Seat foam

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Dancball

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Where do you guys source your seat foam? I'm in need of thin high density foam for low profile seats.
 

wsimpso1

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Seatfoam.com;
Rubberitecypresssponge.com;
Cumulussoaring.com

Are all known suppliers of Confor foam in a variety of stifnesses and thicknesses. I have rebuilt seats for airplanes and posted on hba.com on my processes, materials, and suppliers. Those seats are now 11 years old, comfortable, and going strong.

Billski
 

cluttonfred

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This foam was tested by the military for things like helicopter seats and recommended for use. FWIW, this was what their representative advised when I contacted them about five years ago:

The thickness of the seat depends on the pilots height, headroom, ability to reach all foot controls and the pilot’s weight. I would suggest at least a 2.5” thickness if possible. There are two or three cushion combinations that would work well.

1. For an average weight/height pilot: start with a base of firm FRG 1” to 1.5” and the next layer could be a 1.5” medium or medium soft FRG.

2. Contour a firm FRG or medium firm FRG base (minimum contour = 1.5”) and add a 1” to 1.5” soft FRG or medium soft FRG top layer. The medium soft FRG top layer and firm FRG will feel slightly firm in cold weather

3. The other option would be a contoured laminar (base can be a combination of 2 layers) and a 1” Pudgee.

It takes about 5 minutes for the foam to warm to your body temperature an contour/mold to your body. If the cushion is too firm it will feel like you are sitting on a rock and if it is too soft you may bottom out. (we have men in production that are about 6’3” and weigh 200-220 pounds and if the sit on a work table they like the 2” medium soft support pressure).

The contoured cushion has a generic buttocks shape contoured in the base layer and a top layer of Pudgee or softer SunMate FRG added to the top. This contour cushion supports the buttocks area on initial contact, I feel this cushion provides more contact support than a flat cushion. The contour cut does cost $15.00 more than a flat cushion.

Hopefully this information is helpful.
FRG is their fire-resistant foam recommended for vehicle use. For a VP-2 (narrow side-by-side bench seat for two, two layers of 1.5" for the seat plus one layer of 2" for the backrest), total cost for the foam is under $200 delivered. Note that all of the crash foam is heavier than you think (it needs to be to do what it does...those three pieces of 16" x 37" foam for the VP-2 weigh about 10 lb in total, so call it 7 lb trimmed to fit the actual seat dimensions.

 

WWhunter

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This foam was tested by the military for things like helicopter seats and recommended for use. FWIW, this was what their representative advised when I contacted them about five years ago:



FRG is their fire-resistant foam recommended for vehicle use. For a VP-2 (narrow side-by-side bench seat for two, two layers of 1.5" for the seat plus one layer of 2" for the backrest), total cost for the foam is under $200 delivered. Note that all of the crash foam is heavier than you think (it needs to be to do what it does...those three pieces of 16" x 37" foam for the VP-2 weigh about 10 lb in total, so call it 7 lb trimmed to fit the actual seat dimensions.


Interesting! I got on their website and I wonder if anyone has tried the Liquid Sunmate for forming a seat cushion for a plane.


I've got some back issues and trying to get a seat that 'fits' has been a never ending dilemma for me. This looks like a possible solution.
 

Old Koreelah

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instead of expecting the foam to conform to your butte, why not mould the seat shape to your backside? That way, during an accident, you have a firm support for the base of you spine.

I sat in a gravel pile, wriggled until comfortable, lined the depression with plastic wrap, then poured plaster into it. The fibreglass seat made on that mould is lined with 20mm of soft foam and has kept me happy on long flights over the last 15 years. It sits on a thick layer of polystyrene,which should absorb major forces in an accident.
 

cluttonfred

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I really have nothing to do with the Sunmate company linked above but for a small fee they will precut your foam blanks with "contour," in other words, already shaped to suit a generic human rear end. That would not work for a VP-2, however, as the pilot sits in the middle straddling the stick when solo and on either side of the stick with the passenger.

 

Riggerrob

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instead of expecting the foam to conform to your butte, why not mould the seat shape to your backside? That way, during an accident, you have a firm support for the base of you spine.

