Pipe Insulation

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Pipe insulation (copper pipe insulation, iron pipe insulation, etc.) is simply a foam tube sold as an easy way to insulate plumbing pipes. Unlike funnoodle pipe insulation is available year round. Like funnoodle it is generally inexpensive. Torqued pipe insulation is also a great substitute for small pieces of PVC if you want to widen your sword handle.

Buying it

Just looking to buy some online? You can find it on the Lowes website at $5 per 6ft tube.

Pipe insulation often comes in 4 foot section in a 4 pack, or in 6 or 8 foot sections individually. It is usually sorted in the store by diameter of pipe it is meant to cover. Insulation meant to fit a certain diameter of copper pipe will be smaller than a given diameter of PVC. Check your pipe and insulation to make sure there is a close fit. Its often a good idea to check the metric measurement of the insulation as they are a lot more accurate usually than the standard measurements, which can be off by a noticeable amount.

Warning: There are two major types of pipe insulation. One type is light, "fluffy", and is rather bubbly in cross section and comes in black, grey, or even brown. The other type called "PF Pipe Insulation" or "foam rubber" is almost always black. It is heavy, rubbery, and does not compress much on contact. It is not appropriate for weapons, as getting hit with it is akin to being beaten with a garden hose. Do not buy and use pipe insulation labeled as "PF Pipe Insulation" or "foam rubber".

Foam Brands

Drill Spot / Thermacel

Drill Spot is also known as Thermacel and is made by a company called Nomaco and sold by Drillspot. When Nomaco sells the insulation directly they call it Thermacel and it is generally just a little bit cheaper.

You can find it on Zoro.com relatively cheaply and with free shipping on orders over $50. You can also find it on the Drillspot website.

Frost King

Frost King is actually just the Nomaco brand in Canada and can usually be found at Lowes. Its a bit cheaper than Drill Spot is and a lot better for making weapons out of. Apparently it is cheaper because its not as good as an insulator.

Working with it

Pipe insulation comes with one slit up the side, to better enable it to fit on a pipe. Sometimes this slit has a glue already applied to it, with plastic strips to contain the stickiness. The insulation will easily stick to itself and the weapon core beneath. If the insulation does not have glue already applied, spray-on carpet glue works well to keep the piece from rotating on the core. This slit acts as the biggest weak spot for your sword. If you can avoid hitting people with that side of your sword, it will last a lot longer.

When not used correctly, pipe insulation tends to break down quickly, even more so than Funnoodle. Using it as an outer layer of foam with a camp pad core has proven to make long lasting and durable weapons, not unlike MC swords. It's also successful as Courtesy Padding.

External Links

Foams used in Amtgard
Funnoodle · Eggcrate Foam · Camp Pad · MC · Foam Tubes · Polyethylene Plank Foam · Volara · Couch Foam · Pipe Insulation · Underlay foam