Making a hot wire foam cutter.

Discussion in 'Materials' started by etott, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. etott
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: IOWA

    etott Junior Member

    Anyone make a hot wire foam cutter?

    I have an AC electric burner/heater kind of like an electric stove, and was wondering if I could make one from that?
     
  2. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    If you google 'hot wire foam cutter', there are 1,070,000 hits with most of the first ones telling you how to make one. What are you going to use it for? Sam
     
  3. etott
    Joined: Jan 2007
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    Location: IOWA

    etott Junior Member

    I wanted to use it for cutting 2" insulation foam for building a plug.

    Would the electric burner work if I used the correct resistance wire?

    Thanks
     
  4. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

    Try using 12v and appropriate resistance wire for battery amperage.
    Safer and same effect.
    Buy new resistance wire too.
     
  5. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    Here's one of those google sites. There are a lot more. At the bottom of this one there are links to 5 home built versions. Like rayk says, don't use 120 volt AC, it's too dangerous.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot-wire_foam_cutter

    How will you use it making a plug? Will you use it freehand or will it follow a pattern? Sam
     
  6. Blue Heron
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Location: North Central Florida

    Blue Heron Junior Member

    I agree. I used a 12V electric train transformer for mine. The built-in rheostat is useful for controlling temperature.
     
  7. thill
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: Virginia, USA

    thill Junior Member

    1. Buy a roll of the thickest tungsten filament wire (can't remember the diameter) from an electrical supply store.
    2. Make a "bow" out of wood. (C-shaped)
    3. Put a power cord on a regular light dimmer, and mount to the bow. Run output wires to the ends of the bow.
    4. String the bow with the tungsten wire and connect ends to the power wires.

    To use, turn the dimmer all the way down. Plug the dimmer in and slowly turn up the dimmer until the wire begins to glow faintly. Too hot, and the wire will break. Cut to your heart's content.

    Hot wire is the only way to cut foam.

    -TH
     
  8. mike1
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Cape Town

    mike1 Junior Member

    I Have a CNc foam cutter that I have used for cutting sections for a plug. A hand held bow with wire probably wont work , youd need a template to run the wire over.
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    What kind of foam are we talking about? The sickly yellow eurothane stuff or the seat stuff.

    I need to cut some foam in the near future,-- the eurothane stuff
     
  10. mike1
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Cape Town

    mike1 Junior Member

    Jack,The foam that I can cut is Polystyrene , either expanded or extruded.
    Polyeurothane cannot be cut with a hotwire, and I believe gives off noxious fumes if you try to.
    I have seen some ridgid poly eurothane cuting done with a cnc machine that uses a flexable toothed thin wire ,The machines are expenseive , but there might be and organisation near you who would do the cutting for you.
    My CNC machine I made myself for very little $
    Mike
     
  11. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Mike1 Oh- well thanks for that then, back to the bread knife.
     
  12. alaskamokaiman
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Palmer Alaska

    alaskamokaiman Junior Member

    You can put some tape on the base of a band saw and cut poly. You have to stop it from going down the hole on either side of the blade then it cuts nice. I made many costumes this way.
     

  13. joefaber
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    Location: san francisco

    joefaber Junior Member

    electric carving knife?
    blades are eight to twelve inches long.
    reciprocating cutting action is designed for cutting meat, solid foam shouldn't be a problem.
    draw the pattern on the board and proceed to cut outside the lines.
     
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