I sat in a gravel pile, wriggled until comfortable, lined the depression with plastic wrap, then poured plaster into it. The fibreglass seat made on that mould is lined with 20mm of soft foam and has kept me happy on long flights over the last 15 years. It sits on a thick layer of polystyrene,which should absorb major forces in an accident.
Formula Ford race car drivers mold custom seats by dressing for a race, then sitting on a bag of slow-setting foam (Styrofoam?). That produces a tight-fitting seat that limits butt movement during high speed turns ... similar to what an aerobatic pilot needs.
 

Dana

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The Confor foam is "viscoelastic", intended to absorb energy in the event of an impact, in a way that ordinary foam cannot.

I will say that replacing the ordinary foam in my seat (2½" of foam on top of a plywood board, no room for anything more) with 3 layers of Confor foam (same total thickness) made for a significant increase in comfort.
 

Riggerrob

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Yes Dear Dana,
And many decades ago, Ladzlo Pazmany was recommending lining seats with simple styrofoam. The styrofoam is sacrificial, meaning that it collapses slightly faster than human spinal bones ... absorbing vertical crash energy that would otherwise crack your spine.
 

Matt G.

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The Confor foam is "viscoelastic", intended to absorb energy in the event of an impact, in a way that ordinary foam cannot.

I will say that replacing the ordinary foam in my seat (2½" of foam on top of a plywood board, no room for anything more) with 3 layers of Confor foam (same total thickness) made for a significant increase in comfort.
I made a seat cushion for my glider from the 1" thick green stuff, as I only had room for a 1" cushion. What an amazing transformation- went from legs falling asleep 2-hours into a flight to feeling pretty good after as much as 5 hours. That foam is some wonderful stuff.
 

dwalker

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I have used this product or similar for many, many race car seats and inserts. For Endurance racing we have a seat base and each driver has thier own insert that positions them so that they simply swap them out at the drivers change and there is no need to adjust anything except the belts. Very comfortable for hours in the seat, crash tested (unfortunately) and easily replaceable.
Creafoam Bead Seat Kit - Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies
 

Vigilant1

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The Confor foam is "viscoelastic", intended to absorb energy in the event of an impact, in a way that ordinary foam cannot.

I will say that replacing the ordinary foam in my seat (2½" of foam on top of a plywood board, no room for anything more) with 3 layers of Confor foam (same total thickness) made for a significant increase in comfort.
The Confor foam has been extensively tested. If the correct foam density is used (you want the firm/very firm stuff for most of the available stroke distance, with about 1/2" or a bit more of the softer Confor foam on top for comfort) and in sufficient depth (3" is very good, but even an inch or two provides a lot of protection), it can definitely reduce the risk of spinal injury in a crash. Some other foams might be okay, but I'd want to see real data. Regular upholstery foam bottoms out too quickly and can actually increase spinal loading compared to no cushion at all. Some polystyrene foams don't crush enough and produce higher than optimum loadings.
The glider guys have done lots of good research on this. It's worth doing some research of your own. The tested viscoelastic foams are what I would trust the most.
Edited to add: Here's a good article from Kitplanes on making seats, including tips on carving foam.
 
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mikoman

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I have used this product or similar for many, many race car seats and inserts. For Endurance racing we have a seat base and each driver has thier own insert that positions them so that they simply swap them out at the drivers change and there is no need to adjust anything except the belts. Very comfortable for hours in the seat, crash tested (unfortunately) and easily replaceable.
Creafoam Bead Seat Kit - Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies
Thank you for the link to Pegasus. Have used conformant foam on my motorcycle. Am completing a Cozy 3. this will be very helpful. yes I know it is an old post but I was still able to access those companies. Shout out to others that have posted.
 

Dancball

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Wow, guys thanks for the info. I'm gonna need to print this and hash over all the information. I can see a few experiments with seat configurations in my future.
 

Lendo

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This is just a suggestion, I have found those Wheelchair and Motorbike Cushions of Molded Air cells, perfect for relieving those developing sore points on long distance travel. It just take a sight weight movement to adjust the support. I've travelled all around the USA and Australia on Motorbikes for up to 16 hours a day.
George
 
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