Shaping mini cell

-- Last Updated: Jul-21-08 12:59 PM EST --

McCrea told me once, but I can't find the email.

What's the best way to cut and shape so as to have it look reasonably well without all of the raw edges that look like crap.


I use a serrated kitchen knife followed by a rasp followed by sand paper. Think of it as very soft wood.

ditto above
You might start with a knife, rasp, saw, 16-32grit sanding discs (by hand is how I do it) but after that try dry wall sandpaper, it looks like screen with fine sand. You could also try using a small rounded chunk of minicell as a sanding block with the sanding screen wrapped around it.

Look for a “Surform” made by Stanley. Then you can finish up any rough edges with sandpaper.


I use my band saw. The curves and
straight cuts look like they came from a factory.

If you are shaping it in contours, then the above posts work good.



Thanks guys
Because this just won’t do…


A little sandpaper and… :slight_smile:

chainsaw wheel
on a 4" grinder. also known as a lancellot. i normally use it for coping logs but its perfect for this. 15 minutes is all it takes and any (butt) shape is possible. Warning!!! this is the most dangerous tool i own, and i have a lot of tools.

Very nice Grayhawk
What I’m thinking for the ski is to shape it it so that the base straddles the “console” on the ski. That should prevent it from wobbling.

Stay tuned, just need a block of mini cell.


go to a building supply store, such as Home Depot and get some stuff called dragonskin. It

s probably in the dry wall stuff.

After the initial cut for shape ( I use a serrated knife ) It’s great for contouring that requires more than just sandpaper, then follow with some finer sandpaper for smoothing.

After you do your cuts, shaping,
and sanding, take a heat gun (or hair blow dryer), and apply heat to the worked surfaces carefully. You can watch the fuzzies disappear as you work the heat gun over the minicell. This gives you a nice smooth ‘pro’ looking surface.

ooo. i like that idea, I 've got mine sanded down with 60 sandpaper, and it has those fuzzies. I’ll try that dryer idea.

I originally had a grinder to it and it was a course grit but it didn’t do anything.

Good idea!
How about drilling holes with a propane heated hot metal rod?


different densities
now sure which one you have but you can get stiffer minicell from Sweet Composites if what you are working with doesn’t have to be squishy.

Works great
Cool thing is this leaves you with a smooth hole instead of a grabby raw interior surface. Cords and such will pass through nicely.

I just made a taillamp for my longer boats for trailering. It’s a regulat ol’ taillamp glued inside a minicell foam block shaped like a bell. To attach it to the boat, I heated a metal ruler to make a nice slot for the velcro strap to pass through. Had to re-heat a couple of times as I was going through six inches of foam but it works like a charm. Made a nice taillamp rig that stays in place but doesn’t scratch the boats.

Not sure I could live in a world without minicell foam :wink:

mine look like crap
but did you have to make me feel like

crap for having them look like crap?!



Sharp bread cutting knife

– Last Updated: Jul-21-08 12:58 PM EST –

The kind with serrated edge. Advice from a shop that does WW outfitting (good advice, IMO). They also recommended heating the blade first (which I did not do).

For smoothing surfaces, a Surfine works but don't dig it in too hard. Sandpaper also works well. But I ended up liking Dragonskin and drywall sanding screen the best.

I’ve never cut mini-cell …
… or at least don’t know it if I did , but there is an older item from the kitchens of yesteryears that has fantastic abilities to cut very soft items . (it is also great for cutting f.g. batt. insulation)…

It is the once famed “electric roast carving knife” , everybody seemed to have one at one time , a trendy , maybe ??

Try it out sometime . They show up all over the place at flea markets , Salvation Army stores , yard sales , etc. . Who knows , you may even have one stuffed in a box in the attic somewhere .

They will cut bulk cotton too .

A few other tools …
Depending on what your shaping… I’ve use a belt sander locked into my vice upside down with a coarse belt. You can do some nice smooth shaping with that. Always use a fresh sharp belt. Go gently because it can pull it out of your hands.

Another tool that works well is a stiff wire brush wheel in the drill. I find an electric drill with the higher RPMs is better. That works well for shaping concave surfaces like a seat or thigh braces.