Trains.com

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Ye Ol' Ball Point Pen Foam Trick

3758 views
36 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Ye Ol' Ball Point Pen Foam Trick
Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, February 23, 2020 7:32 PM

It's fun, It's cheap, and it doesn't take much time.

A duplication of an N scale portal converted to Ho would be good.  1.839 times the size gets us there.

Why HO?  Bigger joints to try out Ed's drywall compound for the mortar joint trickYes

A jigsaw at this point would be the best bet but the trucks to far away, a drill works as a router.

A plunge cut with the razor saw,  the truck seems like a walk to Alaska.

Yuck,  are you kidding?

Don't matter, no matter, a little sandpaper will be alright.

Fast & Final or alike is foams best friend.

Way more than this was done today but it takes so long to post from a phone.  Catch up with you guys laterSmile, Wink & Grin

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,623 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, February 23, 2020 9:21 PM

Interesting project TF!

I'll definitely be following along.

I'm curious to know why you used a razor saw instead of a smooth blade like an extendable utility knife.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, February 23, 2020 9:39 PM

Respectfully Dave,  little by little, a thin slice at a time you can get through that stuff with a blade but foam is tough.  Too much retention to cut all the way through it with a blade.

No matter what you cut foam with,  once it starts clustering up on a sharp object, it starts shredding for a nasty unclean cut.  That even happens with a razor saw.

A fine blade jigsaw has always been the best tool.  Heard a hot wire works well  but don't like the fumes and if you pause with a hot wire it just keeps melting the foam unlike if you stop with a jigsaw.

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:25 PM

About 15 minutes of time into this one but the jagged lines on the Sailor course looks good in N scale but not HO.

 

It was a barn burner, ... threw this one away and finished a new one.

 

 

TF

 

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,253 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:26 PM

I agree with TF, a fine blade saw works best.  Than sand for a finish.  Even if you used a knive of some type, you'll still need to sand to the final shape.

Tunnel portal is done TF's way, only I didn't get as elaborate with the stone, I just carved an arch.

Mike.

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:35 PM

That tunnel scene looks really nice Mike.   I like it.

I don't care what anyone else says about you,  I think you're all rightYesSmile, Wink & Grin

I remember that waterfall scene of yours when I was new around hereSmile, Wink & Grin

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, February 23, 2020 10:55 PM

On the second attempt a convex sailor course would look much better and so far It did.  Hope this doesn't get screwed up in the making.

We'll just have to wait and see tomorrow.  It's only minutes till 11:00 O-Clock and I have to hit the rack

 

 

TF

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,623 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, February 23, 2020 11:12 PM

Track fiddler
I've heard a hot wire works well  but I don't like the fumes and if you pause with a hot wire it just keeps melting the foam

Sorry TF, I have to politely disagree with you. I have used a Woodland Scenics hot wire cutter to cut a lot of foam for my ex club's mountain scenes.

The first thing that I would say is that there are very few fumes created by using a hot wire cutter. Several club members expressed concerns about the fumes, but when I was working with the hot foam cutter right in front of them for at least two hours at a time, nobody noticed anything. If I was doing it every day for years on end as a career I would be concerned. As for cutting foam for a couple of hours at a time, I'm not worried. Other things will kill me sooner! It is up to you to decide what degree of risk that using a hot foam cutter creates.

The second thing I would say is that your contention that if you pause with a hot wire cutter then the foam will keep melting is not correct, at least in my experience. The amount of additional foam that is melted when using a hot wire cutter is miniscule. In fact it is barely noticable. The hot wire cutter does not produce enough heat to cause the foam to melt en masse.

All of the above may be different if you are using a hot knife. I have never used one.

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, February 23, 2020 11:22 PM

Track fiddler
It's fun, It's cheap, and it doesn't take much time.

.

And... it looks good when it is completed. Very nice looking portal.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,253 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 24, 2020 6:41 AM

Track fiddler
I don't care what anyone else says about you, 

Laugh You know something that I don't? Laugh  Rumors, just vicious rumors ! Laugh

Laugh  Thanks TF.! 

Mike.

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Monday, February 24, 2020 9:27 AM

Thanks Kevin,  Thanks Mike. 

And Thanks Dave,  Perhaps the hearsay on a hot wire knife was a bunch of malarkey.  Been meaning to try one sometime if it doesn't fumigate the houseWink

Here's the raised sailor course portal.   

