I post a lot of how to articles and tips and tricks. In each I’m always talking about the tools I’m using and I always try and place an Amazon link on there so that you can get the same tools that I’m using. Since the 15th is Amazon prime day and I’ve had a lot of questions recently on tools I use, here’s a list of my most used tools and materials that I’ve compiled.
Click the text for links to the products!
The Dremel: A must have tool for every shop, there are many different models and accessories to go along with it. I own the 4000 model with variable speed setting. There are simpler and cheaper models that get the job done if you’re looking to save a little more.
Sanding/Grinding Bits: These bits are the most used when fabricating with foam. There are many different shaped grinding bits not included in this pack that are wonderful for foam, like this bit for example. Or you could grab this jumbo pack right here!
Flex Shaft Attachment: This attachment is a great upgrade to your Dremel tool. It will give you added dexterity and more control when carving and shaping materials.
Cutting Tools: There’s two different types of hobby knives I use…
Snap-Off Blade: These blades are great for cutting foam and soft plastics. The length means no scoring the foam, so it leaves nice clean edges, so long as it’s kept sharp.
Craft Knife: This is your common X-acto knife, but this one has a great grip that will spare your hand and fingers when cutting a lot of material.
Sharpener: This little sharpener is a great buy for any fabricator. It keeps your blades sharp and your edges super clean! I can use the same blade for several weeks with this sharpener. Maker sure you lubricate the sharpener before using it. A little WD-40 works great!
Measuring Tools: Measure twice, cut once! Every maker needs a way to measure!
Metal Ruler: My 24″ metal ruler is used on a daily bases for measuring, lining up stuff, as a straight edge, and for guiding the x-acto blade when I cut foam. Metal is preferred as it won’t snap in half, and there’s no risk of cutting into it when using it as a straight edge. I also have other various lengths of rulers, but I grab this guy more times then not.
Square: This is the second most used ruler I have. Keeps things squared off and lined up correctly.
Heat Gun: A must have for shaping your foam! A hair dryer just won’t cut it.
Air Brush: My new favored way to paint props. I love air brushing for many reasons. I can match any color I need, there’s no brush strokes, it has a nice even consistency, to name a few reasons. You don’t have to get the top of the line to get started, you just need a simple model to get your foot in the door. I recommend this starter set because is has 3 different brushes, and a tiny compressor to help you get started. It’s one heck of a deal!
Big Tools: If you want to really up your foam fabrication game, these tools will help you get there. They will save you time, give you cleaner and nicer results, and make your life all around easier when fabricating.
Bench Sander: This is the first tool I suggest getting if you want to start upping your foam fabrication game. It eats foam like butter and leaves you with nice straight clean edges. Removes bad seams as if they weren’t even there. I love my Bench Sander!
Band Saw: This is another one of those great upgrades to your shop when foam fabricating. What matters most is that you are using a blade with a high TPI (teeth per square inch) The finer the teeth, the cleaner the cut. I use this machine 90% of the time to cut materials. It can be set and various cutting angles, and has an adjustable guide so you can cut strips at the perfect width.
Scroll Saw: This is similar to the band saw, but for smaller more detailed pieces, and it can make interior cuts.
Oscillating Sander: This tool is great for sanding curved areas, or thick blocks of foam that you want to keep at a 90 degree angle. I find this tool comes in handy with larger projects.
Foam: An essential crafting material, and I get most all of mine online. For the larger floor mats I get them from We Sell Mats. They have options on thickness and color. For thinner stuff I get the craft foam, which usually comes in 3mm and 6mm thickness.
Glue: Can’t foam fabricate with out it! I use several kinds…
Barge: My favorite contact cement, this stuff is magic in a can! Just make sure you are wearing a respirator and working in a well ventilated area.
Hot Glue: I use this mostly for straps and interior stuff in costumes and props, what matters here is that you have a good quality hot glue gun. This is the model that I use!
Paints: There’s a handful of brands that I prefer to use. (Since I can’t link just the brand i linked the first color that came up)
Tamyia: These are great paints with wonderful pigments and a nice finish, they work well with air brushing and can be thinned down with some rubbing alcohol.
Vallejo: These paints have a massive color selection, some for airbrush and some for hand painting. They also have a line of metallic paints that I’ve grown very fond of.
Basics: These are great acrylic paints for brushing, and also pretty affordable
Design Master: They have a great line of metallic spray paints that work well with foam.
Angelus: These are leather paints, which means they are flexible, always a plus with painting foam, they work best with brush on application.
Respirator: Protect your lungs! If you’re spray, sanding, or putting particles in the air wear a respirator, even if you good ventilation. Don’t go cheap here, this is your health after all. 3M is a good reliable brand.
Safety Glasses: Color and style don’t really matter so much here, only function. Protect your eyes! We don’t have robot eye replacements yet, so protect the set you have. Wear eye protection.
I’m sure I’m forgetting something, But I’ll be adding these to my FAQ page soon. Look for them there as I keep them updated and add to the list of tools and materials.
Gloves: protect your hands when using chemicals, and keep finger prints off of your paint jobs. wear gloves! The linked gloves are latex free, for those with allergy concerns.
I may have missed a few things, but this list should cover most of it! I’ll be adding this list to my FAQ and keeping it updated as I find new tools and materials to recommend.