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Custom Prop Fabrication - Combo of Foam Machining & 3D Printing

We created this bottle custom prop by using a combination of techniques and materials. CNC machining High Density Urethane foam, then coating it with Epoxy, covering it with automotoive bondo, then painting and lastly placing vinyl print and voilà - Over 6ft of Bottle Prop for our customer in Florida

oversize custom bottle prop cnc machined hard coated with epoxy and bondo, painted and placed vinyl print design
Oversize Bottle Foam Prop

We started the process by machining 10lbs high density Urethane foam (also known as HDU). The whole prop is over 6ft, machined in 2 sections glued together, then sanded for a smoother finish.

The cap and hanger were made by 3D printing PLA material.

We made a slit at the foam to fit the cap and hanger into, then glued them in.

Next phase was to place a few coats of white Epoxy hard coating.

What is the add-on value of Epoxy Coating to a prop?

Epoxy coating is a great agent to be used to cover foam props, giving it a shiny glossy look, adding some durability to the foam.

Although it is definitely not as strong as Polyurea hard coat that is applied with a reactor spray gun and resebles plastic/corning, this epoxy coating can still add strength. It can also protect the foam a bit from being chipped or from fingerprints that might be visible if they go straight onto the painted faom without coating.

Of course, if you lean on the epoxy coated prop, sit on it, stand on it or throw it on the ground it will still break, so you still have to treat it with cautios. It's not magic but eastethically speaking it is a gread add-on.

Theater Stage Exhibit from Styrofoam
Epoxy hard coat over HDU foam prop

But... Then this just happend.

While placing the bottle on its head cap for painting, it mysteriously was knocked down.

The bottle broke right next to the cap.

Fast, fast, what do we do?

Well, no panic that's for sure - We decided to not only fix the broken cap but also to make the whole thing stronger, so we placed Automotive Bondo

broken HDU machined bottle ptop
Oops, did that just happend?

What is Bondo Material & how can you implement it into custom prop fabrication?

For the next stage, we coated the already epoxy coated bottle prop with an automotive grey bondo. This material, found in any hardware store, is a polyester putty produt that can be used as a filler. It is great for foam props as it is a thinner and lighter material than the texture mud we sometime use for props.

This opens up a lot of possibilities for making large-scale props that are inexpensive, lightweight yet durable.

To make the prop even more durable and strong, we placed wood inside the cap. We then fabricated a base plate for the bottle and painted it black.

It was made as a removable plate base with 2 screws to hold it in place.

securing a removable base to a foam prop
Securing a removable base to a prop

Next we painted the bottle with a grey acrylic paint. We then applied a vinyl print design onto the bottle. The customer supplied us the ai art file for the print.

vinyl print design over foam prop
Placing a vinyl design print onto the prop

Here are some photos of the vinyl design print glued onto the prop

And here is the completed product shipped to the customer

cnc machined hard coated 3d printed vinyl print prop
Displayed HDU prop with vinyl and 3D print

See more of our props and other things we do such as letters, logos, signs, exhibits, sculptures, prototypes and more on our website WeCutFoam


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