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View Full Version : Table Saw vs. Extruded Foam?



TwinDad
7th Mar 2014, 03:41 PM
Just wondering... I presume it would be possible to cut large sheets of EPS foam down to size on a table saw, but I'm betting the standard general-purpose 24-tooth blade included with the saw is probably not the best choice.

Is there a better blade choice? Should I mount the blade backward? I hear that's good practice for cutting plastic?

I've done this before with a utility knife, but I was thinking the saw would make cleaner, straighter (and faster) cuts...

Advice?

magi46
7th Mar 2014, 04:01 PM
Take a look. This might help. He calls it Eif. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF8cfq891Ww

pbender
7th Mar 2014, 05:12 PM
I use a fine toothed plywood blade in my table saw for 2" foam.

Paul

Tred
7th Mar 2014, 05:17 PM
magi46 - That guy's cutting made me nervous. A cluttered garage, whipping around the cut pieces of foam, using the one for a push tool... Wow. Oh wait, I've done that. NEVERMIND! LOL

ozzie Bill.
7th Mar 2014, 06:09 PM
Just use a fine tooth handsaw. Much less dust or angst and a cleaner cut. After all, it's no effort to cut the foam anyway.
Used to work for an old pig (hog) farmer in UK. He would slaughter the beast, then have them snap frozen, then he would butcher the carcase with his chainsaw!!
Bill.

Allen H.
7th Mar 2014, 06:37 PM
TD, I just used a 50 tooth combination blade on my cabinet saw with no problem!

The trick is to keep it moving, you don't have to jamb it through like the guy did on that video.
If you stall it might start to melt then is when you will have troubles.

Make sure the top and fence is clean and waxed so things slide.

You can also use a router on it as well as I did on the modules last week.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=9n52-J0nedg

Stogie
7th Mar 2014, 06:59 PM
I hope you are using EPS to mean Extruded and not Expanded, as in bead foam. That will be a nasty mess otherwise. Regardless, good question as I may actually start building something this year...or next...or...

Love the video. Hadn't thought of that before.

Gen
7th Mar 2014, 07:11 PM
...but I'm betting the standard general-purpose 24-tooth blade included with the saw is probably not the best choice.

24 is fine.


Should I mount the blade backward?

No, forward is better.

Team DTO
7th Mar 2014, 08:09 PM
Just wondering... I presume it would be possible to cut large sheets of EPS foam down to size on a table saw, but I'm betting the standard general-purpose 24-tooth blade included with the saw is probably not the best choice.

Is there a better blade choice? Should I mount the blade backward? I hear that's good practice for cutting plastic?

I've done this before with a utility knife, but I was thinking the saw would make cleaner, straighter (and faster) cuts...

Advice? My table saw has a 10" diameter 24 TPI blade and it cuts EPS foam just fine. After laying down the initial foam board on the bench work, I ripped the remaining foam into 3" and 6" strips. This makes the foam easier to manage when stacking for hillsides and mountains. :cool:

TwinDad
7th Mar 2014, 08:14 PM
I hope you are using EPS to mean Extruded and not Expanded, as in bead foam. That will be a nasty mess otherwise. Regardless, good question as I may actually start building something this year...or next...or...

Love the video. Hadn't thought of that before.

Oh, yeah. EXTRUDED. I wont' touch the expanded stuff with a ten foot pole.

Thanks for the advice, all!

olskool
7th Mar 2014, 08:57 PM
pro,s use a razor knife its quicker the a saw ,half way through and snap that it

James0071979
7th Mar 2014, 10:26 PM
You should have no problem cutting foam with your setup

MooseID
8th Mar 2014, 12:46 AM
Make sure that the fence and the table allow the foam to slide easily. Wax them if the foam drags.

Use a push stick at the end of the cut. It saves fingers.

If you are working with 4 by 8 sheets, it is wise to have an extension table on the output side of the saw. It should be large enough to keep the pieces from falling off an getting damaged.

To make an extension table cheap and easy, that can be removed and stored to save space when you are not cutting large pieces, start with two sets of saw horse brackets and some 2 by 4's.
Then lay a 4 by 8 melamine coated sheet on the saw horses. Adjust the legs of the saw horses such that the melamine sheet is even with the saw table. This can be done with large carriage bolts through T-nuts in the legs.

musicman
8th Mar 2014, 08:29 AM
I would personally never cut foam board on a table saw. It's like going after a gnat with a cannon. The foam dust can get onto the warm motor and stick there and effectively fry the motor if you cut a lot of it. I worked on jobsites all my adult life where foam was used and I saw a few guys lose saws that way. Pros use a knife and snap it.

ctedford
22nd Mar 2014, 08:46 PM
I've used a cabinet table saw for over ten years to cut 2" pink foam from the Depot. I use a good 48-60 tooth combination blade and a nice even feed rate. I've never had any problems with melting the foam or burning up a motor. I've had productions where we've cut upwards of 40 sheets of 4x8x2" EPS (pink foam) in the span of a day into 12"x4' strips, not a single problem.

Using a matte knife and snapping will work, but it's more tedious and if you don't have an straight edge long enough to do the whole length in on pass, it can get kinda ratty. I'd go with the table saw if you can.

I know that this was last posted on two weeks ago, but just thought I'd share my experience.

Chris

russtrnmn
23rd Mar 2014, 01:04 AM
I use old\skool's method. Cut half way through an snap it off.