Exploring the Endless Opportunities PopFoam Affords Designers
May 13, 2018
| by Victor Lazzaro
As a designer, I dream of creating products so distinctive and appealing that they visually “pop” against the competition. Such products solve real-world problems and achieve widespread success. And it’s not just about the look — it’s about the feel and the physical properties, too.
PopFoam is a great material to work with in that regard. It can be molded in a wide range of surface textures, and the soft EVA-based foam is great for comfort or user protection. A product such as a shoe or knee pad, for instance, can really benefit from the soft foam material.
Don’t mistake softness for fragility, though. PopFoam is also virtually indestructible, waterproof, buoyant, and resistant to UV, mold, mildew, and many chemicals.
But PopFoam’s real value for designers comes in terms of its adaptability.
Getting Playful With Design
Humans are highly visual, so a product that delights the eye is critical to success. Whether it’s the logo and product name or a graphic pattern or image, these elements can give a product personality and visual appeal.
With PopFoam, you’re not limited to the distinctive blue tones selected for the One World Fútbol. Indeed, PopFoam excels at transferring cost-effective and durable custom graphics onto the surface of any product one can imagine. Cubic dipping even allows you to apply complex visual designs over 3D products, resulting in a beautiful, rich, and vibrant look.
PopFoam can also be molded in a wide range of surface textures, either custom ones or those selected from a large gallery of pre-made textures, varying from a matte finish to a deep leather to a wood grain pattern. The result is a crisp, detailed surface texture molded right into the foam.
As a designer, I’ve come to love experimenting with juxtaposing contrasting textures, often on the same part. I’ve found that a larger asymmetrical texture next to a finer, more uniform one can create a captivating visual direction.
It’s also reassuring to know that my designs will come to life in a truly durable and highly adaptable material. Beyond just tensile strength, PopFoam is ideal for combining varying durometer levels — either bonded together, co-molded, or designed with mechanical attachments.
This allows you to place the softest or spongiest foam where you want it (such as a high-touch area) while reinforcing the structure with a harder foam. The benefits are improved performance and achieving the desired look and feel.
But PopFoam can also be compression molded from sheet material. This is an exciting process that offers multiple advantages for designers looking for performance and sizzle in their next design.
Imagine, for instance, you want to produce a plastic part with high-touch features. A custom PopFoam part can be compression molded and bonded to the plastic part to provide comfort, durability, and enhanced performance. This can be a very cost-effective way to get visual design contrast — not only with a separate material, but also with color and texture.
Compression-molded parts can be made much thinner than injection-molded parts, so they’re suitable for creating layered structures. A layer of compression-molded PopFoam can also be bonded to plastic parts to provide comfort, durability, and enhanced performance in high-touch areas, and PopFoam bonds particularly well to a variety of plastics.
Another interesting fact about injection-molded PopFoam is that it expands when it’s removed from the mold, then shrinks to the desired size as it cools. This trait can be utilized to create unique design details. For example, the molded PopFoam can be designed to shrink around a plastic part for structure, aesthetics, or performance.
The PopFoam will shrink tightly, creating a snug, permanent fit around the harder plastic part. Combine all this with the ability to mold, for example, substantial undercuts, and it’s easy to see how this special material offers designers the ultimate flexibility.
Are you ready to create beautiful, captivating products that your customers will love? Click here to download your free whitepaper: “The Insider’s Guide to Taking Your Design From Ingenious Idea to High-Quality Product.”