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Cutting expanded polystyrene

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Andywillows

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Post Thu May 16, 2013 7:45 pm

Cutting expanded polystyrene

Can expanded polystyrene be cut on a Zund machine with an osilating knife or maybe a router?
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Martin Pearson

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Post Fri May 17, 2013 12:18 am

What sort of thickness? I suppose you might be able to cut very thin stuff with a blade, never tried cutting it with a router, more likely to just end up making a mess lol.
Guess it would depend on how intricate the work was & what sort of finish you were looking for.
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Simon Worrall

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Post Fri May 17, 2013 2:06 am

Expanded polystyrene cuts beautifully on the router. Make sure your dust collection is good because charged particles of polystyrene flying about get everywhere! I use a half inch spiral upcut bit, but I have experimented with others and hey all seem to work just as well. Cut fast because it melts quite quickly. You can do the whole depth in one pass since it is so lightweight.
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Martin Pearson

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Post Fri May 17, 2013 11:03 am

Simon, I would have expected it to just break apart rather than cut so would never even have considered it. Guessing you spent a bit of time mucking about with speed & feed rates to get it right. Are you using a single flute bit for that? If it cuts great then enough messing about with speed & feed should allow you to use much smaller cutters meaning you could do more intricate work.
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Simon Worrall

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Post Fri May 17, 2013 12:00 pm

I think the spiral has four flutes Martin. I got that one cos It is about six inches long and I was cutting 100mm thick poly. But smaller cutters work just as well, just need to experiment with speeds of rotation and moves. Obviously higher density polystyrene gives a much better result, but I have cut a lot of shapes in insulation grade poly for a paving company who use them as templates.

Simon.
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Vic Adair

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Post Mon May 20, 2013 1:14 pm

I think you maybe looking for a Hot wire cutter. our boss was throwing one out the other week and i quickly intercepted it lol.
Dont know much about it yet as we had some offcuts of poly lying around and it cuts like butter but its all done the old way, by hand.
If anyone in the UK knows where i could get polystyrene sheet from and if it can be painted would by a help.

Vic

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