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Fabrication Techniques

Málama’s bio-foam panels can be cut, fastened, glued, surfaced and finished using a number of traditional fabrication techniques. Our light-weight structural panels have consistent cell structure and uniform density. They machine professionally and surface beautifully. Always follow proper procedures to assure safety and avoid injury.

Cutting:

Radial saws, band saws and rip saws effectively cut AinaCore® and Studio BioFoam®. Eye protection, dust masks and a dust collection system are advised. Hot wire cutting or shaping of our products is not recommended. While often used on EPS, the greater heat resistance of urethane foam makes hot wire a less than effective, even dangerous cutting technique.

Shaping:

Studio BioFoam® is an ideal core material for shaping complex three-dimensional forms. Standard hand tools (shapers, planers, sanders and hand tools) are effective on our material. Studio BioFoam® also lends itself to CNC (computer numerically controlled) shaping machines. Use the same bits that you have found to be effective on urethanes of similar density.

Fastening:

Composite construction often employs insert fasteners, which can be potted using epoxy or other thermoset resin systems. Alternatively, manufacturers can inset wooden or plastic hard points, or frame foam panels in lumber or metal extrusions and use this framing as connective points. For low stress applications, wide flange screws can be used. It is not advisable to nail into foam cores as they lack the pull strength of plywood, MDF or particleboard.

Gluing:

Our products are essentially a polyurethane material. As a result water-based PUR adhesives work well, as do two-part epoxy systems, and even hot melt glues. Gluing composite structures is often an excellent fastening solution as it spreads the loads across much larger surface areas. We recommend water or bio-based adhesives with low VOC generation whenever possible.

Surfacing:

AinaCore® and Studio BioFoam® panel products can be successfully surfaced with papers, laminates, wood veneers, and other materials, using standard adhesives. We do not recommend paper or melamine surfaces in horizontal applications which require impact strength, as our foam is not as robust as that of solid panel products.

Our products can be painted with various water or solvent-based paints. Surfaces should be blown clean of any dust before painting. As with most foams, they tend to absorb paint, so a second coat may be required. They also bond with most plasters, stuccos, fillers and epoxy coatings. Various surface characteristics can be achieved by carving directly into the foam prior to painting, or applying textures using thicker surfacing materials.

Composite Assemblies:

Málama’s rigid bio-based foams can be used as core materials in the manufacturing of “sandwich” composite structures. When surfaced with fiberglass, Kevlar or carbon fiber cloth and various polyester or epoxy resin systems, they enable the creation of products with incredible strength-to-weight properties.

Composite assemblies are transforming the automotive, marine and aerospace industries. This type of fabrication can be accomplished in hand lay-up, vacuum bagging, resin transfer molding or other composite fabrication methods. We encourage you to explore natural fiber cloths and bio-based resin systems in the development of more sustainable products.