some of my structures.  Everything pictured below has been made with .040 sheet plastic.  I find this easier for cutting in smaller windows.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, March 22, 2009 10:04 AM

steinjr
it also contains a link to Ken Spranza's online clinic on foamcore/veneer building.

Stein:

Thanks for posting that link.  The following link will take anyone interested directly to the Spranza clinic: http://www.horailroad.com/clinic2/cl2_034.htm

There is a lot of interesting information there, including how he uses plastic milk bottle material for translucent windows.  I noticed that he seems to have a preference for the type of base material he uses, which he calls black on black foam core.

Regards

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Posted by camaro on Sunday, March 22, 2009 10:44 AM

Very good clinic.  Check out Lance Mindheim's "Voodoo & Palmettos" Florida layout.  Lance incorporates several cutting edge media to enhance his "Down Town Spur" section including photographic structural details and anchoring concrete for making loading docks.

 

www.lancemindheim.com

 

Larry

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Sunday, March 22, 2009 11:34 AM

 Ok I'm going to toss out anohter question regarding foam core. That clinic definetly reinforced my belief in using foam core and it's strength virtues. Do you think it may be advisable to use it on a kit structure? I have the Walthers Tannnery complex kit slated to go n my new layout. It's not the largest of structures but some are decent sized building. The over all strengh of a finished Walthers kit has always been somethin gthat has bothered me. I can't build one withoutblocking all the inside corners and putting a variety of braces inside. So at the very least I am contimplating using foam core for the bracing but what about building a sub strcuture with in reason for the entire building?

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by camaro on Sunday, March 22, 2009 2:08 PM

I think I would build it first and then check for the necessity for bracing and strength.  Windows and so forth are already cut into the Walthers structure.  You are going to have to work around what is already in place.  Just my two cents.

 

Larry

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Posted by loathar on Sunday, March 22, 2009 2:24 PM

I had never thought about buying any of this stuff. I went to where my brother works and they had skids of it sitting around. 2'x6'x 1/8" sheets. I got about 10 sheets for free and I think it's great!
This is the plastic impregnated stuff. I used it to  make a new floor for my Atlas round house and I was really happy with the results. No warping problems at all. After seeing what the rest of you are doing, I'll have to try some back ground buildings with it.

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Posted by Allegheny2-6-6-6 on Sunday, March 22, 2009 2:27 PM

 You have a good point foam core has it's limits or necessity so to speak I guess when comparing kits to kit bashing or scratch building. It's a question of weather it's really worth doing or is it over kill..

Just my 2 cents worth, I spent the rest on trains. If you choked a Smurf what color would he turn?
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Posted by Autobus Prime on Monday, March 23, 2009 1:11 AM

Folks:

I just wanted to say that there's some fantastic modelwork popping up in this thread!

 Currently president of: a slowly upgrading trainset fleet o'doom.
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Posted by camaro on Monday, March 23, 2009 12:25 PM

I copied a few photos of the various types of board that are available from Dick Blick.  I haven't included the various colored Foam Core types.  Stratocore would be typical of election sigh material.

www.dickblick.com

 

 

 Foam Core

 Gator Board

 

 

 Strato Core

 

 

Stratocore Corrugated Plastic

 

 

 

 

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Posted by 3cflvi on Tuesday, March 24, 2009 4:17 PM

I agree. I been looking for some alternate ways to build a structure and this all gives me a lot to use.

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Posted by DavidGSmith on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 8:48 AM

 I have used what I think is foam core for mock ups. It seem to dent if I get careless. Gator board sounds stronger. Does anyone know where to get it in Canada and what its called up here?

Dave

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Posted by camaro on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 9:54 AM

Dave,

 I would think that gatorfoam would be named the same in Canada.  I would check with business that sell artist's or architectural supplies.  We have it at a local wall paper and paint store that sells artist's oil paints, canvasses and brushes and they have it there.  You might try Michael's if one is close by. Anything similar to Dick Blick would have it or could order it.

 

www.dickblick.com

 

 

Larry

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Posted by DavidGSmith on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:51 AM

 Thanks camaro, I will try those suggestions.

Dave

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