1. qquake2k

    qquake2k TrainBoard Member

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    I'm working on a simple layout using a sheet of 2" rigid foam. What is the easiest way to "dig out" a creek and pond? Is there a good guide online somewhere?
     
  2. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    If you have not bought your foam, I suggest using two sheets of 3/4" foam, That way you can use a box cutter to remove the top layer for ponds and creeks. Otherwise it will be very difficult to hollow out a 1/2"-3/4" divot without going through to the bottom. I don't know of any convenient way to do that.
     
  3. qquake2k

    qquake2k TrainBoard Member

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    I've already bought the sheet of 2" foam, but thought about adding a 1/2" or 3/4" sheet on top of it. But I'm unsure about cutting out the top layer.
     
  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Adding a 1/2" board on top will work. I held a box cutter at about a 45 degree angle to cut the 1/2" top layer of foam. Use a slight sawing action or the foam will bunch ahead of the blade because it's soft.

    I used Liquid Nails for Foam (or its equivalent) to glue the two foam layers. You must remove the thin plastic sheet from the foamboard faces before gluing, or you won't get good adhesion.
     
  5. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    A hot knife works miracles in cutting through foam. Used like a knife you can angle the cuts for bank slopes. Most craft stores carry them.https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FKCR47...&pd_rd_r=d7c90b6e-4755-11e9-b867-49bec1c8c3ce

    I recommend this style of knife that I have been using for years now to carve my foam and I have cut foam out that was glued down. The thin shape allows you to do a lot. Just one caution thought and that is not to force the blade.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 7:19 PM
  6. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    I did not know that a single ended hot knife was available. Thanks John,
     
  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    I did a review of one that I have about 2 years ago when I finally wore out my old one and bought a new model. The key thing is not to force the knife but rather go slow and let the knife melt its way through. Those blades are very thin and flexible and easily bent or broken. But once you get the knack of using one tis amazing what one can do. Maximum thickness is about 3 to 3 and 1/2 inches of dense foam. They make a thicker bladed one but the thin blade one allows for more intricate cutting.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2019 at 8:37 PM
  8. Carl Sowell

    Carl Sowell TrainBoard Supporter

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    I have used MEK to "burn" through the pink extruded 2" foam that I used. I was making bar ditches along the side of the roadbed. You have to be careful with the MEK, for sure, cause too many dribbles might go completely through foam. A lot easier than digging out the foam.

    Carl
     
  9. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    MEK is nasty stuff, and if I remember correctly a carcinogen
     
  10. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

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    We used MEK by the gallons in the aircraft industry, it was banned in California in 1984 and in Oklahoma about 1996.

    I suggest not using it because of the risk of cancer and because of the fumes not to mention the mess.

    When I cut foam I use a keyhole saw or hot wire cutter.

    Joe
     
  11. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Therefore, I stand beside the box cutter method. It's benign, cold, and not cancerous.
     
  12. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    I prefer a small linoleum router for streams, using a round bit. Makes a very nice stream bottom, and it’s very easy to meander. $30 at harborfreight.
     
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Am not familiar with this tool. Can you post a link?
     
  14. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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  15. qquake2k

    qquake2k TrainBoard Member

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    I wondered about using a router. HF used to have a trim router for $20, but I don't see it on their website.
     
  16. Run8Racing

    Run8Racing TrainBoard Member

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    Do not mess with MEK at all. Used it aircraft maintenance once while in the USN. In training, we were told if it gets on your finger, it soaks in and you will taste it in 5 seconds. They were wrong. It took 9 seconds !!! DON'T mess with it !!!
     
  17. qquake2k

    qquake2k TrainBoard Member

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    I wonder if a ball end or round nose bit in a die grinder would do it.
     

    Attached Files:

    BoxcabE50 likes this.
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    A set of die grinder bits. Or, as we used to reference them, "burrs".
     
  19. qquake2k

    qquake2k TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, I've heard them called "burrs" and "dental burrs" (for the smaller ones). I'm guessing it would create an unholy mess, but I'll be doing it outside.
     
  20. Tony Burzio

    Tony Burzio TrainBoard Supporter

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    A grinder with a depth foot is called a router... :)
     

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