How to Choose your Foam

Foam 101 - How to Choose the Right Custom Foam

Your foam is your design's canvas.
After you finish your perfect design, you'll be asked to choose what type of foam we use to create your custom insert. But which is the right foam for your application?

Step 1: Base Foam
Your design, when translated into foam, is called the Base. We offer three different kinds of foam for your Base: Ester (Polyurethane), PE (Polyethylene) and Pro-Cell. Ester foam is spongy and forgiving, exhibiting excellent shock absorption. PE foam is fairly dense, moderately pliable, and offers a secure, snug fit. Pro-Cell foam is slightly more dense than PE, has a tighter cell structure and suede-like finish. 
While PE foam is suitable for most designs, you can view the comparison chart below to help decide which one is right for you:

MyCaseBuilder® Foam Comparison

  • Good for more delicate objects that may break on modest impact (example: crystal stemware).
  • Good for irregularly-shaped objects (example: digital SLR camera).
  • MyCaseBuilder standard case foam; suitable for most applications.
  • Good for heavier objects which need to be secured in place (example: handgun).
  • Good for objects that can absorb a modest amount of shock without being damaged (example: electric drill).
  • Refined finish is good for display kits and lighter-duty use.
  • Higher density will support heavier objects
  • Not suitable for industrial use as foam surface may pit or scar from rough handling.
Step 2: Lid Foam
For designs that require foam for a case's lid, MyCaseBuilder offers two options: Convoluted foam and Solid (flat) foam. Convoluted foam (also known as egg-crate foam) is the standard for lid foam, offering suitable protection while securing case items in place. It is also recommended for designs where items may protrude from the Base into the case lid. Solid Foam is much less widely used, appropriate only for cases with very shallow lids (under 5/8"), or for designs where all items sit flush with the surface of the base foam. Of course, since you're the designer the choice is yours!

Foam Fabrication Methods

Once your design is complete and your order is placed, it's cutting time. Our factory is outfitted with many computer-controlled precision cutting machines and we employ the right one for each job to ensure your case foam comes out perfect.

Foam Cutting Methods
Water-Jet Cut
Nothing matches the speed and accuracy of our double-headed Water Jet cutters. These machines cool, compress and stream a high-powered 0.020" (0.5mm) wide jet of water that cleanly slices even the most durable foams we offer. Every intricacy of your custom foam design will be picked up by the ultra smooth movement of the jet nozzle, resulting in a perfectly replicated custom cut foam insert.
Knife or Router Cut
For creating prototype samples, fabricating small cases and handling production runs under 25 pieces, an exacting knife cut fits the bill. Our computer-controlled reciprocating knife cutter is capable of serially producing multiple jobs from a single plank of foam.

When needed, this machine also employs a routing bit for "drilling" cavities, resulting in the creation of a glueless, continuous piece of foam.
Foam can also be custom cut using steel-rule dies and our in-house die-cutting presses. Die-cut foam is precision sized and smoothly shaped so your items will fit perfectly. From the smallest holes to the tightest curves, die-cutting is the usual fabrication method of choice for large-quantity runs and requires a one time tooling charge for the creating of the steel-rule die.
Wire Cut
For extra deep cases and larger-sized custom foam fabrications, there is no substitute for wire cutting. Our advanced computer-controlled abrasive wire cutting machine allows us to accurately cut foam as thick as 50"! For this method, you can supply your own CAD drawings or we can create one for you that suits your needs. All wire-cut foam fabrications require a one time programming charge.

As with all aspects of MyCaseBuilder, if you have any questions we encourage you to contact us so we can help you make the perfect case.