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Foam 101 - How to Choose the Right Custom Foam

Your foam is your design's canvas.
After you finish your perfect design, you'll be asked to choose what type of foam we use to create your custom insert. But which is the right foam for your application?

Step 1: Base Foam
Your design, when translated into foam, is called the Base. We offer two different kinds of foam for your Base, PE (Polyethylene) and Ester (Polyurethane). PE foam is fairly dense, and only slightly pliable. It offers a secure, snug fit. Ester foam is much more spongy and forgiving, exhibiting excellent shock absorption. While PE foam is suitable for most designs, you can view this helpful video and use the comparison chart below to help decide which one is right for you:


PE (Polyethylene) Foam vs. Ester (Polyurethane) Foam

Black
PE Foam
(Polyethylene)

  • MyCaseBuilder standard case foam; suitable for most applications.
  • Good for heavier objects that need to be secured in place (example: handgun).
  • Good for objects that can absorb a modest amount of shock without being damaged (example: electric drill).
Charcoal
Ester Foam
(Polyurethane)


  • Good for more delicate objects that may break on modest impact (example: crystal stemware).
  • Good for irregularly-shaped objects (example: digital SLR camera).
Step 2: Lid Foam
For designs that require foam for a case's lid, MyCaseBuilder offers two options: Convoluted foam and Solid (flat) foam. Convoluted foam (also known as egg-crate foam) is the standard for lid foam, offering suitable protection while securing case items in place. It is also recommended for designs where items may protrude from the Base into the case lid. Solid Foam is much less widely used, appropriate only for cases with very shallow lids (under 5/8"), or for designs where all items sit flush with the surface of the base foam. Of course, since you're the designer the choice is yours!


Foam Fabrication Methods

Once your design is complete and your order is placed, it's cutting time. Our factory is outfitted with many computer-controlled precision cutting machines and we employ the right one for each job to ensure your case foam comes out perfect.

Foam Cutting Methods
Water-Jet Cut
Nothing matches the speed and accuracy of our double-headed Water Jet cutter. This machine cools, compresses and streams a high-powered 0.020" (0.5mm) wide jet of water that cleanly slices even the most durable foams we offer. Every intricacy of your custom foam design will be picked up by the ultra smooth movement of the jet nozzle, resulting in a perfectly replicated custom cut foam insert.
Knife Cut
For creating prototype samples, fabricating small cases and handling production runs under 25 pieces, an exacting knife cut is the way to go. Our computer-controlled knife cutter is capable of serially producing multiple jobs from a single plank of foam.

When needed, this machine also employs a routing bit for "drilling" cavities, resulting in the creation of a glueless, continuous piece of foam.
Die-Cut
For the most professional look, foam can be custom cut using steel-rule dies and our in-house die-cutting presses. Die-cut foam is precision sized and smoothly shaped so your items will fit perfectly. From the smallest holes to the tightest curves, die-cut foam is the ultimate choice for optimal protection and look. Die-cutting is the usual fabrication method of choice for large-quantity runs and requires a one time tooling charge.
Wire Cut
For extra deep cases and larger-sized custom foam fabrications, there is no substitute for wire cutting. Our advanced computer-controlled abrasive wire cutting machine allows us to accurately cut foam as thick as 50"! For this method, you can supply your own CAD drawings or we can create one for you that suits your needs. All wire-cut foam fabrications require a one time programming charge.


Questions?
As with all aspects of MyCaseBuilder, if you have any questions we encourage you to contact us so we can help you make the perfect case.