How to plastic coat foam costume pieces

Discussion in 'Replica Costumes' started by XRobots, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. XRobots

    XRobots Well-Known Member

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    I've been doing some testing with plastic coating plastazote foam, although I've only tried it a couple of times, I'm pretty sure it could give some amazing results with practice. Essentially this gives you the speed and ease of foam building with the finish of plastic or fiberglass pieces.

    Here is my foam test piece:

    [​IMG]

    It also works for expanded polystyrene and other materials, so I think my next project will be a Terminator Endoskeleton made out of foam, carved polystyrene, cardboard tubes etc, all plastic coated and painted up like metal.

    Here's an article with words: XRobots.co.uk/coating

    And a YouTube video showing the step by step process: XRobots - How To plastic coat foam & expanded polystyrene prop and costume pieces - YouTube

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012
  2. endo500

    endo500 Active Member

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    wow great idea. I'm building a foam costume and was worried about how i would not have that look of painted foam. Thanks I again I can't wait to try this method out. Plus the video was very good and detailed.
     
  3. Woodlake

    Woodlake Well-Known Member

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    Nice!.
    Please excuse my ignorance, but what is the advantage in using the smooth on rotocasting stuff over say just fibreglass? Could you use the same process you described using fibreglass resin? (nice tip on using PVA as a primer :thumbsup)
     
  4. XRobots

    XRobots Well-Known Member

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    Yes possibly, but without reinforcement polyester resin would be quite brittle, the Polyurethane is much better in thin sections.
     
  5. jackieisrockin

    jackieisrockin Well-Known Member

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    Would smooth on 300 or 320 work for this?
     
  6. EyeofSauron

    EyeofSauron Master Member

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    brilliant, bloody brilliant. you allways surprise me

    did i catch that right that you used 10 mm foam for the im suit? isnt that a little hard to work with?
     
  7. firebapx

    firebapx Well-Known Member

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    loved the tut man it was excellent. iv always had problems with seems in my foam armour and my outer layer cracking this seems like it could be the answer to all my problems ordered some resin of ebay gonna give this a go on one of my shoulder bells and see how they come up thanks very much buddy
     
  8. vargatom

    vargatom Member

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    Is "plastazote" basically the same as the EVA closed cell foam that's used in the floor mats most people use?

    [​IMG]
     
  9. widescreen

    widescreen Well-Known Member

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    Yes - this is used by many foam builders
     
  10. Finnlock

    Finnlock Active Member

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    Most impressive!

    How dose this hold up on high stress parts, is there much cracking or crazing?
     
  11. drakeprimeone

    drakeprimeone Well-Known Member

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    Very very cool, will need to try this out
     
  12. vargatom

    vargatom Member

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    Yeah, I'm using it too, but the rolled up sheet in the video looked quite different and I was wondering if it's the same material...
     
  13. Woodlake

    Woodlake Well-Known Member

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    Ah - makes sense. Thank you
     
  14. arrow105

    arrow105 New Member

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    Very nice tutorial. Your website is very informative but I am also wondering how strong it is and will there be much cracking if this is used on an Ironman suit?
     
  15. Jedifyfe

    Jedifyfe Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Brilliant! And great tutorial!
     
  16. Sonjou

    Sonjou Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nice ! thread subscribed.
     
  17. XRobots

    XRobots Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, to answer a few questions:

    -Yes I'm using 10mm foam, but you could probably use 5mm thinnest I'd say. I had some lower density 5mm foam and it was quite 'floppy', so you might want to put cardboard formers in the piece before coating it.

    -I've only used Smooth cast 65D which is a rotocast resin, which means it 'self levels' and gives a nice smooth surface - normally on the inside of the piece. You could try other Urethane resins, but you probably want lots of thin coats to avoid lumps.

    -In terms of strength it feels pretty good, but what you see is all I've made using this process so far. It might be worth coating the inside as well as the outside of the piece for extra strength, and at that point you could always reinforce the inside with more resin as thick as you like.

    -The foam I'm using is Plastazote from: Thames Valley Supplies - Rubber & Foam Converters - Rubber Snow Plough Blades
     
  18. Canobi

    Canobi Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    What an ingenious idea, thanks so much for sharing :thumbsup

    I've just got templates for the M7 armour and helmet. I'm planning on making three, one for me, and one each for my boys :)
    Oh yeh, and thanks for the link to a foam sheet supplier in the uk, it's really hard trying to find alternatives to materials that are used in the US.
     
