Costume Musings

FoamWerks cutting tools!

FoamWerks sent us their Deluxe FoamWerks kit to test on Worbla, so we gave it to Amanda (Elemental Photography and Design) and Vicky (Vickybunnyangel Cosplay) to run the set through the paces of cutting Worbla, EVA foam and Sintra.

You can see the tests they did live on Twitch here, starting at the 1h13 mark!

Overall:
FoamWerks Cutters are handy for cutting Worbla and foam especially if you have difficulty gripping/controlling an Xacto knife. The ergonomic design makes it comfortable to grasp and utilizes more of your arm strength taking the strain off of your hand muscles – Amanda has tendinitis and grip issues, and this was a huge benefit for her especially. Here’s a breakdown of the standout tools we tried:

WB6020 Freestyle Cutter

V: Originally meant as a push style cutter, we found it worked better “pulling” on Worbla. Starting from the middle of a sheet (you can’t start from the edge, so if you’re drawing the outline of your design make sure you leave enough allowance between the edge), the Freestyle Cutter can do complex curves and worked with a single layer of Worbla. The precision was not as exact as cutting with scissors, however this could be used to cut out basic shapes before using scissors to cut out the finer details.

A: I had more success with this than Vicky, and I think if I had one I’d use it for cutting my large general shapes (such as cutting out pieces for sandwiching) because it’s faster than scissors but also doesn’t strain my wrists the way a xacto knife or scissors would. I do a lot of sandwiching and folding and this would cut that basic shape time (and strain) in half.

WC-6001 Straight Cutter

V: The Straight Cutter is a much larger tool with a wide flat base to provide stability when cutting straight lines. It can be used free hand, or in conjunction with the W-3001 Channel Rail. The Straight Cutter has a build in channel guide that will lock onto the tracks of the W-3001 ruler to prevent slippage. Very handy for making worbla strips consistent in width for edge details. We found it can handle 2 layers of fused Worbla with some effort, otherwise it easily cuts 1 layer.

A: This is a game changer for me – I hate the time it takes to cut lots and lots of strips for Worbla detailing, and while a rotary cutter might work well for some, the replacement blades are just too expensive for me to want to dull them on plastic, while the blades of the straight cutter stay sharp even after many cuts on both foam and Worbla. Especially after cutting through 2 layers of black, I’ll be using this for my Sailor Mercury build!


Above: Strips cut with the straight cutter. The bottom strip of black was done freehand with scissors for a comparison.

WC-2001 V-Groove Cutter

V: Worbla is too thin to use with the V-Groove cutter which requires a minimum thickness of ⅛”. Typically it’s used for foamboard. It can cut material up to a max thickness of ½” . It will cut a “v” shaped strip out of your material so you can make seamless 45 degree joints. The real takeaway though is the strip that is extracted. It creates that perfect beveled triangle edge that is so prevalent in a lot of armor designs like Warcraft – we tried this on 6mm EVA foam with great success.

The V-Groove Cutter can cut in a straight line, or cut curves so you can customize how your strip will turn out if you want minimal twisting i.e. to get an “S” shape.

A: This so did not work at all on Worbla, but the application on foam is really, really neat. If you do a lot of armor that requires that sharp raised beveled edge, this could save a lot of time with a dremel. You have to get the right hang of how ‘deep’ to push as you extract the foam or you’ll have an uneven V shape, but once I got the hang of it I was sold. This is getting added to my toolshop.

WA-8001 Circle Cutter

V: The circle cutter is a bit of a niche tool, but if you ever need to cut perfect circles out of Worbla, this is great for that. It’s easy to use with the crank handle slowly lowering the blade in a circular motion. It can cut through multiple layers of Worbla. The circle cutter creates circles between 1” – 6” diameter

A: I wish I could think of a better application for it, since circles are so niche, but man this was just FUN and very rewarding to use. If you do have a costume that requires circles, consider this instead of shelling out for a laser cutter.

WD8011 Hole Drill

V: This picks up where the Circle Cutter leaves off. If you are making say a corset out of Worbla or need to create holes for a lace-up system to attach your armor, then this can be a handy tool to achieve that. Then you can install grommets to further strengthen the holes. It’s small in size and portable compared to the large Circle Cutter.

It’s recommended that your holes be drilled in your Worbla pieces, before you heat shape them as you need a flat surface to properly use the tool.

A: Vicky pretty much sums it up! I think the fact it can give you really clean, sharp holes is great – usually I just poke holes with a leather tool, but they don’t come out this clean and even. We didn’t end up testing this on video while we were streaming, but it’s very simple to use. And it comes with multiple sizes!

WC-6010 Straight/ Bevel Cutter

A: Admission time. We tackled all of these live on Twitch, and the kit instructions on the bevel/straight edge cutter weren’t clear, so we didn’t see a ‘value’ in it and set it aside. The next afternoon I decided to give it another try because I felt like we must have been doing something wrong – and so I watched a YouTube video to realize that we’d missed a step completely.

Giving the bevel cutter a second chance was really quite awesome – it gives you sharp, perfectly beveled edges at 45 degrees, similar to the V groove cutter but useful when you need to bevel an edge. It isn’t strong enough to cut through multiple layers of Worbla, so it would be something to use on EVA foam, as Worbla just isn’t thick enough on its own for that bevel to matter. That said, I really love how neat and clean the cuts were and how easy it was to get that edge

Conclusion!

Overall we think the Straight Cutter, Hole Drill, Bevel Edge Cutter, and V Groove Cutter have a lot of potential for speeding up the process for cosplayers, and the freestyle cutter may be a great help to folks who would like to cut down on scissor/xacto knife use at the start of a build. These aren’t replacements for your normal tools, but if you want to save time or are looking for some more ergonomic tools to add to your toolbox, look into FoamWerks!


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