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News

New Line of CNC Sign Cutters from Foamlinx Especially for the Sign Industry

10/8/2013

Foamlinx Technologies, Sunnyvale, CA launching a new line of CNC hot wire foam cutters, especially for the sign industry. The machines cut EPS, XPS and EPP foam, being able to produce interior and exterior signs, logos, foam numbers and letters, monument signs, theme props, displays, sculptures, art designs and more.
Foamlinx sign cutters are designed in 3 different sizes to fit foam blocks bought in any hardware store. Sizes range from 50” (X Axis) x 42” (Y Axis) x 9” (Hot wire length) to 55”x48”x18 and up to 100”x48”x36”.
The machines work with DevFoam and Mach3 software, and are very simple to use.  Assembly time is less than 1 hour, with cutting speed of up to 40”/per minute, which enables the user to cut multiple shapes at once.
The sign cutters are available now, with prices starting at $5,500 including computer, monitor, software and online set up and training. Foamlinx sign cutters enable any sign manufacturer to save costs and time in producing any foam project.
For additional information please call us at (408) 454-6163, sent us an email to [email protected] or visit our web site at www.foamlinx.com

Foamlinx LLC Introduces Custom Made CNC Routers for 3D Foam Modeling

10/8/2013

oamlinx LLC, Sunnyvale, CA launches custom-made CNC hot wire router systems for machining 3D foam models, props, sculptures, monuments, architectural shapes, displays and more.

In response to a growing market demand for foam machining, Foamlinx LLC based in Sunnyvale, CA has extended and developed its line of CNC routers to include almost any size, from only few inches of working area all the way up to 30 feet routers in length.
Each router uses a spindle that is the motor doing the actual cutting. Foamlinx Router’s spindles range from 1HP (horse power) to 20HP and above, and they can hold end mills (the driller) from 1/16” all the way to 2” and above. Combos are also available - Combination of custom-made CNC hot wire foam cutters with CNC routers.

Foamlinx routers provide the solution businesses are seeking when looking to manufacture any 3D foam shape, model or design. Using CNC hot wire foam cutters provide 2D foam shapes that only requires flat surface, while the CNC Routers are used to machine three dimensional projects. The machines are 3-axis, which means they move in a 3D space diagonally and in curves, in motions that resemble milling or carving. The router can create 3D designs from numerous types of material, including: EPS foam, urethane foam, aluminum, light wood, acrylics, plastics and polycarbonate, ABS.

Foamlinx routers apply to numerous industries, including:
Automotive – Full scale cars, boats, planes
Aerospace – UAVs models
Architectural – Any 3D architectural shapes
Fine Art, sculptures, statues
Marine – Boats, ships models
Museums – 3D displays, faces, statues
Navigation – Topographic maps

Foamlinx machines pricing is extremely competitive, and discounts are available in ordering more than a single machine. “We first listen to our customers, then building a machine and tailoring it to each and every customer, according to their specifications and requirements. Our company prides itself with having great customer support. We always put our customers first, while providing lifetime online and telephone support,” said Tal Barnea of Foamlinx LLC (http://www.foamlinx.com).

The shapes that can be created with a router are almost unlimited. Any 3D model, from small to big and up to full scale can be made using Foamlinx routers. Foamlinx has recently machined a full scale 1937 Renault truck for a Canadian museum. The truck is 16 feet in length and 6 feet high. Any design that seems too large or too thick to be machined due to height or cutter length restrictions can be sliced into sections. Each slice will be machined separately using the router and then the pieces can be glued together. The machined parts can then be sanded and coated with protective hard shell and painted. Foamlinx Routers can also be used to create molds that can later be poured with concrete, polyurethane, or other casting materials.

Articles

What Is Laser Cutting and What Can Be Cut Using a Laser Cutter

10/8/2013

Laser cutters use a laser beam for cutting materials, and are typically used for industrial manufacturing applications. Laser cutting works by directing the output of a high-power laser, at the material to be cut. The material melts (at the beam path), burns, vaporizes away, or is blown away by a jet of gas, leaving a high-quality surface finish edges. A CNC laser cutter uses a computer and cutting software that takes a design file and implements it on the material to be cut to produce the desired cut.

