Question about making a Foam Latex Oven

Hi folks, 


Just a quick question on homemade foam ovens. Would it be possible to use heating elements from toaster ovens in a foam oven build? 

I ask as, for all the how to guides I've seen, none seem to discuss what electrical parts to use in the oven just "we installed the electrical parts in (insert time frame)"

Obviously would need a couple of fans to circulate the air inside, but any other pointers?


Regards

SJ 

Comments

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Hi Stephen,

    You can use anything from toaster ovens, electric ranges, or even heat guns to make a homemade foam oven.  

    Here are some quick tips:  Keep it well insulated so the heat does not dissipate.  Line the inside with reflective heat-resistant material so the heat bounces around, a fan to circulate the air is a big help, monitor the temperature with a thermometer to make sure you don't over cook or under cook your foam, when you first build it, check the temperature in a few locations to watch for hot/cold spots, always keep a fire extinguisher next to it, and never leave it unattended.

    Also keep in mind that the size/distribution/number of molds you place in an oven can impact its performance.

    Here's a quick video of a homemade build:


    Here is another DIY example:
    http://tripleacosplay.com/2011/12/24/foam-latex-bake-oven/


    Foam running guide:
    http://www.monstermakers.com/files/PDFs/MMFoaminstructions.pdf

    Best of luck!

    /Chris
  • Thanks for the pointers Chris, will check all this out and let you know how it goes!


    SJ
  • Maybe a stupid question, but why would anyone stick so much time in trying to make a selfmade oven when you can just buy an oven? Are the ovens you find in your kitchen not good ? Because if they are evenly good enough, then i'm not even trying to make one my own (i can't so my husband would be doing that then) and i think my husband can manage it but i think he also don't want to spend his time on this and much rather be making his money doing his job and just plain buy one. I think it's even cheaper also
    But therefore i wanted to know what's wrong with regular home ovens.
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Kitchen ovens can be used for foam latex (as long as you don't plan on using them to cook food), however, they are not ideal.

    Kitchen ovens are often too small to properly bake larger molds and allow air to flow around them evenly.  They also typically operate at much higher temperatures than foam latex needs so dial markings may not be accurate or even display low enough temperatures for foam, which usually bakes around 160°F.

    If you plan on running smaller parts and can find a kitchen oven that would fit your molds (and ideally have convection so the molds can heat evenly) then it would be an option. 

    Laboratory ovens can also be used if you don't wish to make an oven, though they can be a bit expensive depending on the size, model, and manufacturer. 

    While making your own oven does take time, you can customize it to your specific needs and the end cost is much lower than purchasing a kitchen or lab oven.

    /Chris
  • Why make an oven at all when there is a much cheaper, safer and better method. If you are not doing big foam pieces all you need is a big plastic tub and a wall paper stripper. Cooks the foam in half the time often with less problems.
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Hi. Toran,

    There are a few concerns about your suggestion.  I assume by wallpaper stripper you mean a heat gun?  Leaving any type of heated device unattended in a plastic container does not sound safer, and in fact, sounds rather risky.

    In terms of cooking the foam in half the time, it can at times be desirable to intentionally bake foam slower.  Precise control of time and heat can produce different results depending on your application, formula, and desired effect.  I don't think that a heat gun would be providing precise control over the temperature.

    /Chris
  • No chris I do not mean a heat gun.  A wall paper stripper!  I have been cooking my foam like this for 4 year now and get perfect results everytime. I would argue this method is safer than an oven as there is no chance of a it catching fire like a home made oven could.  This is a technique I learned from one of the best foam runners in the industry.
  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    Can you elaborate on "wall paper stripper" then, as that is a general term.  Heat based wallpaper stripping can use a wide array of devices from standard heat guns to steamers, so more information would be helpful.

    /Chris
  • Steamer!
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