When it comes to cutting foam of different thicknesses, the “one tool cuts all” approach won’t work. This is especially true if you’re cutting polyurethane (PU) and polyethylene (PE) – two of the most common types of foam used in packaging. PU is hard and high density, so a router cutter will easily do the job. But PE is light and very cushy, requiring a specific type of tool, like a knife blade. When programmed with an oscillating motion on the CNC, knife blades will cut PE with the exact precision it requires. Using a router bit on PE is like using a hacksaw to cut a sponge – probably not the result you were looking for! Save yourself the time and aggravation by using a multi-purpose router like the Trident.
Here are the top reasons why the Trident is your #1 solution for cutting foams of all thicknesses.
1. Dual cutting heads offers flexible cutting options
The Trident is configured with a routing spindle and one or two different knives. In the triple-Z configuration, the machine has the potential to also cut and crease corrugated cardboard. A combination of a specific spindle (either quick-release or collet) along with an oscillating or tangential knife will facilitate cutting of various types of foam including closed or open cell PE. The tangential knife is designed for heavier, thicker and harder materials than a traditional drag knife. When the CNC table is programmed accordingly, the knife blade follows the exact profile by rotating the blade to match the path. This allows the tangential knife to produce straight cut corners or true radii, always staying tangential to the line it cuts. An oscillating knife is a tool capable of cutting 70 mm-thick foam and also rotates to maintain its tangential direction to the cut path.
2. Versatility allows for prototyping and batch production
Multi-purpose CNC machines are ideal for batch production and also one-off prototyping. One example where this benefit comes into play is a custom case for high-value and very expensive field instruments. The foam in the case must be cut and shaped to the specificity required for the newly created case. Another prototyping example occurs with touring musician groups. Expensive amplifiers and consoles have to be packaged very carefully due to the intense and sometimes stress-filled moves from city to city. Multi-purpose routers with tangential and oscillating knives can help assure that foam packaging of costly musical instruments, lights and props will be able to handle the pounding of months of road travel, set-up and performance.
Watch a video clip of the Trident cutting foam packaging, demonstrating its fast and efficient processing of foam materials up to 4’ thick.