I have recently taken up prop making and just started my first foam-built costume from a video game. These kinds of costume armour builds are often built out of the various foam floor mats you can buy in say Home Depot or BJ's or Five Below for around $1 for 4 sq. foot tile.
The one thing that puzzles me is why foam dulls a sharp steel blade so easily and so quickly.
I have tried x-acto knives, those snap-off knives, even surgical scalpels. Regardless, after cutting several linear feet (maybe in the neighborhood of 5-10?), the knife blade begins to dull rapidly and no longer produces nice cuts, but begins to tear the foam instead. You can always sharpen your blade on a stone, but in short order it will again dull and tear.
I generally do all my cutting on one of the green, self-healing cutting mats. This could explain the tip dulling, but it is actually the whole length of the blade exposed to the foam that gets dull.
It happens across types, thicknesses and densities of foam. The floor mats are about 0.5 " and medium density. The craft foam from Michaels is 6mm, high density and rigidity. The roll I have is 0.25" low density, low rigidity
It absolutely baffles me how soft squishy foam just destroys the edge of a metal knife.
I am guessing it has something to do with the molecular organization of the foam or something, but would love to know if anyone has a good explanation for why and how this happens.