Time to duplicate it and start the paint washes with the side and top slabs.

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    February 2015
  • From: Ludington, MI
  • 1,750 posts
Posted by Water Level Route on Monday, February 24, 2020 11:46 AM

Looks great TF!  I've been wondering how I was going to build a stone viaduct I need for my layout, and now I think I have an answer.  Thanks!

Mike

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Monday, February 24, 2020 11:56 AM

Guilty of a double poster,  Post Hog perhapsLaugh

It seems pretty quiet around here  Time to hang up the modeling shoes and go get Judy a King Cake

She wants to share it with our Friends at Cowboys this afternoon for her day off

Catch up with you Guys later when there's more modeling time  She does go back to work tomorrow  No Carnival for that poor southern girl tomorro ya knowSad

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Monday, February 24, 2020 11:59 AM

Not at all ... a pleasureSmile  The method does work great for viaducts MikeYes

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,253 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 24, 2020 1:58 PM

It is amazing what you can do with foam.  I got wayyyyy carried away one day looking up foam carvings.  Wow is all I can say, about what some create with foam, from tiny to massive!

Mike.

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • 61 posts
Posted by wolf10851 on Monday, February 24, 2020 2:34 PM

Wow that looks amazing!  I am too hypercritical of my own work to try to attempt something like that.  I would never get it right then get frusterated then scrap it.  Yours looks great though :)

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Monday, February 24, 2020 4:55 PM

I've watched those videos too Mike, they're amazing.

Thank you Wolf.  You can do this with your mindset taking your time.  That's It.  There is no hurry,  You got this.

Viaduct Mike you just made me realize right now reading your post. 

A bandsaw is the best piece of equipment for cutting foam.  90° Square to the table for cutting viaducts or anything else.

For sure, ... Yeah,  That's the way to go.  

I don't have one anymore,  but I do have a buddy with a bandsawSmile, Wink & Grin

 

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    June 2007
  • 8,873 posts
Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, February 24, 2020 5:39 PM

What about poured concrete portals or retaining walls?  Can you do those with a pen?

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 9,252 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Monday, February 24, 2020 6:16 PM

riogrande5761

What about poured concrete portals or retaining walls?  Can you do those with a pen?

 

I don't see why not, though I do use a pen where the ink has run dry to avoid the blue.

I used an I-Beam and pen to carve the pier on the right.

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 1,500 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Monday, February 24, 2020 6:45 PM

Hey TF -

That's a nice little portal, and I admire guys who can take the McGuyver approach and build an ice rink on a desert island with nothing more than a rock, a sharp stick, and a washed-up Port-A-Potty.

I hate to be the bringer of bad news, if for no other reason than I don't want to be labeled an insufferable know-it-all or I don't want to simply be rude. But you mentioned it three times, and I feel I have to say that there are no brick sailors in your construct. Sorry. I see headers and stretchers and rowlocks; but no sailors, soldiers, or shiners.

Apologies.

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 18,255 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, February 24, 2020 7:21 PM

riogrande5761
What about poured concrete portals or retaining walls? Can you do those with a pen?

Yes.

-Kevin

Living the dream.

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 9,252 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Monday, February 24, 2020 7:31 PM

ROBERT PETRICK
build an ice rink on a desert island

Not a desert Island, but I call this ice rink in the back yard....

Glass On The GreeneryLaugh

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,253 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Monday, February 24, 2020 7:41 PM

Well, Photobucket is down AGAIN, so I can't show any pics of the concrete bridge, retaining wall, and other concrete structure using foam and covering with drywall mud. 

No pen involved.  But I get what TF is doing, like what Brent shows.

And Robert, OK, your right, soldier brick stand on end, thin side facing out, sailor course, standing on end, wide side out, and shiners, bricks layed backwards, with the "face" inward, and you generally can pick them out, on a building wall.  I have some on my house.  

TF is simulating cut stone, so a shiner would probably be with the smoother chisled or sawn face out.  It could happen.

On a big commercial building we were building, the masons were sub contractors.  There was a lone window on the upper floor, and one of the masons thought he was being creative, and layed a diamond pattern around the window.

Next day, the architect saw it, and made him remove it, like NOW.  It's a good thing the guilty mason caught the laborers before they had all of the scaffolding down.

