FOAMBOARD Handling & Cutting
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GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS 

CUTTING

The original Fome-Cor® Graphic Arts board consists of a sheet of extruded polystyrene foam

laminated on both sides with bleached white clay-coated kraft paper liners. For more than 35 years, its

superior combination of light weight and rigidity has made it a preferred material for a wide variety of

Graphic Arts applications ranging from point-of-purchase and department store displays to picture

framing and photo mounting. The product line has expanded to include such variations as Acid-Free,

solid black, glossy surface colors, and a version with heat activated adhesive on one side. Following are

some general guidelines for working with Fome-Cor board.

MOUNTING ON FOME-COR BOARD

DISPLAY MATERIALS: Printed papers, foils, and fabrics can all be mounted on Fome-Cor board

provided the proper types of adhesives are selected. Mounting can be accomplished on most standard

equipment capable of applying adhesive and laminating sheets or roll stock to rigid boards. It is

recommended that the clearance of the laminating rolls be adjusted so that the board is compressed

slightly (0.010" - 0.020") to assure a good bond. To maintain maximum flatness, it may be desirable to

back mount with a liner of comparable strength, using the same adhesive.

ARTWORK & PHOTOS: When dry mounting on Fome-Cor board, the temperature of the press

should follow the adhesive manufacturer's directions. Generally, the lower recommended temperatures

work best. If possible, keep temperatures below 200º F. And residence time less than one minute. Any

tendency to bow may be minimized by preheating the board before mounting, and by placing the

mounted artwork under a glass sheet during final cooling. (For more information on using Heat

Activated Fome-Cor board, please refer to our special technical bulletin on that product.)

Vacuum mounting with or without heat can be done quite well on Fome-Cor board. Spray adhesives

and wet mounting techniques are suitable for the board's paper surface. To prevent bowing when wet

mounting, it may be necessary to apply a counter-mount of comparable strength on the back side. It is

advisable to avoid using an excess of bonding agent. Placing weights on the edges of the board while it

dries may also be useful.

Pressure roller applicators have a tendency to crush the foam and reduce the rigidity of the mounted

board. One-eighth-inch-thick Fome-Cor board is the best for this purpose, since it has a dense,

crush-resistant center. In order to keep the leading edge from rounding as it goes through the roller, use

the 1/8" plastic lead or guide provided with many applicator units.

CUTTING

GENERAL: Fome-Cor board can be cut by hand with mat knives, utility knives, and razor blades.

The key to getting a smooth, clean cut without foam tearing is to use a very sharp thin blade held at as

low an angle as possible to the board. This reduces friction and allows the foam to slice rather than tear.

If a straightedge is being used as a guide, it may be practical to make the cut in more than one pass,

especially if the board being cut is 3/8" thick ST.

Fome-Cor® Technical Bulletin

 

Mat cutters make smooth, excellent cuts, either right-angled or beveled. Cardboard and glass cutters

also work well. Again, the blade should be sharp, clean, and thin. To eliminate any foam tearing, it may

be advisable to make the cut in more than one pass.

Large-scale straight-line cutting of Fome-Cor board can be done in one of several ways, including with

automated razor blade cutters, circular saws, band saws, or even guillotine cutters.

The cleanest high-volume cuts can be obtained from hand-operated or powered cutters that utilize

replaceable razor blades. Several of these powered devices are available and hand-operated equipment

can be easily fabricated.

Circular saws can be utilized to obtain clean cuts. The blades selected should be specifically designed

for cutting foam boards. General Saw Company makes a blade for this use. Other manufacturers make

thin-rimmed, high-speed carbide-tipped plastic cutting blades (72-80 25-degree alternating teeth on a

10" blade) acceptable for cutting Fome-Cor board. Band saws with a similar tooth design and a linear

speed approximating 9000 ft./min. can be used.

Though not generally recommended because they can compress and fray the edges of the board, a

guillotine cutter can be used to cut one or more sheets at a time. Caution must be observed to prevent

the foot-clamp from indenting the board's edge. A stop block placed on each side of the foot-clamp

may be necessary. A sheet of cardboard on top of the Fome-Cor board may reduce compression. The

blade must be maintained sharp and cut with a scissors motion.

Cutting intricate curves and shapes can be accomplished with a Cutawl model K-11 power tool.

Cutawl 21D or 23D blades are available for cutting Fome-Cor board.

DIE CUTTING: Fome-Cor board is superior to other foam boards in its ability to die cut smoothly

and cleanly, without cracking. When cut with a standard rule, Fome-Cor board's edges with compress

and stay closed, creating an attractive three-dimensional "pillow effect." Continuous, medium to hard

ejection rubber gives the best results. If a closed edge is not desired, a 2- or 3-point serrated rule with

10-20 teeth per inch may be used.

Moisture content of the paper liner must be adequate for clean die cutting. Therefore, it is best not to die

cut boards immediately after they have been dried in hot air ovens.

EMBOSSING

The original Fome-Cor board is superior in its ability to be readily cold embossed (or debossed) in the

same standard commercial equipment used for die cutting. Attractive 3-D embossing effects are often

accomplished simultaneously with die cutting, thus eliminating the need for specialized equipment or a

second operation.

 

 

PRINTING

Fome-Cor's white, clay-coated paper liners are chosen for their excellent screen printing characteristics,

including fine line detail, good ink holdout, and fast drying rates. Water-based, solvent-based, or UV

inks are generally suitable. Fome-Cor's smooth surface makes it ideal for any printing operation which

can utilize rigid flat sheet stock.

PAINTING

Fome-Cor board can be painted with poster colors, acrylic paints, tempera, India ink, and latex-based

pigments. Depending on the application, oil or water-based paints may also be suitable. Lacquers,

shellacs, and solvent-based paints should be used only when not allowed to penetrate the liner or

contact the foam edge.

When coating most of one side of a panel, the back side of the panel should also be coated to maintain

more perfect long-term flatness. When possible, place weights at the edges when allowing the board to

dry.

STORAGE

To reduce any tendency to bow, store boxes flat whenever possible. Store Fome-Cor board in the

same environmental conditions as it will be used, and avoid extremes of humidity and temperature.

FLAMMABILITY

Fome-Cor board is combustible and may constitute a fire hazard if improperly used. Do not expose to

open flame or other ignition source.

Since we exercise no control over the way in which our products are stored, handled or used after shipment from our

premises, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made as to the effects of their use. Our products are offered in good

faith and our representatives are available to help the customer obtain the best results based on information and tests

believed reliable. Our only warranty obligation is to accept return of material which we have determined to be

defective. International Paper makes no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, including without limitation any

implied warranty of merchantabilty or fitness for a particular purpose. No person is authorized to make any

representation or warranty on behalf of International Paper and any such statement shall not be binding.

® Fome-Cor is a registered trademark of International Paper

® Cutawl is a registered trademark of J.F. Helmold & Brothers, Inc.

© International Paper 1999

Fome-Cor® Technical Bulletin

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