#### jennt

##### Member
Ok, haven't made flats since HS and now I am in charge of a church thing and we need to build some flats for our scenery. I need some major help, ASAP!

I found a good site that reminded me how to build the flats using wood & muslin, but I have questions about it.

Do I just attach the muslin dry, with a staple gun? Then I know I have to prime it, can I just use paint (w/ the background color?)? Or do I use a 50/50 water/Elmers glue mixture? And do I get the muslin wet b4 I attach it to the wood frame? Or do I just use the water/glue to attach it to the frame? Don't I just staple it, folding the extra over the back of the frame, or do I glue it and then cut it, as the other site implied? Tell me, exactly and step by step, what to do after the wood frame is built. Everyone's coming on Saturday, ready to help and of course we have no budget and 2 weeks until the performance Please help.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Believe that if you do a search on this website you will find around 30+ pages I wrote up on the question a few months ago, in addition to other people debating the same question. Sorry but you really don't want me to get back into that one. On the other hand, since I'm not going to it is especially fair game for others.

#### Will

##### Member
jennt,

I have used TV flats almost exclusively for many years, as opposed to theatre flats.

In this type of flat, the frame is made with the wood on edge, rather than flat. For example, if you use 1x4s for the frame, the flat will be 3 1/2" deep. In a theatre flat, the flat would be only 3/4" deep. I hope this makes sense.

I cover the flat with 1/4" luan ply. You can then cover this with muslin, but its not necessary.

In the old days flats were lashed together with line, but now they are generally scrwed together with drywall screws. This is easy to do with this type of flat.

#### nate

##### Member
The flats that we use are similar to the ones described by Will. The only difference is that we use the 1"x4"s flat and the only covering is luan. They are 4'x8' and 4' x 10'. We just use water-soluble paint on them. This may be the way for you to go if you have a smaller budget and are short on time.

Hope this helps.

-Nate

#### 3D

##### Member
take 1x2s cut two how ever tall you want it to be, for instance 5 ft., and cut one how ever wide you want it to be, for instance 3 ft., add an inch and cut two that length. so you'll end up with 2 5 ft. 1x2s, two 3 ft. 1 in. 1x2s, and one 3ft. 1x2. now put the 5fters parallel about 3ft from each other now bow it in using the 2 3ft 1in boardson the ends put the last board in the middleof the box length wise. so it should look like a rectangle split in two. the 5fters should be (as your looking at it) verticle, the 3ft.1s should be horizontal and the 3fter as well, horizontal. screw them together like they are but make sure all the corners are squared or it will be messed up. now once you are done with the frame have a piece of masonite handy and make sure it is the size of the framemake sure it is squared to the frame screw it on with the rough side towarrds the frame.

you have just made a hollywood flat.

3D (Derek D. Deiterman)

#### ricc0luke

##### Active Member
I have found several good ways to make flats for many different purposes...

I would say that the standard flat size is 4x10... though you can make them bigger or smaller to fit your needs.

If you are flying the flats on a fly system i like using a 1x4 frame and cover it with 1/2" foam board. This is a very lightweigth material that works great when you are flying things. There are several different kinds of foam out there and you have to be careful which type you choose. Some foamboards don't take paint very well. This type of flat will not take alot of abuse, so if people are going to be hitting the wall don't use this. When we built 6 of these flats a year and a half ago we were called crazy, but since then they have been used in 5 productions! We have had to re surface 2 of them because the edges became to torn up to hold the foam on. Be sure to use roofing nails on them! Other things might hold it for a little while, but will soon go straight through the foam.

You can also build flats like stated above in other posts... a 1x4 frame and 1/4" luan over the frame. They work very well and will last you for years to come, though they can be rather heavy.

The last way that I know is more like a theatre flat. You still should use a 1x4 frame, but this time lay the 1x4 flat on the ground and cut the corners at 45's. Then use 1/4" luan on top. These flats for some reason do not hold up nearly as well over time. They are slightly harder to rig if you are flying them.

Hope this helps!

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
I call the use of foam for a flat crazy in that in such a large area of surface, if it should catch fire, it should be well enough sufficient to kill everyone on the stage no matter the amount of painting it's edges. Masonite is also just as brittle in both not allowing for a counter sink or for other problems similar in brittleness. Luan much less real plywood on a Hollywood flat is normally much better to be using and not only accepts a skim coat of plaster for a photo shoot, also accepts flame treating better than Masonite or foam. Also a sheet of foam sufficient not to break at minimum contact will not be a huge amount lighter than a sheet of Luan.

#### ricc0luke

##### Active Member
Ship, I am sorry, but you are wrong.

There are many types of foam on the market. Some of them are non-porus, very brittle, and fit your above description, but there are others. We love to use foam core that is backed with a paper... it accepts flame treating and paint very well. The foam does not break at the slightest impact. Because it is on a 4*10ft frame with very little extra bracing, it has some give to it. Instead of beaking it just tends to work it self loose from the frame, but with a few new nails and maybe some liquid nails it is as good as new.

Yes, foam flats do not last 20 years like other flats unless properly cared for. Even then, they will need to be resurfaced every few years. This may seem like a hassle now, but when you compare hanging these flats compared to a traditional flat you will see why. They are much easier and safer to hang. Instead of loading 2-3 weights onto the cart for a normal flat you are only adding 1. This wall can easily be rigged by someone that does not have years of experience. (you still need a little experience)

There has not been a better flat that I have ever used. We still use the traditional flats when they are part of a periment set because of their durability, and we still use a tradional flat if we need a window to fly. But these foam covered flats are a life saver.