My house was built in the very early 40's, exterior walls are 4" block on the inside, 4" brick on the outside, with about an 1 1/2" space between.  The interior walls and exterior walls were layed up at the same time.  Like commercial masonry bearing walls are buildt.

Anyway, I digress,  back to topic.

Mike.

PS. Your poor folks, Photobucket is back!

Retaining wall, ramp, parapet walls, all from foam, and pieces of drywall covered in layers of drywall mud.  No pen involved.

Highway bridge, carved from foam covered with thin layers of drywall mud. Joints, etc., were "tooled" in.  The deck is removalable for acces to the hidden track area.  The piers are pieces of 1/2" drywall, cut to shape, covered in mud.

Concrete with out an ink pen.

Mike.

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • 61 posts
Posted by wolf10851 on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 12:18 AM

BATMAN

 

 
riogrande5761

What about poured concrete portals or retaining walls?  Can you do those with a pen?

 

 

 

I don't see why not, though I do use a pen where the ink has run dry to avoid the blue.

I used an I-Beam and pen to carve the pier on the right.

 

ooh I like the I beam idea!

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: Bradford, Ontario
  • 15,623 posts
Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, February 25, 2020 12:53 AM

wolf10851
ooh I like the I beam idea!

Ditto!

Dave

I'm just a dude with a bad back having a lot of fun with model trains, and finally building a layout!

  • Member since
    January 2020
  • 61 posts
Posted by wolf10851 on Saturday, April 18, 2020 6:50 PM

wolf10851

 

 
BATMAN

 

 
riogrande5761

What about poured concrete portals or retaining walls?  Can you do those with a pen?

 

 

 

I don't see why not, though I do use a pen where the ink has run dry to avoid the blue.

I used an I-Beam and pen to carve the pier on the right.

 

 

 

ooh I like the I beam idea!

 

 

So I am finally ready to make my tunnel entrances and the big question I have is where do you find the I beam at?  I looked at lowes and they don't have any :(  also is that clay that you are putting the lines into and then gluing the clay to the foam?

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, April 19, 2020 7:57 AM

Good morning wolf

Surprised to see this buried thread on the screen again.  The I-beam pictured that Brent was using is Evergreen styrene.  I understand your frustration as hobby stores are closed but the internet is full of them.  The last time I ordered something from eBay it took three weeks to get here instead of three days though.

I have been experimenting with foam again since I decided I don't like using a pen anymore.  A pencil along a steel ruler works.  A pen rolls better though and I wonder if one could take the ink cartridge out.

P.S.   Further experimentation this morning I found a pencil after sharpening, honed on super fine sandpaper to create a more rounded tip works very well on foam.

A pizza roller cutter works too but mine is dull, maybe a new sharper one would work nice.

 

Mike, that masonry retaining wall and bridge looks great. I always did wonder how you made that.  And Brent I never did compliment you on your I-beam trick.  Cool, the abutment looks great.

 

Thanks

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    May 2010
  • From: SE. WI.
  • 8,253 posts
Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, April 19, 2020 9:03 AM

Thanks TF.  That Photobucket mark across the picture really adds to it, don't you think?  Grumpy  Trying to up-grade in PB is getting to be a challange.

Mike.

  • Member since
    March 2017
  • 8,038 posts
Posted by Track fiddler on Sunday, April 19, 2020 9:42 AM

All I see is a crystal clear picture Mike, maybe only you as the poster see the Photobucket lable?

ComputersSadLaugh

 

 

TF

  • Member since
    July 2006
  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
  • 9,252 posts
Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, April 19, 2020 9:51 AM

wolf10851
also is that clay that you are putting the lines into and then gluing the clay to the foam?

I used tile grout and/or thinset in the motor lines. I slopped on some gray paint and rubbed it in and after everything dried I brushed off the loose stuff. I do a much better job weathering with powders on foam than using washes or paint so I stick to just powders now. 

Working with foam is something you can do while sitting in front of the idiot box, kinda like the way Grandma use to sit and knit. You can get a lot done just in the commercials of a hockey game, of course with the present situation there is no hockey so I am just sitting here like Forest Gump waiting for the  game to start.Smile, Wink & Grin

Thanks for the comp TF.

Brent

"All of the world's problems are the result of the difference between how we think and how the world works."

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

There are no community member online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!