|Balsa Foam - Sculpting Made Easy!|
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Imagine being able to make your bases like these...Frerik shows how you can!
Feature Competition Winner - January 2011
It comes in three types... I, II and III. Type I being the softest and type III the hardest, meaning type I is easiest to sculpt and carve but also easiest to dent or damage. Types II and III are harder, but also strong enough to use in vacuum forming.
Three types - which one to use?
Direct from the producer:
From a UK Distributor:
Or down under:
This dust can irritate your eyes when it gets into them, and I can imagine that like any fine dust such as MDF dust, it is bad for your health when inhaled!
Balsa foam can be cut with a knife, or a large coping saw or even a small razor saw. It can be sanded smooth, or roughed up. It can be carved with hobby knives, or sculpted with one. It can be scribed with almost anything.
For sculpting you can use a set such as that shown below from X-acto or Proedge....
For scribing, similar sets can be obtained. The top four tools shown below, are in a set, whilst the bottom three are separate items.
Here's a close-up of these last two, that I use the most. A seam-scraper, and a panel line scraper.
Then there are needle files...use cheap ones for Balsa Foam!
And there are various embossing tools you could use...easily made yourself from rounded off nails, brass wire or plastic, etc.
Also most usefully, an old stiff toothbrush, and a soft brush to wipe away excess dust without damaging detail!
Making a scribing tool
Fold the paperclip open - don't cut it just yet, as this is easier to hold! Hold it against a cutting disk in your motor tool. Grind the blunt tip to a more or less sharp one...it doesn't have to be as sharp as a needle...you'll find different ones more or less comfortable and easy to work with. This can also be done with a file, should you not have a motor tool available.
Next...cut off a length and insert it into your handle...voila! A scribing tool.
As you experiment with different scribing techniques, you might want to make a few more - thicker or thinner wire, blunt ends, differently bent wires...or even straight strips of material.
Eager to start
Ask yourself these sorts of questions:
What do I want to make? How can I make it more interesting to the viewer? What is the scale I am going to be building it in? What size should the doors or windows be?
Notice the cutting back of a few bricks to add interest.
Here is an example of how planning and drawing is applied to a definite project. This is a one-off original made from Type I Balsa Foam.