I call the use of foam for a flat crazy in that in such a large area of surface, if it should catch fire, it should be well enough sufficient to kill everyone on the stage no matter the amount of painting it's edges.
Any flats that really catch fire are sufficent to kill everyone on stage, but what you are forgeting is that foam is fire-safe. Foam core does not burn unless you go and throw it into a bonfire. I can start 1/4" luan on fire much more easily even it has been flame proofed.

Sorry Ship.... but you are just flat out wrong about foam flats...
Hope this helps!

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
This is debate, and it might seem harsh in general, I feel no offense to a sorry but you are wrong nor I expect does ricc0luke in my response. Such debates are of much value in getting to the point of an issue.

Well done in response and in my own respecting your views as very much important for debate on me being right or wrong or the concept of foam faced scenery in it’s proper use. Please expand upon the specific type of foam in scenery you use which is safe in use over such a large area of the stage in not giving off poisonous fumes should it even smoulder. This above combustibility, breakage, sets falling apart sooner than later, structure of a hard flat relying upon the surface material as a part of it’s structure, much less a actor putting their hand thru it during a fight scene short of say 9" on center supports for it which I would consider sufficient as a wall at 3/4" thick.

My exceptions are that lumber when it burns does not have the problems of plastic/extruded polystyrene when it burns in giving off a poisonous gas which if I remember right is heavier than air in lying low but might be wrong, that will kill before the smoke in general from a fire does. I would hope I'm corrected on the thoughts of gasses given off by foam lying low instead of near the ceiling because this could be a serious reason not to use foam, but one I don't remember well enough in detail beyond concept of concern.

While I have not done a flame test on the effects of a 4x8 much less a 20x40 wall of foam, I do know that foam tends to not resist heat well in not giving off those gasses. My opinion is that when following the rules of what you can and cannot use, if you can’t use Visqueen and are limited in the use of foam overall such as on a staircase when coated in gesso or some other flame retardant method, entire flown walls of something that all it takes is a mis-directed Q-Lite to start it giving off gasses would be a bad thing for use on stage because the heat would tend to melt thru a layer of three of paint. Paper covering, foil or any other covering short of lumber which would absorb the heat, in my opinion I would avoid foam for flat facing. Now there might just be some merit to the use of some plywood based laminated flats in that they don't need further support of a frame and are reversible, but such materials are not the point here. In addition to this, they can be of use for platforms. Given such materials are cost prohivitive.

The question also is how well flame treating much less paint itself attaches itself to the foam short of a primer which adds to the cost of the flat. This 100% flame treating of the foam would normally be required on all surfaces of the foam used as non flown scenery and get to be very expensive on such a wide area as a flown flat 40 some odd feet wide. This not that I’m concerned about fire primarially, it’s the lights focused on the flat melting the foam in giving off gasses. On another part of the forum we are discussing the proper distance of drape to a Fresnel, I would assume in being an ass for thinking foam covered hard flat are not very safe to use, that a Fresnel too close to a foam hard flat would be even more dangerous not because of the temperature it requires to combust but because of the smoldering smoke given off.

Non-porus, very brittle, I would assume this is primarily the difference between extruded and expanded polystyrene of which expanded would be more brittle in assuming my thoughts wrong on what'e most brittle - not the extruded type. Given of the extruded types, there is different forms of it as a yellow more industrial foam I believe though I don’t remember the type will react better than a pink Corning or Blue Dow normally used for houses in these situations for insulation and limited in use for scenery.

Now don’t get me wrong, I had a fairly large part in constructing Six Flags New York’s Yukon villiage’s construction which has an entire foam mountain range. The difference is that this is outside and not in a building, much less near people. It was also completely encased in Sculptural Coat which is a flame resistant coating which would be counter productive to use on a hard flat which by nature needs a flat surface. Similar to this, I have often used in designs both expanded and extruded foam of varying types and once it’s coated with a plaster base, and as long as it’s extent of use is of scenery and limited to extent I felt safe in using it. We are talking about what a 16' high by 40' wall of foam however that has lights focused on it from close by or if in a mis-focus during flying, that foam could have serious problems with the heat. This is the core of my concerns about the facing materials.

Easier and safer to hang is dependant upon one’s opinion. Even a 3/16" facing of a hard flat adds some structure and sway much less sag bracing to the on-edge structure of the flat when flown, the foam by it’s nature adds a very limited amount to it’s structure. The frame in being equally as strong as a traditional hard flat needs to be beefed up in it’s structure to support such a covering since it's not self sufficient in bracing itself which might add up to extra weight on the 2-3 weights necessary on the cart/arbor above the weight of the foam potentially being lighter than Luan coverings. Is of even 1/2" 4x8 size rally lighter than a sheet of 3/16" thick Luan? In any case, it can't be two to three weights worth of effort.

Adding 2-3 weights as opposed to one is all the same in my book, adding one weight takes the same effort in doing so because someone with the experience of adding one weight should be sufficient for adding a second or third one. Such a concept is outside of the point thus in the necessity of someone with less experience verses one with more experience. For the most part, hard flats are not really designed to be flown without added support anyway due to the structure if not hard covering over a soft flat structure. Thru bolting a foam covered flat as required for hanging items is added in difficulty in foam covered flats even if on flat to the material as opposed to the frame on edge in that short of pre-rigging the flat for a hang, a T-Nut or Carriage bolt won’t have much effect with even a ½" piece of foam between the thru bolt and the frame you bolt to. You do thru bolt your hanging flats do you not? This would also be the norm in flown flats from my experience.

