How to Shape Expanded Polystyrene
Typically, there are two ways to shape expanded polystyrene:
- In the final stage of the conversion process the polystyrene beads can be reheated into prefabricated shaped moulds to achieve the desired shape. This process can be seen in the following video. http://www.bpf.co.uk/data/iframe/EPS_animation.html
- Alternatively, in the final stage, the polystyrene can be shaped into large blocks which are cut with hot wires to achieve the final shape and size required.
Carving, sanding and sawing is also commonly used for shaping polystyrene blocks but requires much more individual artistic ability.
At Molygran we use CAD controlled CNC machinery to hot wire cut polystyrene into both 2D and 3D objects. We do not mould polystyrene. For us, no order is too big or small, and this is one of the main reasons we use hot wire cutting.
If a customer requires a small amount of packaging, the cost of setting up a mould will make the final product far too expensive. With our CNC hot wire machinery, our set up costs are much lower which allows us to complete smaller orders at an extremely competitive price.
Moulded polystyrene products often have a minimum run of around 10,000 pieces. This can be more cost effective for extremely large orders which can be completed in relatively short periods of time. However, lead times are often extended quite substantially by weeks or even months when new moulds have to be set up. With Molygran new orders to be run on the same day.
We have 130 years’ experience within our team and we know our machines inside out. With CAD to CNC hot wire cut machinery, extreme precision can be achieved when converting polystyrene into your desired products. With a +/- 2mm tolerance, even the most delicate of designs can be re-created.
Polystyrene is a material that can easily be shaped. From moulding to carving, and of course, hot wire cutting, almost any shape can be achieved using EPS!