Laser fabrication supports the cutting of a pattern within a pattern. Here are some of the materials a laser cutter can cut:
Plastics – Including acrylics, ABS, Lucite, plexiglass, mylar, Kapton tape and styrene
Wood – The laser cutter can cut designs into wood, including personalized pencils, wooden jewelry, wood picture frames, furniture and more.
Foam – XPS foam for RC planes, Depron foam, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), Styrene.
Other material – clothing, paper, rubber.
It allows a level of accuracy and complexity not possible if using conventional machining tools. The laser cutter is ideal for cutting flexible semi-rigid and soft materials. The laser cutter uses a high-density and powerful light energy running through its laser beam, which in turn burns the material. The laser beam is typically 0.2mm (0.008inches) in diameter at the cutting surface, with a power of 1000-2000 watts.

A laser cutter will produce any 2D shape, including shapes cutouts and inserts, using a CAD file. Its main advantages are high accuracy, good quality cuts, high processing speed, low deformation of the cut out material and ability to cut small holes and small material (as small as 1m in size). However, cutting thick foam sheets will result in much slower production time than cutting thin layers. In addition, each laser cutter has its own thickness of material it can cut. If the sheet to be cut is thicker than the laser cutter’s abilities, the cuts should be made by layers, and then can be glued together.

There are endless numbers of industries and markets using laser cutting to fabricate products: Prototyping, Furniture, Packaging, Cases & instruments inlays, Construction, Robotics, jewelry, ornaments, custom gifts, computer case parts, scale model parts, RC models, art pieces, custom signs, letters & logos and so many more.
Anyone interested in a cutting project done by a laser cutter should gather their artwork and send it in a CAD file format to the cutting services company. They in turn will take a look at the file to determine if it is compatible with the laser cutter and the material requested. Then a laser cutter configuration is needed, including adjusting the power and the speed so that the laser beam will cut thru-and-thru the material. The laser cutter connected to the computer will read the CAD file as coordinates and will cut according to the drawing.

How is Expanded Polystyrene Manufactured and Molded into Foam Blocks

10/8/2013

EPS foam starts at very small beads similar to sand in texture, called polystyrene. The raw material itself is called Styrene. Styrene can be found nearly everywhere, in your local food store and the local electronics stores. The plastic utensils are all made of Styrene, such as CD cases and cloth hangers. There are stages and procedures involved in turning this raw styrene material into an actual foam block.
 
In order to start producing foam blocks the foam beads needs to be blown into larger beads. Depending on the density required, the beads are blown using steam in a machine called expander. The expander can be a manual steaming machine or an automatic one where the steams are covering the beads automatically.  At this stage, the beads are up to 50 times their original size.

Continuous pre-expanders are operated without pressure and are equipped with an open- top agitator tank in which raw material is continuously fed from the bottom by an adjustable screw conveyor. Steam is fed continuously into the pre-expanding room through openings that are positioned shortly above the tank bottom. An agitator and fixed breaker rods keep the beads in motion and make sure that already pre-expanded beads of lower density move to the top of the bead bulk and fall into a shaft through an opening.
In all pre-expanders the completely expanded beads trickle into a fluid bed dryer, where they are dried and stabilized before they are transported into the storage silos.

The two most common blowing agents used are pentane and carbon dioxide. Neither of them contains CFCs. In a process called polymerization, the polystyrene is filled with millions of air pockets. These help the foam to expand and also give it a low thermal conductivity. During expansion, the product can be molded into a variety of shapes and sizes. The final product is 90% air, but amazingly, EPS can have a compressed strength up to 40 psi.

The last step in the process is the mold machine. Mold machine are divided into two main categories: block molds and shape molds.
Block mold machines create a block of foam - from 3' x 2' x 8' up to 5' x 5' x 24'
Block Mold can be done manually or automatically.
Shape mold machines create different shapes - bicycle helmets, surfboards, RC planes, packing foam, food packing, just to name a few. Once the foam block is ready it is cooled down, then separated and removed from the block mold or shape mold machines. The foam block is now ready to be distributed to stores.