As for construction and coming loose from the flat’s frame, that’s outside of my general concerns about this material. If the material is on edge to the foam than there is little surface area for a proper contact cement much less Liquid Nails gluing foam to frame. Given Liquid Nails is very dependant upon the lot number of it as to which will and will not burn thru the foam. Gluing foam would be much superior in strength to fasteners designed to hold it in place while the glue sets up. Once the foam pops from the surface, nails and screws won't add to it's structural strength as a sway brace when flown.

See a semester in college on plastics and metals for the theater with much of it specifically about using foam, much less about five years as a sales rep for building materials in the construction industry, much less having worked in some fairly large professional scene shops, and having read some very good books such as Scenery for the Theater amongst many others does even if a few years in the past in study have value at least in my concerns about using foam as a flown hard flat material. There are other types of screws or nails that could help but in my opinion as only one of the un-initialed into newer acceptable techniques as it would seem I am out of step with what the next generation of tech people are using and is considered acceptable to be using much less the local fire inspector would not have conniptions about if he is doing his or her job properly. In the end I would say this should be taken to Stagecraft for a ruling on the use of foam for a hard flat covering material. Since I don’t actively build scenery anymore as a Master Carpenter, perhaps the industry has changed in the last five years and there is some new foam material that does not kill people when it smolders especially as a wall that’s near lights.

Happy days, and this is a response based upon saying that foam as a hard flat covering is acceptable and I’m wrong in my opinion of it’s use. But I do admit that I have not studied recently the other types of foam introduced to the market in the last five years, perhaps there is one that does not give off poisonous gasses if it gets hot, one that has sufficient structural integrity so it can support a hard flat frame when flown as a large unit much less as a flat in general can be thru bolted as I expect and hope is still required, and that given the paper facing on foam I’m yet to know about but would greatly appreciate knowing about since it would be nice to use, that this foam than is easier to flame treat much less paint without a treatment to the foam to accept the paint. In any case it seems I am out of step with what’s acceptable in methods today, please enighten me more into these new techniques.

Just a realization on paper covered foam products into one I used to build scenery models out of. Are you talking about the black or at times white foam with paper facings used for artistic exhibitions? This foam while very ridgid for model making and strong in general is still foam and as a hard flat covering should such things be flown not add much to the strength of the flat assembly especially if constructed in a hard flat board on edge way. Good stuff but the paper ripping apart from the foam is not really that strong in comparison to a piece of Luan laminated to a frame. Perhaps if the flats were faced with the material but to flats constructed in a soft flat way they might have more strength in not relying upon them structurally but this method is not described. Such foam I used to use for model building also while it might be more flame/melting proof than normal foam board in only melting but at a lower temperature as I remember my use of a hot glue gun in using it, still I have no doubts about it's lack of temperature rating. Interesting idea but I'm against it's use.

#### sallyj

##### Member
I have to agree with Ship about the use of foamcore for hard covering flats- the flame thing doesn't concern me as much as the structurability of the foamcore. It has been my experience that flying hardcovers with even 1/8" lauan is not sufficient to keep the frames from swaying. I also would fight hard against flying a 20'x40' wall. (Of course this is particular to my space which is a hemp house).
The fact that foamcore will pop its fasteners when flexed concerns me. What happens if an inattentive or inexperienced fly person crashes the wall into the floor?
Also, until lumber skyrocketed, foamcore was much more expensive than Lauan, so cost was a factor. Given that the frame requires much more bracing than if lauan is used, it still may be a factor.
I am all for new processes and ideas, but I have also experimented and was less than impressed with foamcore scenery. Maybe I just need the right scenic element to change my mind. Hard to tell. .

SJM

#### ricc0luke

##### Active Member
Sorry... My last post was rude and lacked some information.

First:
sallyj, the foam popping its fasteners is not a problem... I over exagerated it. The problem arises in the handling and storage. People don't always understand that foam cannot hold that much weight and that when handleing a foam flat you need to hold it by the frame... but in reality you should handle any flat by the frame. We have had some pretty foolish people manage to get the luan on traditional flats to pull away. Even when slamed into the ground... which has happed to ours... the foam does not pull away. It just neededs to be handled with alittle more care but really they are rather rugged.

Second:
Ship you are right in that a wrongly directed Q-light could be a big problem. This has never even been a consideration for me because of the theatre I work most in and their lights. Any type of plastic will give off a toxic gas when burnt, and can when they are simply melted. The toxic gas might be a problem in a small room, but theatres are big and the air is most often, flowing. It would take alot more foam then what it takes to kill anyone... at most it would make then feel alittle uneasy. But, by the time that much gass was built up many people would have noticed the problem and delt with it appropatily. I do believe that you are right in that the gas under normal situations would sink... but I am not sure if this would actualy happen because the air/gas would naturaly be extreamly hot from the melting foam... and hot air rises... but I do not know... that is for a white-coat scientist sitting in a lab to figureout. But, never-the-less... the problem would have been noticed before it would be able to harm anyone...