  19. firebapx

    firebapx Well-Known Member

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    hey man im in the uk to i was having the same problem but i found out that those camping and yoga matts are made of the same stuff and they come in good size rolls i buy them form argos and a place called B and Ms there very cheep and work really well. make sure to inspect them before bringing them home cus you get some denser than others. check out the facebook page it shows some stuff iv made with the matts Iron man armour uk | Facebook
     
  20. billymaya

    billymaya Active Member

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    i used camping mats for my ironman build and im in the uk i started off buying the garage floor mats but found them at 12 mm that they were just to think for what i wanted to do with them, so then i brought 3 mm camping mats which was ok.i made the shoulder armour with it painted them up and since finishing the suit have relised they are just to thin as they have start to rip in places.the rest of the suit i brought 6 mm camping mats which i found at a good price in wilkinsons :) and find these perfect strong enough to take some stick but flexible enough to bend into any shape you want :)
     
  21. Canobi

    Canobi Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the heads up on foam matting guys :thumbsup I'll pop in to Wilco's and get some :)
     
  22. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Great info! Thanks for making the vid. This will become useful. :)
    Too bad that I can't get rotocasting resin locally, I could need the extra durability.
     
  23. Finhead

    Finhead Sr Member

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    Get tut and idea. :thumbsup
    Few tips about 65D though. It likes to delaminate if you leave it between coats too long. I woul do all or most of your coats in a row then scuff and a final coat. You can also use a heatgun or hairdrier once your done painting the resin on to level it a little better and get rid of any little bubbles that have formed from the brush action.
    Just wanted to add those to help you out a bit since it looks like a nice easy quick process that should help a ton of people. Oh and 65D is perfect since it is so very flexible compared to other casting resins. :)
    Again great job and thanks for sharing.
     
  24. CSMacLaren

    CSMacLaren Sr Member

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    Wow, brilliant! Thanks for sharing!
     
  25. DarthVeach

    DarthVeach Well-Known Member

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    This is the kind of thing I was hoping someone would test out!! I am so happy to see it working too! Way to go James! I was going to get Epoxamite and try it, but I like that Finhead mentioned that 65D has more flex to it. Probably won't crack as easy as Epoxamite would!
     
  26. XRobots

    XRobots Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Finhead - sounds like good advice. I guess when I normally rotocast a piece I'm putting the next lot of resin in the mould before the last one is totally cured, but it's a but harder to coordinate everything and film it at the same time. I actually sanded the bubbles out of the first coat before applying the second one, which probably helped it stick. Altogether I was just really happy that everything stuck to the foam.
     
  27. venator

    venator Member

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    Thanks for the tutorial XRobots, I'm actually working on an Ironman suit (Eva foam) and while I'm happy with how quickly it's coming together, I was a bit concerned about the texture once painted.
     
  28. nachtinis

    nachtinis Well-Known Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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  29. NelBearPig

    NelBearPig Member

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    I have no words to describe how happy this video made me when my friend showed me the link.
     
  30. longlenium

    longlenium New Member

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    nice jobs XROBOTS . however what happen when the pva glue cracks inside layer between foam and smooth cast?.. will that cause the paint to cracks?
     
  31. XRobots

    XRobots Well-Known Member

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    I don't really think you'll notice since the whole thing is covered in a shell of plastic?. The Smooth cast is bonded to the PVA anyway and the piece is quite rigid, so I don't think it would be an issue.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  32. STEALTH

    STEALTH Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Brilliant. Will try.
     
  33. endo500

    endo500 Active Member

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    I have a slightly off topic question could you use the 65D rotocast that you used in the video to rotocast the inside of a Pepakura helmet made of paper? I'm just looking for a more reliable option of just mixing resin and bondo together.
     
  34. Finhead

    Finhead Sr Member

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    Yes for sure, that's what it was designed to be used for (rotocasting) used to be called Smooth Cast-Roto.

     
  35. endo500

    endo500 Active Member

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    and it will make it strong enough to handle bondo and sanding on the outside.
     
