Here's another way to use the cylinders. I originally got the cylinders for tying the fly using only one cylinder. This photo shows a double cylinder set up. This photo is from the net. It's clearer than what I take.
Matt, if you feel like fiddling try shaping the foam like a Rapala (jointed like these or single body shaped like the original floating Rapala minnow). Don't cut the head at an angle. I use a sanding disk mounted in a variable speed electric drill to speed the shaping process. For a lip you can purchase them pre made for fly tying but since you are like me and enjoy the experimentation, try using the clear plastic from blister packs to form them. You can cut a square bill, rounded bill or any shape you desire.
Matt, for a small number of cylinders Wapsi sells the foam in small blocks too. If you are into large numbers you can type in closed cell foam into your browser and lots of vendors come up. I bought my sheets a while back at one of the local mom and pop hardware stores but haven't found it at the big chain hardware stores. Starting out, I'd stick with white and color it to suit. Some Sports shops sell blocks they call yoga pillows. Maybe try those places too. Let me explore this a bit more for you.
Oh I forgot. The secret to getting smooth cylinders is to keep the cutter edges sharp and go slowly allowing the edges to cut. You can't "punch" out cylinders. If it's a smaller number you need, order Wapsi foam blocks. You can easily get dozens of cylinders of 3/8" diameter out of one block (1.6x2x4) for the staggering cost of $1.95. This beats paying that price for 6 of the pre-formed ones. Also check out Walmart for SportRack SR5527R Replacement Blocks for 24" Adjustable Foam Kayak Carrier. These appear to be good sized blocks of closed cell foam and cost about $15. I've been meaning to do this myself, just didn't get to it yet.
Amazon sells a yoga block available in 12 colors for $8.99. The block is 9x6x4". Beats paying for Wapsi brand. One more caution. Don't try using copper tubing to make the cutter, copper is too soft. Brass works but not copper.
Probably beating a dead horse on this foam issue but you can make some sexy bodies by cutting circles from 2 or 3 mm thick craft foam sheets using a cheap make it yourself brass tube cutter. Use alternating colors like yellow and black, white and red, or whatever combo you like. I use superglue between colors (one side only). You can create some nice cylinders this way and sand them to popper shape quickly using a sanding pad attachment in your electric drill.
Daniel, basically the plug cutters are nothing more than tubes with a cutting edge. You can get fancy with them, but its also simple to do and rather than a photo, I can go you one better. Type the following into your browser:
How To Make A Plug Cutter For Foam.m4v
This video is as quick and dirty as you could want. Be sure to remove the metal burrs inside and out. The foam the guy in the video is using is not the right foam. Using high density foam you will need to go more slowly and let the cutter do the work. The video shows the cut plugs slipping easily out of the cutter. I don't have that same experience. You can cut a slot in the side of the plug cutter to push out the plug so you need not remove the cutter from the drill after each plug. Just slip a narrow bladed screwdriver into the slot to push out the plug Key to this all is keeping the cutting edge sharp. Hope this helps you.
Daniel, here is another link to a simple cutter. This one isn't a video but shows a plug cutter with the sides slotted. Dont know why the fellow posting this was cutting really small thickness foam unless he was going to cut different colors and glue the bodies up (as a bumblebee for example). The cutter shown here will work on thicker foam just keep the edge sharp and go slow.
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