Oh... and the fresnel issue... I have been folowing that board too... and I am 98% sure that a 6" Fresnel six inches away from this foam would not be a problem. I would be much more concerned about a curtain being too close. Not to say that another light could not burn the foam from 6 inches away. I burnt the top of a flat with a 500 watt scoop 12 inches away when it was on at not even 50%. It just requires people knowing its there and that certian things need not to be next to it.

Third:
THE PAINT ISSUE:
I have never had a problem with paint sticking to foam. Once we had a problem with the dutchman. As it turns out though... that same batch of dutchman when applied to traditional flats did not stick eigther... Later it was discovered that the person who mixed the dutchman had never made it before. A new batch with more glue and surprise surprise! IT STUCK! Come to think of it there was one issue with masking tape, but once again... a different role and it stuck.
As far as primeing goes... every surface, foam, wood, metal, or fabric should be primed, expecialy when it has not been painted before. If you do not put at least one coat of primer on unpainted luan than you stand a good chance of wood grain showing through the paint, thus you will have to put a second coat of paint on. Not only the issue with the wood grain, but new wood will absorb the paint, thus taking more paint for the first coat. Paint is more expensive than primer... so in the long run it is much better just to prime something with a coat or two rather than useing several coats of paint.
Even on a painted surface, primer is a good idea. This will start to cover the old paint color and hide that color. You will then not have to put as much paint on to cover the old paint. This will also allow you only put one coat of paint on, once again saving paint.
For those of you out there who will say you do not have the time to prime first... We have between 5-6 days to build a set and we still do it. Remember, that 1 coat of primer can save you from having to do 2 coats of paint... so in the long run the time is no different.

Fourth:
THE STABILITY
We have 4'x10' foot flats... The frames are made of 1x4 and have a brace at the joint in the pannel. We later added an aditional brace at a height of 4 feet to most of the pannels because the frames started to warp over time. We have never had a problem with the frame not being solid... all we did was take a little time and used our brains to make sure they were built the right way the first time. The frames are sturdy enought that with only on diagonal brace we have but them on hinges and used them as giant doors insead of hanging them. We have also put them on a small base on wheels. Because they are not as heavy, the base does not have to be nearly as big and it also has a lower center of gravity without having to add aditional weight to the frame. This flats, though covered in foam, are solid provided they are built the right way. I have never even thought of useing a wall 20'x40' foot because our arch is not even 10 full feet... (it's really bad) but still... I am sure that the flats still could be used provide that they are well built and hung properly. Generaly speaking... people trust wood less and less these days... they forget how much it can hold.... look around you.... what is holding your house up?

Fifth: (perhaps what should have been first)
TYPES OF FOAM
Blue Dow -or- Blue board, I wish I could tell you what this is made of but I really don't know.
Pink Corning, This is just like the blue board except the color and that generaly it comes much thicker.
Rboard, this is the paper covered foam I was refering to. It is nothing like the other types. It has a powery core coated with a fibourous paper on both sides. This is my personal favorite. It cuts very easily and accpets paint and primer even better than wood. It is my personal favorite. No Ship, this is not the artistic foam you described.

Sixth:
THE WEIGHT ISSUE:
Ship, as to my mentioning the amouts of weights to counter weight: I did not mean that it was safer or easier because you only have to but one weight on... I was just useing it as a reference to the wieght difference. But come to think of it, that was a stupid reference because of the size difference in weights from system to system.

SEVENTH:
These flats are the opposite of most things... They may not look good on paper... but once you have them you will love them... They are truly great.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Ah’ very well stated in seeing thru the holes in logic of debate in stating priming is good for all materials, a smile is on my face given such primer for foam is as cheap as the scrap wash paint left over from other shows. And I am very glad to keep this debate up because it will equal something of importance to all. As for poisons in a big room given we at this point all would assume but it shold be confirmed that there is a difference in weight of bad to breathe gas being heavier than air thus sinking than normal bad to breathe smoke than the gasses that are harmful no matter what the smoke would than sink visible or not in killing people starting in the orchestra pit and moving it’s way up to the audience before the stage manager notices.

The ½" paper covered foam you describe seems similar, is it black all around in being ½"? Sands as if powdery and is in general very nice to work with? Yep the same thing though my modeling materials have no doubt been scrap. How well does the foam hold up to a hot glue gun would be a conformation as to it’s ability to withstand heat. This in the center of the sheet is a detail you missed in that light focused upon the center of a paper faced sheet while it might suffer adversely to the heat will not be letting gas escape thru the paper face to which I will have agreed except in the void by melting left.

In having used this material I do love both it’s strength for it’s weight because that paper helps hold it ridgid very well and because it is light weight but takes paint better as a flat surface better than luan or perhaps a soft flat. Great stuff, have even used it on scenery, much less the material is what’s used as shelving material in my bedroom’s closet organizer. Point would still be the smoulder and burn much less structure.

In reply you did not mention thru bolting necessary for flow flats given even that the use of Hollywood type hard flats are not designed to be flown much less thru bolted - foam as a further obstacle or not. Any materal when an anchor is attached to it requires at least two thru bolts, T-nuts or other form of compressing all the material to the rigging point other than a screw or lag to it which is at best 80% efficient for a specific amount of sheer. Thru bolting thru foam is either going to require a big hole in going to lumber to bolt to or a superficial bolting by way of foam. This given hard flats are constructed with the lumber on edge which does not help much with the foam acting as a structural sway brace, much less in supporting it’s own weight in countering sway between pickup points. A soft flat frame no matter the material covering, does not rely upon any covering or surface contact are of facing material to frame given it’s part of the structure such as in a hard flat. It also would allow for thru bolting in rigging.