  36. darkside501st

    darkside501st Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    How does this compare to the other Smooth-on products that others usually use for rotocasting. (Smooth-on 300 or is it 320)
     
  37. Finhead

    Finhead Sr Member

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    Thing with 65D it is flexible not 100% ridged. For the foam the 65D is perfect as for paper the 300 series is far better IMO as it is ridged. For roto casting as in dry times etc they are fairly close.
     
  38. endo500

    endo500 Active Member

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    Oh that is helpful to know that 300 is better for paper. I'm going to get some 65D to try his technique out and wanted to know if I could use it on the inside of a paper helmet i'm making as well.
     
  39. huttman

    huttman New Member

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    I was wondering if you had tried "Rigid" versus the "semi-Rigid" that the 65D is. I use Rigid from Burman for other projects. I tested it on some foam with just some white glue first and it seemed to work out fine.

    Is the reason for the semi-rigid used for its "give"?

    also instead of PVA isn't Elmers White Glue basically the same thing?

    This is an awesome idea. Thanks for sharing :D
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  40. venator

    venator Member

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    When it comes to using this method, could you use a pottery wheel to root cast a large piece like a chest plate?
     
  41. Davard74

    Davard74 Member

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    So if I did want something more rigid, then the 300 would still be good on the foam? Like on some pink insulation or something like that? Instead of doing the fiberglass resin thing?

    Out of curiosity, what happens to it with out PVA as a primer? It just peel off, or does it mess the foam up while cuirng?
     
  42. McAullay

    McAullay New Member

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    Thanks for the great tut. Ill definitely be using this for my Bumblebee build. couple of questions.

    How strong would you consider this technique in supporting weight. Im thinking for load supporting pieces such as the feet i should still use fibreglass. My build with all pieces considered and weight of myself on the feet pieces for example with probably total over 150kgs.

    Does the sanding down of the final rotocast come up as smooth of a finish as say using bondo. For 'metal looking' mirror finish pieces, am i still better of using bodyfiller?

    Did you 'water' down your pva. Ive watched STEALTHs tutorial on using PVA to seal EVA and thinking the 'watered down' layers sound like a good idea to prevent the peeling effect.
     
  43. XRobots

    XRobots Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure what you're planning on standing on, but if it's a bit of foam then it will still crush.

    The only tests I've done for this technique are what you see, so I'll guess you'll have to try it - with work you should be able to get the same finish as a piece of plastic

    I didn't water my PVA down, it seems to stick fine to the foam I was using.

    The only time I tried it it kind of flaked off after the first coat, some was stuck on and the whole thing was a mess.

    You need to rotate it in all directions ideally so that it doesn't pool anywhere.
     
  44. huttman

    huttman New Member

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    sorry double post
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2012
  45. huttman

    huttman New Member

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    any comment towards using white glue? You were saying something about it needing to be water soluble in your video
     
  46. McAullay

    McAullay New Member

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    Yeah the crushing is what I fear. I was considering using foam as the inner skeleton due to its light weight and easy manipulation but am thinking I may need something more sturdy.
    I am just about 100% I'm going to have to use fiberglass to strengthen the entire piece as you can see in this picture the feet are split into thirds with a void directly below the foot (my feet will reside inside the wheel section).
    Bumblebee Foot

    I suppose I'm going to have to find out a-la trial by error. The plastic coating will definitely help with the other not weight supporting pieces at any rate so cheers for that.
     
  47. XRobots

    XRobots Well-Known Member

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    Yes PVA is water soluble - are you asking about Elmers glue?. We don't have that in the UK so I don't know, perhaps test some and see if it becomes sticky again if you make it wet.
     
  48. DarthVeach

    DarthVeach Well-Known Member

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    PVA is basic white glue. It really comes down to what brand you are comfortable using. I would say for the U.S., Elmer's Glue All would be a good one. Also have heard that Aileen's is a great white glue, but I am pretty sure it is a lot more expensive than Elmer's. I wouldn't use school glue though, that tends to be a watered down version.
     
  49. huttman

    huttman New Member

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    Thank you for your replies. I got some glue all and am currently making a test piece. Only difference is I will be using "rigid" vs the "semi-rigid" used in the tutorial. I will post my results when finished.
     
  50. nolatron

    nolatron New Member

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    Brilliant! I've been thinking about doing a foam suit but still wanted that glass/bonda kinda of finish too. This seems like a good middle ground for the two.
     

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