Milling & cutting foam

Workpiece:Toolbox inserts, shadow boards
Type of application:2D milling
Used machine & accessories:High-Z router, cutter
Used software:ConstruCAM 3D

Cutting toolbox inserts into shape and milling tool divisons

Milling foam on the CNC router

At first, milling foam sounds weird. You would probably rather think of cutting cellular material with a carpet knife or a drag knife. Even laser cutting and waterjet cutting are more obvious. But to make toolbox inserts you can cut the foam into shape with a milling tool quite accurately and mill the compartments in 3D on a CNC router so that the toolbox inserts fit exactly in any professionally equipped toolbox and the divisions are form-fitting to any tool, provided that you work with a practical CNC router and the right accessory.

Precautionary care should be taken to ensure that the milling paths are largely overlapping and the milling cutter produces neat chips. For this purpose, it is necessary to have a super-sharp cutter.

Milling foamed material with high-speed

The best way to machine foamed material is to work with the high-speed cutting method which requires an extremely sharp milling cutter and a CNC machine which can implement these speeds in a precise manner. However, you cannot machine all foamed materials with a milling cutter, since some are simply too soft. For cutting cellular materials into shape you can alternatively use our oscillating tangential knife EOT-3 which can also cut soft foam.

Cutting foam with the oscillating tangential knife EOT-3

At first, the foam insert must be cut out to fit the toolbox. A carpet knife is surely sufficient if the workpiece is for your own needs. But for professional use, the toolbox insert must have clean cutting edges and must be form-fitting to the toolbox. You can cut foam much more accurate with a CNC machine than by hand because you can enter the measures of the inner toolbox in the CAD-CAM Program so that the foam is cut with accuracy to the nearest millimetre. For cutting foam with the CNC machine, the oscillating tangential knife EOT-3 is perfectly suitable. The oscillating motor moves the blade up and down with high frequency, and the actuator turns the blade in the respective direction. Doing so, the oscillating tangential knife EOT-3 cuts the foam with perfect cutting edges.

We recommend a milling motor with high rotational frequency and sharp tool blades

For milling foam, it is crucial to avoid the chips getting too long and wrapping around the tool blade. Therefore the high-speed cutting method is well tried with foamed materials. In this machining process, a milling motor with a high rotational frequency and a cutter with sharp blades are used. Depending on the CNC router you get decent chips with rotational frequencies between 20.000 – 24.000 rpm and an infeed speed of 30 -35 mm/s.