I thus submit that beyond even flying foam covering on hard flats that flying hard flats when not added extra structure and bracing and thru bolting thru is unsafe again all by itself in concept beyond even the sag/structure issues of the design.

Such foam neither of us can find a name to is great stuff, but I submit that it’s application while it seems to work is unsafe both structure wise and in a foam used way. Please post the MDS data of the foam we speak of unless I need to support this view point further.

But good starting point for debate in that you at least for me just about have a winner in magical material safe to use because it is great stuff.

#### ricc0luke

##### Active Member
Ok... so we are sill on the toxic gas...

We are not talking about some oderless, top-secret military wepon. You will smell the foam melting/burning. Also, it would not kill anyone... it would act similar to carbon-monixide in that it causes people to feel uneasy, and then sick. The only reason people die from carbon monixide is that they are often sleeping and have no dectectors. But we are talking about melting/burning foam, our noses can easily be the detectors.
Oh couse we would not even have to worry about this if the lighting crew knew where the foam was used and the proper distance to keep certain lights from it. That may sound crazy to have to do that just to use foam, but in reality we do that with every material used on stage, just those materials are used more commonly and does not seem so "special".

Ship, the foam of which I was refering to is just as you said... I didn't reliaze it because I don't see how a 4'x8' sheet of foam has anything to do with modeling. But then again I only build model rockets in which using something like the foam we are describing would mean disaster. I really had never thought that it could come in smaller peices too. It holds up great against heat. We have used hot glue guns on it.... we have had C7's (the little, but not so little christmas lights) runing through the foam... though looking back that was a little risky..... that probably should not have happen I will admit... But the foam did hold up great.... not one sign of melting.

As far as the hanging/support issue:
With a traditional flat you must bolt through a heavly braced frame to hang, however, this is not needed because of how light the foam covered flats. If you simply replace the 1x4 top of the frame with a 2x4 you have provided enough support to hang the flats.
I am not sure what is standard at other theatres as far as rigging goes... and Ship, remember... I work in community theatre. Whenever we hang a traditional flat, we have always chained the flats to the batton. With these foam covered flats we easily hang them SAFELY with a little wire twisted in all the right way. Just another weight comparason- we currently have traditional flat wall hung because we needed a door in it-- (and the people who hung it later remembered the foam flats but had forgoten them because they are not stored with the rest of the flats)
and the foam flats on a batton weigh about 1/3 of what the traditional flat wall. Anytime you have hundreds of pounds in the air it is a saftey concern, helping cut down the weight and still keep the structure helps with the problem, and reduces the amount of manpower needed to hang the flats.

I am not suggesting replacing traditional flats all together. I would choose a traditional flat over a foam covered flat anyday if it was never to go into the air. Anytime I have anything to do with a flying wall I insist on useing foam covered flats. This foam that we both seem to love is also great for creating odd-ball props of parts of sets. It also works great if 2 flats dont fit and have a size-able gap between them. Because it is easy and quick to cut it works perfect for filling in gaps.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
Ok, I'm about burned out of the debate of smoke and melting temperature. Going back on the start of it, I don't recommend it. Take it for what it's worth.

Hanging the flat by way of double top plate would tend to join flats together at the top and sufficiently hang at least the top rail of the flat from the pipe. Question is what's holding stud to top rail or style to top rail given especially that the hard flat face itself is not acting as if a corner block in supporting the flat's frame. Foam won't help to hold together the frame of the flat which means it's a corner butt joint, some glue and staples or screws holding top rail and style together.

Going along with the thru bolting, the rigging is normally going to the bottom rail or at least lower on the style so that it's carrying the weight not suspending it.

From my viewpoint due to the facing of the hard flat which is limited anyway in sway bracing for a luan facing, the suspended from the top of such flats have even less strength or safety factor.

Such standard rigging principals along with my the use of foam are standards in the industry but what ever works for you is what's best for you. Not my liability or name which would be hurt by an accident.

#### Mayhem

##### Senior Team Emeritus
OK - I really have no interest in this topic in general because I have nothing to do with flats in any way, shape or form. My only concern is in regards to the following:

ricc0luke said:
Ok... so we are sill on the toxic gas...

We are not talking about some oderless, top-secret military wepon. You will smell the foam melting/burning. Also, it would not kill anyone... it would act similar to carbon-monixide in that it causes people to feel uneasy, and then sick. The only reason people die from carbon monixide is that they are often sleeping and have no dectectors. But we are talking about melting/burning foam, our noses can easily be the detectors.
If you can smell it, you are already breathing it in and it is doing your body no good. Regardless of the composition of the fumes/smoke either or both of the following things will happen.

1. Chemical particles will be deposited throughout your aero-digestive tract. What you breathe in you will often swallow as well. Chemicals deposited onto the membranes of your aero-digestive tract will then be metabolised by your body, and these metabolites can kill you. Maybe not now, but further down the track. Take smoking for example; it is linked to not only cancer of the mouth, tongue, trachea and lungs (obvious as this is where the smoke goes) but also cancer of the oesophagus, stomach, kidneys, bladder and cervix.

