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CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.
How-to Cut Camera Case Foam
I was looking at some of articals in CloudyNights on eyepiece case construction. I noted something in common ... cutting the foam.
I ran into this problem a couple of decades ago. Made a real mess out of my first attempt. After much experimentation I came up with a method of cutting that is really off the wall but works very nicely.
What you need to do is soak the foam block in water and wring it out as dry as you can. Then place it in your freezer for a day. This stiffens the foam enough where it can be cut quite cleanly with a serrated steak knife.
You do not want to freeze a block of foam that is soaking wet. It becomes as hard as a brick. But wrung out it is stiffened just enough to make cutting a breeze.
When you freeze the block of foam it needs to be on a flat surface. Also, you want to place a piece of wax paper between the foam and the surface to prevent the foam from sticking to the surface,
I have considered trying to freeze a block that is completely soaked and cutting holes in with a hole saw. Would be an interesting experiment, but I have not tried it.
Once you have the foam cut as you want it, you need to let it dry out before using it. I left mine out for two weeks to let all of the water evaporate. I suspect a couple of days would have been enough, but I would rather be safe than sorry with my expensive optics.
I have seen the cubed foam that is available now, but I have never tried it, but I think it would get ragged out in fairly short order. I think I would prefer the foam in my case to be one solid piece, cut only where needed.
You have my permission to reproduce this letter for publication or any other purpose. If you patent this method for cutting foam ... remember me in your will.
From: Spisak, Daniel (SPID)
Subject: cutting foam
Date: Monday, March 26, 2001 3:26 PM
The local foam shop in Concord, CA advises to use an old electric carving
knife. The blade is usually thin enough to cut some curves.