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Building strucutres with faom core board

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  • Member since
    July, 2007
  • 12 posts
Posted by dsnyder44 on Friday, March 27, 2009 1:07 PM

Guys... Foamcore and Gator board are the same family of products. There is another product that has plastic coating but is less ridgid than either of the others. Soft to the touch.

For a great source of material, look for a sign supply company and ask if they have any seconds. I bought a 4'x8' sheet of the double black Gator board for about $35 at MidWest Printing. (They have a number of locations - including Denver. That is a whole lot cheaper than the various hobby outlets. I am going to lay my whole yard on it and cut out sections for my buildings. I can then mount my buildings on the bench and put them right back into the cut out section. If there is not a supply company locally then make friends with sign shops and they can either order it for you or give/sell you scraps of that and another useful product, Sintra. Sintra is solid plastic product that makes good bases for your smaller buildings.

You can get better utility out of foam core for a base if you spray it with a flat paint before mounting it. This protects it from the water in the scenery materials. I love the tan Krylon Camoflage Ultra Flats as it is very close to a lot of Colorado ground colors and missed scenery applications are not as noticable.

  • Member since
    September, 2002
  • 155 posts
Posted by KemacPrr on Friday, March 27, 2009 3:44 PM

i've been using gatorfoam for about 14 years. Bought a case of 3/16'' kraft color at American cardboard in Philadelphia  Pa. way back when for about $15 a sheet  Case was 15 sheets and ove the years I have used all but one half of one sheet. I've used it for large steel mill structures, some girder bridge cores and as a base for a medium size town. Best glue to use is hot glue. It will take paint fine as long as you don't use a solvent based paint that will contact the foam interior. I have tried foamcore but it is more likely to warp than gatorfoam. ---------  Ken McCorry

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: US
  • 28 posts
Posted by spe3376 on Thursday, April 09, 2009 11:52 AM

maxman
My opinion is that the foam board is just too flimsy.  I would not even use it for a structure base.

In my Solid Mechanics Laboratory class when I was in college, we had a project where we had to design a beam using nothing more than 1/4" foam core board and Elmer's white glue.  The beams were then rigged with strain gages and subject to an increasing compressive load at the center, while being simply supported at both ends.  Most of these beams withstood anywhere between 50 - 200 lbs before failing by breaking apart. 

 

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 6,562 posts
Posted by maxman on Thursday, April 09, 2009 12:49 PM

spe3376

maxman
My opinion is that the foam board is just too flimsy.  I would not even use it for a structure base.

In my Solid Mechanics Laboratory class when I was in college, we had a project where we had to design a beam using nothing more than 1/4" foam core board and Elmer's white glue.  The beams were then rigged with strain gages and subject to an increasing compressive load at the center, while being simply supported at both ends.  Most of these beams withstood anywhere between 50 - 200 lbs before failing by breaking apart. 

My comment concerning "flimsy" did not necessarily have anything to do with the structural strength.  Certainly anything that is adequately braced will be "strong", to a certain degree.  What I was referring to was the surface of the two products.  The surface of the foamcore is some sort of paper.  If you try to cut it with wood working tools the surface is likely to tear.  On the other hand, I have run gator board through my bandsaw to cut it to width and there was no surface tearing.  In addition, if you press down on the surface of the foamcore with your thumb, you're likely to leave a depression.  This is less likely with the gator board.  To me, there is more rigidity to the gator board.  If you grab the end of a length of  gator board and wave it around, it will flex a lot less than a similar length of foamcore.  I think that this would be important in the making of structure walls.  Finally, the gator board is water resistant.  I believe that some have used it for large scale outdoor railroad structures (the seams do have to be sealed).  The foamcore is not.  Yes, the average HO structure builder is not going to make an outdoor structure.  But basements are not necessarily the most dry of environments.  Plus overhead pipe leaks are not uncommon...it happened to me.

My modeling time is limited.  So if I'm going to spend a lot of effort to scratchbuild a large structure it behooves me to use the best material I can afford for that particular application.  For the couple of dollars extra the gator board costs, I'd rather use that than the foam core.  If someone wants to use the cheaper product and then spend a lot of time bracing it, or worrying about the effects of humidity, that's their call. 

  • Member since
    February, 2009
  • 1,393 posts
Posted by railandsail on Friday, January 11, 2019 8:27 AM

dsnyder44

Guys... Foamcore and Gator board are the same family of products. There is another product that has plastic coating but is less ridgid than either of the others. Soft to the touch.

For a great source of material, look for a sign supply company and ask if they have any seconds. I bought a 4'x8' sheet of the double black Gator board for about $35 at MidWest Printing. (They have a number of locations - including Denver. That is a whole lot cheaper than the various hobby outlets. I am going to lay my whole yard on it and cut out sections for my buildings. I can then mount my buildings on the bench and put them right back into the cut out section. If there is not a supply company locally then make friends with sign shops and they can either order it for you or give/sell you scraps of that and another useful product, Sintra. Sintra is solid plastic product that makes good bases for your smaller buildings.

You can get better utility out of foam core for a base if you spray it with a flat paint before mounting it. This protects it from the water in the scenery materials. I love the tan Krylon Camoflage Ultra Flats as it is very close to a lot of Colorado ground colors and missed scenery applications are not as noticable.

 

I know this is an older subject thread, but I thought I would give it a try.
Did you ever post any more on this subject of 'bases' for your structures,....and/or photos ??

I'm looking into this idea now,...to make some of my structures 'removable' for various reasons.

  • Member since
    February, 2009
  • 1,393 posts
Posted by railandsail on Friday, January 11, 2019 8:31 AM

KemacPrr

i've been using gatorfoam for about 14 years. Bought a case of 3/16'' kraft color at American cardboard in Philadelphia  Pa. way back when for about $15 a sheet  Case was 15 sheets and ove the years I have used all but one half of one sheet. I've used it for large steel mill structures, some girder bridge cores and as a base for a medium size town. Best glue to use is hot glue. It will take paint fine as long as you don't use a solvent based paint that will contact the foam interior. I have tried foamcore but it is more likely to warp than gatorfoam. ---------  Ken McCorry

 

I have a couple of steel mill structures I'd like to consider mounting as well.

Any photos of yours??

  • Member since
    September, 2002
  • 155 posts
Posted by KemacPrr on Friday, January 11, 2019 3:03 PM

If you go to You Tube type in my name or Bill Fagan the photographer and some video's of my Buffalo Line will show up. You can see a number of my steel mill structures in the video. The largest is a rolling mill thats eight feet long. I sheathe the gatorfoam with .040 styrene scribed to look like steel siding. I've been using adhesive caulk recently to attach the styrene. I used to use a water based contact cement but have found that it starts to fail after 10 years or so. The Gatorfoam I used was the 3/16'' kraft colored version. I have some building over 20 years old with no issues. I've also built retaining walls and bridge abutments using Gatorfoam. --  Ken McCorry

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