2. Some of these chemicals will attach themselves to the haemoglobin, preventing oxygen from being absorbed into the blood stream. This is what happens with carbon monoxide poisoning. As we know, the results are fatal. Yes, you are correct in saying that you begin to feel unwell. But then you actually lose consciousness and eventually die, as you can no longer maintain sufficient oxygen levels in the blood.

I agree that death is unlikely, but we should not place others or ourselves in potential danger. Remember that asbestos was considered safe, as was thalidomide. We all know how these stories end. Also, look at the health problems faced by people exposed to agent orange – albeit for short periods of time.

I think that the only way to go about this is to either look up more information on the chemical composition of the foam or discuss its application with you local health authority (I am not sure who (if anyone) in the US actually does this).

I hope that this does not sound critical of you or you arguments of the benefit of using this product. I am only looking at the health and safety aspects.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
http://www.tri-dee.com/FoamCore.htm

Gatorboard ®' FRP A Multi layer composite of extremely dense and durable 1. Polystyrene foam that resists crushing and denting. Topping the core are several Thick nesses of plastics, papers and adhesives, creating a moisture-resistant layer that helps form a rigid board that won't bend or warp. The smooth paper finish offers ideal ink coverage and needs little or no preparation for mounting and laminating. It's free of toxic chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and formaldehyde
Exceptional rigidity, surface quality and durability make it the mounting board of choice for photographers and photo Mount, screen printing, acrylic and oil painting and Water Colorist. The typical applications of Gatorboard is mounted photos, cut out letters, screen printed graphics, backing boards, temporary walls, parade floats, blueprint, charts, and graph mounting, and costumes.
This is a Class A rated asbestos-free panel, and is dimensionally stable and lighter than plywood. Gatorboard Graphic Arts Board The toughest laminated foam panel you can buy. If the job calls for a rugged, durable board that resists dents and punctures, you’ll want Gatorboard and nothing else. The exceptionally hard, smooth surface is uniform and blemish free. Photo Mounting, artists, designers, sign painters, exhibit builders, and engineers have counted on it for years. Gatorboard has a light, durable core of polystyrene foam, bonded on both sides to patented Luxcell ® facings.
These wood fiber veneers are impregnated with a proprietary resin for integrity, durability, and moisture-resistance. Ideal for indoor or outdoor use. Gatorboard requires only standard woodworking tools for cutting and shaping. Make straight or curved lines easily with any saw — it won’t tear, chip, or shred. And you can cut angles and bevels easily. For smooth, clean irregular cuts and shapes, a standard router is all you need..
The black color further aggravates this problem as dark colors absorb ultra-violet light.

MAXIMUM USE TEMPERATURE:
Due to the thermoplastic properties of the extruded 2. Polystyrene foam core used in Gatorfoam laminated foam panels, the maximum continuous use temperature of the product is limited to 165 F The maximum intermittent use temperature is 180 F.

COMBUSTIBILITY:
Caution should be taken to avoid exposing Gatorfoam panels to an open flame during storage, handling, installation or use, because this composite panel will burn. However, the burning or combustion rate of Gatorfoam panels can be reduced significantly when completely coated with at least 3.5 mils of coating (in tumescent) classified as "Fire Retardant" by Underwriter's Laboratories.

FLATNESS:
As we have stated, Gatorfoam laminated foam panels are both rigid and strong. However. like other panel products, they may bow under certain conditions. Potential for bowing, of course, is much greater in the thinner panels and in full 4' x 8' unsupported panels or on panels that are treated differently on one side than on the other, e.g. laminating sheet materials to one side only or exposing one side of the panel to a higher heat source than the other side. We suggest that similar precautions for controlling bowing be taken with our Gatorfoam panels as would be taken with most other panel products. (Please note that the 3/16" panel is not warranted against warp.)
1.

