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# 177716 12-Aug-2015 13:12
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I'm planning on making some custom inserts for the drawers in my tool chest. 

The kind that have a cut out for each tool in a particular drawer to keep things tidy.

Can anyone suggest a good material?

Default option seem to be closed cell foam, but this is difficult to cut nicely.

Polystyrene will fall to bits.

Any other suggestions?

Needs to be: -
Reasonably light;
Reasonably durable;
About 20mm thick; and
Easy to cut holes into.




Mike

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  # 1363669 12-Aug-2015 13:57
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Expanding Foam, covered with plastic to stop the tools sticking to it, as used in packaging? Might take a bit dicking around to get right.

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  # 1363676 12-Aug-2015 14:12
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Previously known as psycik

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  # 1364767 12-Aug-2015 17:04
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Expanding foam would be OK to mould with, and I could do it in tray so to keep it the right size, but my experience is that little fragments tend to rub off it quite easily.



kiwitrc: Expanding Foam, covered with plastic to stop the tools sticking to it, as used in packaging? Might take a bit dicking around to get right.




Mike

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  # 1365150 13-Aug-2015 05:52
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MikeAqua: Expanding foam would be OK to mould with, and I could do it in tray so to keep it the right size, but my experience is that little fragments tend to rub off it quite easily.



kiwitrc: Expanding Foam, covered with plastic to stop the tools sticking to it, as used in packaging? Might take a bit dicking around to get right.


Then spray it with something like Rustoleum Rubber spray or a suitable paint.

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  # 1366262 14-Aug-2015 12:12
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When I've tried to do things like this, I get the following problems:

I lose or break one of the tools, the replacement is a different size or shape.
I buy an accessory for a tool, and then don't have anywhere logical to put it.
But that's just me and my relationship with sod's law.

Closed cell EVA foam sheet (available from Para Rubber) comes in different density, colours, thickness etc.  Some grades are easier to cut than others, perhaps the staff there can suggest something, as they're probably cutting it to size in store.



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  # 1366350 14-Aug-2015 13:51
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EVA was the first option I considered "closed cell foam".  It's possible to cut with a jigsaw, but doesn't cut very cleanly.  It's my default option if there isn't anything better.

I also thought about varnished balsa sheet, but I can't find it in big enough sheets, unless I go with end grain balsa which is a composite core material and expensive. 

I'm planning to use these for sockets, spanners, crescents, screw drivers.  Smaller stuff the slides around.  If I replace any of these, it will be with a very similar sized object e.g. all 10" crescents are about the same size. More uniquey shaped tools I will come up with something else for.




Mike

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  # 1366374 14-Aug-2015 14:24
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I just picked up some Norski pourable expanding foam for a different project, and they had a foamed sample. It's actually quite solid once set. Carvable, drillable, but certainly not soft like the canned foams, and not easily chipped or deformed. Almost on par with balsa.

Purchased from Smart Marine, in Beaumont Street, Westhaven, Auckland




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  # 1366393 14-Aug-2015 14:30
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Try cutting it with a sharp stanley knife - not a jigsaw.  When I say different density, it's also made with different polymer ratios etc, more rubbery/harder to cut, more rigid easier to cut.
You could also cut thinner thickness sheet and laminate sheets together (with contact adhesive).  For workshop tools, use black.  While I'd like to say that I always clean greasy dirty tools before I put them back in the toolbox, sometimes I'm too lazy.

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  # 1366404 14-Aug-2015 14:38
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Is it able to be cut in the same way as polystyrene is, i.e. hot wire?

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  # 1366406 14-Aug-2015 14:39
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notesgnome: Is it able to be cut in the same way as polystyrene is, i.e. hot wire?


The datasheet says it emits toxic fumes if heated.  So I guess that's not recommended



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  # 1367928 17-Aug-2015 14:21
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I've found the heavier (sleeping mat grade) EVA of any thickness difficult to cut with a knife.   I did laminate 4mm sheets with an identical cutout once to make transducer well.  The thin stuff is OK to cut with stanley knife.  straight lines are easy, curves are more difficult and end up untidy.  It was very difficult to cut the same shape into multiple layers

Not sure what the lighter stuff is like?

I have a lot of cutting to about ~50 sockets ~30 spanners, ~20 screw drivers, 6 crescents, 6 vice grips ....

I think I'll look into the Norski foam.  If it's millable then it will jigsaw/router/dremel nicely.  I can make plywood molds to manufacture blocks the right shape and then machine the holes in.





Mike

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  # 1369106 19-Aug-2015 10:11
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I've had a bit of experience with EVA foam for the same application, around 75kg/m3 density worked best, anything less wasn't durable and marked too easily, anything higher density was just more expensive.  
I've tried both laser cutting and water jet cutting and laser gave the best result, I had a black 12mm profile-cut layer with a yellow base so if something was missing it stood out, I also had the top layer laser etched with a label for each tool.  The foam wipes clean from light grease etc. but I try to give tools a quick wipe with a rag before putting them back.  The cost isn't really in the foam or the cutting (laser much cheaper than water), but it was in the drawing time - if you can work with any of the drawing programs and do this yourself that could be good option, or even a really detailed sketch would save on someone drawing for you.  I'm away this week but will try upload some pics when I'm back.



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  # 1370734 20-Aug-2015 10:03
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Sounds really neat. I like the idea of having two different coloured layers.

I could probably do the drawing.  I would only need to use basic shapes (alone or in combination) to create the cutouts. 

And they would all be straight sided, full depth cuts.







Mike

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