Polyethylene Foam

I am getting ready to cut some 1" polyethylene foam on this machine. I wanted to record my progress on here since I can’t seem to find much information on cutting this material.
The purpose of this project is to solve the packaging problem in our assembly department. Currently, we bag everything in foam and plastic bags, then use cardboard to keep the layers of parts rigid. Of course that goes in to a cardboard box.
For softer material like copper, we box each item individually. So, our solution is to use PE foam to create a rigid pattern of channels for the parts to go into.

After writing the above statement, I found the cutting calculator and saw that Wazer does not recommend cutting 1" material. Well, I thought that was pretty hypocritical of the “cut any material” statement, so I gave it a try.
My test cut was 3.5 second pierce at 60 IPM. This cut ALMOST all the way thru. It was so close, that bottom layer was a lot like a perforated cut, so I was just able to tear the dropouts off. The solution is definitely 4s pierce at 50 ipm. I’ll update results once we get the material in.

*edit: this was without abrasive.


We got some material in to test this out. It’s much denser than our original test material, and much messier.
1 second pierce with 50 IPM feed is perfect. I could probably speed it up, but so far I haven’t had issues with the cut quality.

Here’s the issue: the mess. This foam creates a very fine powder when cut that tends to float on the top of the water, clogging the intake/drain filters very quickly. Every 30 minutes of cutting, you have to clean the filters, making this into a very long process.

I’m going to update this post, and finalize my project.

Don’t cut foam in the Wazer. It creates these little microparticles that clog the filter very quickly. I didn’t notice at first, but as I cut more foam for this project, I had the machine pause more and more often, to the point where every two minutes, it would pause and have me check the filters.

I’ve since cleaned out the machine and it’s improved. But damn that gets messy quick. So, I would discourage anyone from cutting foam on this machine unless they have some idea to pre-filter the debris.

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