GBB5 4896 1/2" X 48" X 96" Black 10.9lbs $79.57$65.22 $63.05 12$58.30

1. This fact sheet, published by the Polystyrene Packaging Council and its members, presents the facts about polystyrene. This information should help you gain a deeper understanding of why polystyrene is the best choice for food service packaging.
What is Inside?
Styrene, a petroleum by-product, is the primary raw material from which polystyrene is made. Styrene, first commercially produced in the 1930s, played an important role during World War II in the production of synthetic rubber. After the war, much of the use of styrene shifted to the manufacture of commercial polystyrene products. Synthetic styrene is also used in the manufacture of products such as automobile parts, electronic components, boats, recreational vehicles, and synthetic rubbers. Today, you or a member of your family will probably use a product derived from styrene.
Modern man has known about styrene for centuries. A naturally occurring substance, styrene is present in many foods and beverages, including wheat, beef, strawberries, peanuts and coffee beans. Also found in the spice cinnamon, its chemical structure is similar to cinnamic aldehyde, the chemical component that elicits cinnamon's flavor. It is naturally present to flavor foods, and is used as a flavoring additive to such food as baked goods, frozen dairy products, soft candy, and gelatins and puddings, with permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Polystyrene Packaging Council works closely with the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), whose mission is to collect, develop, analyze and communicate pertinent information on styrene. Since 1987, SIRC has undertaken a comprehensive research program to enhance understanding of styrene's potential to affect human health and the environment.
Polystyrene meets stringent U.S. FDA standards for use in food contact packaging and is safe for consumers. Health organizations encourage the use of single-use food service products, including polystyrene, because they provide increased food safety.
All packaging (glass, aluminum, paper, and plastic - including polystyrene) contains substances that can "migrate," or transfer, to foods or beverages. The FDA regulates residual levels of these components in food packaging to ensure that packaging is safe to use.
What is Not Inside?
Polystyrene foam products are 95 percent air and only five percent polystyrene. When polystyrene foam packaging is produced, a blowing agent is used in the process. Most polystyrene foam products never were made using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a blowing agent. The few polystyrene products that were made with CFCs comprised a very small portion of the nation's CFC use. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only two to three percent of CFCs used in the United States in the 1980s went toward production of polystyrene packaging products. At the forefront of U.S. industry, polystyrene manufacturers exceeded government goals and timetables during the phase out period of CFCs in the late 1980s.
Polystyrene foam products are now manufactured primarily using two types of blowing agents: Pentane and Carbon Dioxide.
Pentane gas has no effect on the upper ozone layer, although, if not recovered, it can contribute to low-level smog formation. Therefore, manufacturers use state-of-the-art technology to capture pentane emissions.
With ever-evolving technology, some manufacturers use carbon dioxide (CO2 or other hydrocarbons in some cases) as an expansion agent for polystyrene foam. CO2 is non-toxic, non-flammable, does not contribute to low-level smog, and has no stratospheric ozone depletion potential. In addition, the carbon dioxide used for this technology is recovered from existing commercial and natural sources. As a result, the use of this blowing agent technology does not increase the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Sources:
1) "Disposables versus Reusables: A Study of Comparative Sanitary Quality," Dairy Food and Sanitation, Jan, 1985; "Utensil Sanitation: A Microbiological Study of Disposables and Reusables," Charles W. Felix, et al, Sept./Oct. 1990.
2) "Single Service and Solid Waste" Resolution, National Environmental Health Assn. Board of Directors, June 1991.
3) "Waste Management and Reduction Trends in the Polystyrene Industry, 1974-1997," Franklin Associates, Aug. 1999.
4) "Municipal Solid Waste in the United States 1999 Facts and Figures," prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Franklin Associates Ltd., July 2001.
(5) "Rubbish! The Archeology of Garbage," William Rathje and Cullen Murphy, 1989.
6) "Petroleum Supply Annual -- 1997," U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, June 1998 and "Annual Energy Review -- 1997," U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, July 1998.
7) See: FDA's Food Additive Regulation at 21 CFR 172.515
(8) "Disposables versus Reusables: A Study of Comparative Sanitary Quality," Dairy Food and Sanitation, Jan. 1985.
(9) "Statement of Support for The Foodservice Packaging Institute's Fully Halogenated Chlorofluorocarbon Voluntary Phaseout Program," Natural Resources Defense Council/Environmental Defense Fund/Friends of the Earth, April 1988.

#### ship

##### Senior Team Emeritus
http://www.tri-dee.com/FoamCore.htm

Gatorboard ®' FRP A Multi layer composite of extremely dense and durable 1. Polystyrene foam that resists crushing and denting. Topping the core are several Thick nesses of plastics, papers and adhesives, creating a moisture-resistant layer that helps form a rigid board that won't bend or warp. The smooth paper finish offers ideal ink coverage and needs little or no preparation for mounting and laminating. It's free of toxic chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and formaldehyde
Exceptional rigidity, surface quality and durability make it the mounting board of choice for photographers and photo Mount, screen printing, acrylic and oil painting and Water Colorist. The typical applications of Gatorboard is mounted photos, cut out letters, screen printed graphics, backing boards, temporary walls, parade floats, blueprint, charts, and graph mounting, and costumes.
This is a Class A rated asbestos-free panel, and is dimensionally stable and lighter than plywood. Gatorboard Graphic Arts Board The toughest laminated foam panel you can buy. If the job calls for a rugged, durable board that resists dents and punctures, you’ll want Gatorboard and nothing else. The exceptionally hard, smooth surface is uniform and blemish free. Photo Mounting, artists, designers, sign painters, exhibit builders, and engineers have counted on it for years. Gatorboard has a light, durable core of polystyrene foam, bonded on both sides to patented Luxcell ® facings.
These wood fiber veneers are impregnated with a proprietary resin for integrity, durability, and moisture-resistance. Ideal for indoor or outdoor use. Gatorboard requires only standard woodworking tools for cutting and shaping. Make straight or curved lines easily with any saw — it won’t tear, chip, or shred. And you can cut angles and bevels easily. For smooth, clean irregular cuts and shapes, a standard router is all you need..
The black color further aggravates this problem as dark colors absorb ultra-violet light.

MAXIMUM USE TEMPERATURE:
Due to the thermoplastic properties of the extruded 2. Polystyrene foam core used in Gatorfoam laminated foam panels, the maximum continuous use temperature of the product is limited to 165 F The maximum intermittent use temperature is 180 F.

COMBUSTIBILITY:
Caution should be taken to avoid exposing Gatorfoam panels to an open flame during storage, handling, installation or use, because this composite panel will burn. However, the burning or combustion rate of Gatorfoam panels can be reduced significantly when completely coated with at least 3.5 mils of coating (in tumescent) classified as "Fire Retardant" by Underwriter's Laboratories.

FLATNESS:
As we have stated, Gatorfoam laminated foam panels are both rigid and strong. However. like other panel products, they may bow under certain conditions. Potential for bowing, of course, is much greater in the thinner panels and in full 4' x 8' unsupported panels or on panels that are treated differently on one side than on the other, e.g. laminating sheet materials to one side only or exposing one side of the panel to a higher heat source than the other side. We suggest that similar precautions for controlling bowing be taken with our Gatorfoam panels as would be taken with most other panel products. (Please note that the 3/16" panel is not warranted against warp.)
1.

