Manipulated Cone


»For this assignment, we were asked to create a 5 x 5 x 5 inch cone out of foam, and manipulate it so that it would be easier to pick up. These manipulations can be subtractive, additive, or neutral, but they had to be a minimal change (around a 3% change to the overall form of the cone).


»I started off with a sheet of 2 inch insulation foam, and cut it down into three 5 x 5 squares on the band saw.

Foam unprocessed

»Next, I spread an even amount of foam glue on each surface and clamped them together to create a 6 inch tall cube.

Glue fully spread   Block clamp

»Once the glue had dried, I placed my foam cube on my cone jig that I made for the geoforms cone project and ran it through the band saw. I created the foam cone the same way that I created the wooden cone. I started by cutting off all four corners of the cube, and continued to rotate it to take off all of the edges. Once most of the edges had been removed, I stopped the jig so that the tip of the cone was at the front of the band saw blade and slowly spun the cone. This created a near-perfect foam cone.

»Once the cone was cut, I did some light sanding to make the surface even smoother, and then began to apply layers of Spackle. I used thin layers of Spackle so that it would dry faster, which allowed me to apply the layers more quickly.

Cone with Spackle

»A trick that I learned was to use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process of the Spackle. This trick allowed me to apply continuous coats of Spackle within minutes, instead of waiting 45 minutes for it to air dry. After each coat of Spackle, I would use 180 grit sand paper to smooth out the surface for the next coat.

blow drier

»After I did three normal coats, I used another technique which allowed me to paint on a thin, smooth layer of Spackle that essentially filled most of the imperfections in the cone. I placed some Spackle on the cover of the container, and then mixed this Spackle with water using a paintbrush. This made the Spackle into a paint-like material which allowed me to apply it in very thin layers.

»Once I had applied the final brush-on layer of Spackle, I sanded the entire cone with 400 grit paper to create a very smooth surface. Next, I took a rounded file and slowly carved out two indentations on the upper portion of the cone. I carved out just enough so that it barely broke through the foam beneath the layers of Spackle. I then applied three more layers of Spackle to these two indentations to cover up the foam (if I didn’t, the foam would be exposed to the spray paint which would cause it to deteriorate). I then lightly sanded the two indentations so that they felt uniform with the rest of the cone.

»The next step was the painting stage. I covered the entire cone with two coats of light blue spray paint.

First coat

»After the paint had dried, I made a mask out of tape surrounding the small indentation on each side so that I could spray it with a darker blue paint. I also used brown paper to prevent any paint from spraying over.

Colored Indetns

»Once the two indentations had been painted, I covered them up with a small strip of brown paper and did a final coat to the bottom of the cone. I used the paper to make sure that no excess paint was sprayed into the indentations.

Tapped indents


»Once the bottom coat had dried, I noticed that the indentations were a little too noticeable, and since the assignment asked for a minimal manipulation, I decided to lightly spray over the two indentations with the light blue paint. The result provided a soft transition that is not too distracting, but still indicates the function of the two manipulations.

Final Pictures:

Final Cone

Cone Hand Top

FInal cone hand


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