How to Cut Foam with Less Particulates

by Andy on September 14, 2012

ESD-Safe FoamSometimes you need to have foam lined shippers or storage, but you have the wrong size conductive or dissipative foam. Cutting foam can be difficult, especially low density foam which can leave behind particulates. There are some tools and techniques that you can use to limit particulation.

One of the simplest methods, if your foam is small enough, is to use a straight edge razor. This works best if the blade is sharp and rigid to give you the most control over your cut. When cutting it is best to pull the blade through the whole foam once, if you saw at the foam you will generate many more particulates. Because you want to make a single pass with the blade completely through the foam, the piece you are cutting needs to be small enough to reach your arm across as well as thin enough for your blade to cut through.

If your foam is too big to use a razor you can use a band saw, but the blade should have very fine teeth or, if possible, a smooth blade. Any serrated blade will cause more particulates, so the smoother the better. Also a band saw works best if it has a high RPM to make the cut as smoothly as possible. If you have the equipment for it you can also hot wire cut larger foam pieces. The hot wire should help reduce particulate by melting the foam.

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