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Typical Ghoul Next Door
7,447 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I found at the side of the road a HUGE piece of the white bead styrofoam a few weeks ago.

It was 8 feet x 3 feet, with a lip sort of bumped out on one side. It actually looks like a giant tetris piece if you view it from the short side. I could carry it by myself, but that sucker is actually pretty heavy. (hubby was NOT pleased :eek::rolleyes: )

I'll try to take a pic when I get home.

I want to try to carve out curved sections to make a stone well like from "The Ring." I know from experience that the beaded styro is a pain in the keister to carve, and even melting it tends to be more difficult than the building material stuff.

Any ideas for how to tackle this?

Going bump in the night..
3,388 Posts
How thick is the piece? That will be a factor in what you can use to cut it.

A thought that comes to mind is a hacksaw blade with tape on the ends, held by both hands (one on each side of the piece) - the fine teeth of a hacksaw blade work well on styro...they don't tear it up and the narrow blade can cut curves very nicely.

You could make a large hot-wire cutter out of a wall-wart, some fine copper wire, and a bow to stretch the wire (a bow saw, minus the blade, would be perfect). Or, if the throat of the bow isn't deep enough, make your own bow from wood.

A long pruning saw might work - not sure how well that would make the curves, but the blade isn't too broad, so if the curve isn't too sharp, that may do the trick (big teeth, however, so the cut may be a bit more rough).

The Evil Apparitionist
555 Posts
I would use some type of hot-wire foam cutter. That would eliminate the mess (they melt the foam along a thin line) and cut very quickly. Hobby stores (Michaels....) sell battery powered ones around $7 but you may need a larger one. I built my own by making my own tip for a soldering gun with #14 copper and thin nichrome wire. I would think you could find or make one that would give you a foot of cutting width.

Typical Ghoul Next Door
7,447 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
The piece is about three feet thick - maybe more or less in some areas, but pretty substantial. I really wonder what the heck it was used for. I drove by it for about two weeks thinking it was a broken stone bench, and then realizing that it was a giant piece of foam.

(and you should have seen the faces of the drivers that saw me manhandling that thing into the back of my SUV. :p)

I think I'll try the fine toothed saw first and see what that does, but most likely it's going to take some sort of hot knife to get the thing hacked up.

thanks for the suggestions!

144 Posts
What a find...I am always stopping on the side of the road for one thing or another...but how many hard hats does one person need?

It would have to be a custom made job with wire thick enough to withstand the large foam, but thin enough to heat well - but I would vote for hotwire cutting. Blade cutting, even with a fine-tooth blade - is gonna be a real mess-maker.

Metal shops will often have a 'horizontal band saw'. These usually can cut something 3' thick or so. At least to get the basic shape cut into a manageble size.

STARK Raving Mad
937 Posts
There is a warehouse here that buys & cuts large blocks of styrofoam. It is popular in construction for creating the curved shape under stucco. I went & toured the place once. They have huge hot-wire cutting tables controlled by computers (CAD files).

I *HIGHLY* recommend you look around and find out if you have something similar in your area. They can cut your block into 3" or 4" thick slices complete with grout notches, so all you have to do is add the offset grout notches and there you go!

If you can't find it yourself, ask a local General Contractor or maybe an architect.
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