GBB5 4896 1/2" X 48" X 96" Black 10.9lbs $79.57$65.22 $63.05 12$58.30

1. This fact sheet, published by the Polystyrene Packaging Council and its members, presents the facts about polystyrene. This information should help you gain a deeper understanding of why polystyrene is the best choice for food service packaging.
What is Inside?
Styrene, a petroleum by-product, is the primary raw material from which polystyrene is made. Styrene, first commercially produced in the 1930s, played an important role during World War II in the production of synthetic rubber. After the war, much of the use of styrene shifted to the manufacture of commercial polystyrene products. Synthetic styrene is also used in the manufacture of products such as automobile parts, electronic components, boats, recreational vehicles, and synthetic rubbers. Today, you or a member of your family will probably use a product derived from styrene.
Modern man has known about styrene for centuries. A naturally occurring substance, styrene is present in many foods and beverages, including wheat, beef, strawberries, peanuts and coffee beans. Also found in the spice cinnamon, its chemical structure is similar to cinnamic aldehyde, the chemical component that elicits cinnamon's flavor. It is naturally present to flavor foods, and is used as a flavoring additive to such food as baked goods, frozen dairy products, soft candy, and gelatins and puddings, with permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Polystyrene Packaging Council works closely with the Styrene Information and Research Center (SIRC), whose mission is to collect, develop, analyze and communicate pertinent information on styrene. Since 1987, SIRC has undertaken a comprehensive research program to enhance understanding of styrene's potential to affect human health and the environment.
Polystyrene meets stringent U.S. FDA standards for use in food contact packaging and is safe for consumers. Health organizations encourage the use of single-use food service products, including polystyrene, because they provide increased food safety.
All packaging (glass, aluminum, paper, and plastic - including polystyrene) contains substances that can "migrate," or transfer, to foods or beverages. The FDA regulates residual levels of these components in food packaging to ensure that packaging is safe to use.
What is Not Inside?
Polystyrene foam products are 95 percent air and only five percent polystyrene. When polystyrene foam packaging is produced, a blowing agent is used in the process. Most polystyrene foam products never were made using chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a blowing agent. The few polystyrene products that were made with CFCs comprised a very small portion of the nation's CFC use. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), only two to three percent of CFCs used in the United States in the 1980s went toward production of polystyrene packaging products. At the forefront of U.S. industry, polystyrene manufacturers exceeded government goals and timetables during the phase out period of CFCs in the late 1980s.
Polystyrene foam products are now manufactured primarily using two types of blowing agents: Pentane and Carbon Dioxide.
Pentane gas has no effect on the upper ozone layer, although, if not recovered, it can contribute to low-level smog formation. Therefore, manufacturers use state-of-the-art technology to capture pentane emissions.
With ever-evolving technology, some manufacturers use carbon dioxide (CO2 or other hydrocarbons in some cases) as an expansion agent for polystyrene foam. CO2 is non-toxic, non-flammable, does not contribute to low-level smog, and has no stratospheric ozone depletion potential. In addition, the carbon dioxide used for this technology is recovered from existing commercial and natural sources. As a result, the use of this blowing agent technology does not increase the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Sources:
1) "Disposables versus Reusables: A Study of Comparative Sanitary Quality," Dairy Food and Sanitation, Jan, 1985; "Utensil Sanitation: A Microbiological Study of Disposables and Reusables," Charles W. Felix, et al, Sept./Oct. 1990.
2) "Single Service and Solid Waste" Resolution, National Environmental Health Assn. Board of Directors, June 1991.
3) "Waste Management and Reduction Trends in the Polystyrene Industry, 1974-1997," Franklin Associates, Aug. 1999.
4) "Municipal Solid Waste in the United States 1999 Facts and Figures," prepared for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Franklin Associates Ltd., July 2001.
(5) "Rubbish! The Archeology of Garbage," William Rathje and Cullen Murphy, 1989.
6) "Petroleum Supply Annual -- 1997," U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, June 1998 and "Annual Energy Review -- 1997," U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, July 1998.
7) See: FDA's Food Additive Regulation at 21 CFR 172.515
(8) "Disposables versus Reusables: A Study of Comparative Sanitary Quality," Dairy Food and Sanitation, Jan. 1985.
(9) "Statement of Support for The Foodservice Packaging Institute's Fully Halogenated Chlorofluorocarbon Voluntary Phaseout Program," Natural Resources Defense Council/Environmental Defense Fund/Friends of the Earth, April 1988.

#### ricc0luke

##### Active Member
Ship: Thanks for all the info.... it was rather interesting to read.

SuperCow:
The comparasion to carbon monoxide was made simply because it is on of the most well known toxic gas, not because it is similar.

#### thelightguy

##### Member
I have never built one, but you need to read this book, it will refresh every memory, I garantee you.
Technical Theatre for Non-Technical People. It is on;y about 30 dollars or so, but is well worth it. Can't recall the author's name, but I got it from Barns&Noble. Think its on their web.

P.S. Not to get personal, but, If we know your location, one of us might be able to help, physicly.

mayham-Your Autrailian Science is amazing, I work with foam, thanks for the safty info.