MARS Recumbent bicycle projects

Zotefoam Manual - Introduction
A project by John Tetz - April 2005

Introduction   Mold   Layout   Form   Cut   Glue   Internal Braces   Install the Trike   Tail   Door   Canopy   Turtledeck

For nine years I have been using foam materials, and in particular Zotefoam, to make lightweight shells for HPVs. Zotefoam is a closed cell cross-linked polyethylene thermoplastic material which, with the application of heat and pressure, enables three-dimensional shapes to be formed from flat sheets. Even at high temperatures, the cross-links maintain the foam structure, and after cooling they allow the foam to retain the shape of the forming mold. Correct application of heat and force is the key.

Most composite shells are built by constructing first a male mold and then a female mold, which is labor intensive and quite expensive. For thermo-forming a Zotefoam shell, I have developed a system which requires only a male mold, and only a minor amount of equipment.

This manual describes a system by which you can produce a very light shell to be used as a prototype to check out a new design, or for making a few copies off a low cost mold, or for making a finished product out of a home workshop. For higher volume production, the system is still practical, and the mold can be improved by applying a layer of muslin cloth and plaster to protect the mold from accidental melting during the process of heat-forming the foam.
Succasunna, NJ

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