Polystyrene Foam is one of the most widely used materials for decoration, for millions of holiday display props each year. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) has been used as the material of choice for food packaging, cost-effective and energy-efficient in construction applications, and as a cushioning packaging material for transporting valuable and fragile goods. EPS is also widely used in the display advertising industry.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS), with its simplicity, no high-technology required and low price has been widely used in the advertising industry since the last century. Even today, the trend for EPS sculptural decoration and 3D letters continues unabated because of its lightweight, individual design, paintable surface, and high-quality appearance. At the same time, EPS is a recyclable material that can be recycled at the end of its use.
EPS Displays can be very compelling. You would like to cut the following, letters, special characters, logos, signatures, pictograms, symbols, decorations, ornaments, other sculptures from polystyrene.
It can be used for shop decoration, exhibitions, promotions, and celebrations. they are typically first carved out by tools, painted, coated with glitter, or surface mounted other lightweight sheets such as acrylic and KT board applied to the surface of the word. And we will go into detail about what to expect during the production of polystyrene displays.
1, How to make the shape with the EPS material.
Hand cutting with the heating wire
A small vertical or horizontal polystyrene cutter is used for the cutting. We place the customized stencil on the top and bottom of the EPS block and then cut it along the edge of the stencil using a heated nichrome wire. Temperature control is critical, the temperature of heated nichrome wire is probably set in the range of 100-200 degrees celsius, if the temperature is too low, it will not be possible to cut or leave ripples on the cross-section of polystyrene. If the temperature is too high, the nichrome wire will melt off the surface of the material and the cutting accuracy will be reduced.
It is important to note that before you start cutting, clean the trash on the wire or replace it with a new nickel chrome wire, and also push the EPS brick slowly during the cutting process, without too much force, or it will leave scratches.
If the polystyrene cut out is rough to the touch with some filaments, lightly sanding the surface with sandpaper will make it smoother.
EPS CNC cutting machine
EPS CNC cutting machine is divided into many types according to different sizes and different applications of the product. EPS CNC router cutting machine is a computer-controlled machine, which can cut EPS materials in three-phase coordinates. By using a computer-controlled micro-motor to move, the EPS CNC router cutting machine cuts and performs the corresponding cutting function.
The precision control allows the 5 axis CNC router machine to cut almost any given shape. Products with irregular or curved shapes can be selected for CNC cutting. Some customized holiday store window props in stores or complex shapes for large carnivals can be made with EPS CNC router cutting machines.
EPS injection tooling
Injection-molded foam is a foam manufacturing process that creates soft foam products direct from the compound into a final product. This process eliminates the steps required for die-cutting and compression molding, as it manufactures the foam and the product simultaneously.
Because of the high cost of molds, they are only recommended for large quantities. Mold forming reduces the waste of raw materials and restricts the shape of the product to a minimum. This method is more often used to make cushioning material for specific shapes of packaging, but it can also be used if you have large quantities of polystyrene special shapes with unusual shapes that cannot be cut with heating wires.
2, How to color on the EPS.
Natural white EPS letters are the most economical method of providing an impact for your event with bright letters, and many exhibitions also feature pure white EPS works. You can also paint it in a variety of bright colors to make it more eye-catching. Generally, water-based paint is used to color EPS, and there are two methods of coloring: spray paint with a spray gun and brush with a manual brush.
The general procedure for the brush method is to brush the work with white latex, let it dry naturally, and then apply the desired water-based paint in layers.
The spray gun method does not require the white latex, just mix the water-based pigment with water and spray directly onto the product with the spray gun. EPS can also be sprayed with paint with glitter powder.
There is also a quick way to color: soak, soak EPS letters in pigment, and then take out to dry, although this method is very efficient if the pigment consistency is not well grasped, it is easy to produce tears on the product, is not very recommended.
3, How to bond the EPS.
Many types of adhesives can bond EPS. However it can be vulnerable to stress cracking or corrode the EPS, so be careful when choosing adhesives for it. EPS should not be bonded with adhesives containing organic solvents, otherwise, the white EPS will be blackened by organic solvent corrosion.
They can be held up with double-sided tape, or a solvent-free glue, such as UHU glue, which can be repositioned during the bonding process, but the holding time is longer.
There are adhesives available on the market specifically for use with EPS, which can be easily found by searching the Internet.
When pasting acrylic sheets on the surface of EPS, you can use the right amount of hot melt adhesive, which can securely fix acrylic and EPS at the same time, but pay attention to the amount of adhesive used, too much hot melt adhesive will have a thickness after cooling, making the bonding surface uneven.
4, How to pack and ship the EPS Props safety.
Due to the nature of EPS, the material is mostly air, light, and soft, which can easily damage the product during manufacturing operations and transportation, so care should be taken when packaging.
1) In a plastic bag
If the foam surface is subjected to constant friction during transportation, it may change in appearance or even lose its skin (color). Before using cushioning material, placing EPS displays in a suitable sized OPP or PE bag protects the surface of the foam while reducing surface contamination (color cascading).
(2) Protected by cushioning materials
EPS can be deformed or even break when subjected to constant external forces during transportation. When packing, it is necessary to use a cushioning material between the box and the EPS to protect it, such as EPE or EPS itself.
(3) Proper temperature
Plastic foam deforms and melts at high temperatures and should be transported to avoid hot environments, such as hot cabins.