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Stupid foam question

Discussion in 'Puppet News' started by solo409, Sep 6, 2002.

  1. solo409

    solo409 Active Member

    Ok, I know this has been brought up before, but being rather fluttery of mind, I am a bit confused with all the technical definitions and descriptions...
    Exactly what is the name of the foam that everyone is using for puppets? Is it this Neopro-something that I've heard of, or is it something else? Can it be bought in blocks, and is that how most of you professional builders get it? Or is it used in the sheet form? And were can you get it? All the foam seller's sites talk about 'closed-cell' foam and other junk and have all these measurements that I don't really understand (being utterly and wholy incompetent when it comes to learning my numbers :rolleyes: ) Where would be the best place to buy this mysterious foam? I'm sure 'The Foam Book' covers this stuff, but, regretably, a foam book I do not have.
    :) - $$$ = :(


    Oh, speaking of the Foam Book, would anyone happen to have a used copy of it just, say, laying around? I'd be very willing to take it off the hands of anyone who does for a 'used book'-ish price...just cant fork up enough dough to get a new one.
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm sort-of foam ignorant in that I work with the stuff but really don't get the technical jargon (neither do the guys at the place where we buy it - and it's their industry!).

    Basically there are two types of foam:

    The foam bought and sold in sheets is polyurethane foam (we call it "sheet" foam here). This is the stuff couch cushions and foam mattresses are made from. It's sold in thicknesses ranging from 1/4" to 6" or more and you can find it at most upholstry supply places and some larger cities have foam stores that specialize in the stuff. Blocks of it are what carved-foam puppets are usually made from.

    The other type of foam is reticulated (sometimes called "scott") foam. This is usually yellow (though I've seen black and grey too) and much rougher in feel. It's primarily manufactured for use in air conditioners and humidifiers I believe. It's generally considered superior to sheet foam and most professional builders use it, although we frequently build out of sheet foam and there are no problems with it.

    You'll also hear about ppi or pores per inch. This is a measuring system that tells you how soft or rigid foam will be. The higher the ppi the denser the foam and stiffer it is.

    It's usually best (as with everything puppet building related) to experiment a lot and see what works best for you.

    Take care!

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