While there are plenty of uses for expanding spray foam, one clever TikTok user has shared a nifty way to use it to safely package gear and equipment for storage or transport.
Expanding foam has a plethora of uses for the average user from insulation of walls and structures, securing piping and wiring, filling holes in concrete and construction areas, and even arts and craft projects. But TikTok user @marcelofjif might have one that hasn’t been thought of: securing fragile equipment.
He shows how he uses garbage bags and expanding foam to make custom padding to store odd-shaped electronics. In the video below, he demonstrates the process.
First, he lines the bottom of a box with a sheet of plastic and lightly sprays the bottom with the expanding foam. Next, before it can fully expand, he folds the bag over the foam and places the piece of equipment in the middle. As the foam expands, it forms a perfectly-nestled cushion that holds the item level.
Once this is done they lay a new sheet of plastic over the device and fill it with the expanding foam, sealing it all up and then closing the box to ensure the foam expands to a nearly perfect fit for the enclosure. After a few seconds of this timelapsed footage, they open the box to reveal the top and bottom “custom” fitted foam to keep the gear snuggly in position in the box.
The idea even caught the attention of renowned photographer David Hobby.
Brilliant. Two garbage bags and some expanding foam. This technique could easily/cheaply create a custom insert for any piece of fragile gear housed in a generic case. pic.twitter.com/6Snf5KYmxN
— David Hobby (@strobist) November 12, 2021
“This technique could easily create a custom insert for any piece of fragile gear housed in a generic case,” he writes.
The idea could be a way to replace custom foam cutouts that are used with oddly-shaped photography equipment. Instead of meticulously needing to cut foam to precisely fit something, foam could instead neatly form around it.
The downside of this method, as some users were quick to comment, is most expanding foam is not exactly great at absorbing shocks and falls, and may not be the best from an environmental standpoint. Some viewers even suggested that to reduce the waste, the foam could be deployed “tactically” by using the expanding foam in smaller sections and combining it with biodegradable materials to fill in the gaps.
According to The Spruce, creating these custom padding inserts for fragile items is pretty easy, as long as you follow the right steps and have the proper materials and protection (gloves, long sleeve shirts, protective eyewear, and masks) since the gases released during the application process can irritate airways and trigger respiratory problems and the chemicals themselves can cause irritation if skin contact is made. They also advise when using expanding foam to always do so in a well-ventilated area.