Hot Wire Foam Cutter Does Circles, Too

Foam is all kinds of useful, but trying to cut it with scissors or a serrated plastic knife is usually an exercise in futility. What you really need is a hot wire for nice clean cuts. [Elite Worm] built a hot wire foam cutter that can cut any type of foam with ease, be it Styrofoam or grey craft foam.

There are a ton of ways to heat up a taut piece of nichrome wire, but few of them are as good looking as this one. [Elite Worm] designed and printed a table with an adjustable fence so it can be used like a table saw. There is also a circle-cutting jig that looks really handy.

This design uses a 12 V power regulator to heat up a piece of tension-adjustable nichrome wire for buttery smooth cuts. This thing looks fantastic all the way down to the cable management scheme. All the files are available on Thingiverse if you want to build one for yourself, but you’ll need to use something other than PLA.

This wire cutter is pretty versatile, but you could go even smaller with a handheld version, or build a larger, CNC-based machine.

3 thoughts on “Hot Wire Foam Cutter Does Circles, Too

  1. Neat design!

    Foam is really interesting, albeit at times messy to work with when carving or sanding, and I’ve never gotten beyond foam model aircraft or watercraft.

    Every since wanting to build a fairing for a trike design I made, I’ve been really fascinated in uses like the cedar strip design windsurf boards, paddle boards, kayaks and canoes. Seems like an interesting way to have a light weight specific thickness cover with carbon fiber or whatever applied material on each side (fiberglass, kevlar, denier, hemp, wood, wire mesh, etc.).

    For some reason, I just now thought about in order to carve or sand less… using wire cutting more than say the ribs. Kind of like with solid fuselage builds. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Neat design.
    I especially like the design of the fence.
    I think that PLA would work fine with a few small modifications.
    The screw holding the wire under the table could be mounted through a pair of plywood pieces. The original printed mounts need a slight modification to secure the wood to the table.
    I would connect the upper end of the wire to the aluminum tube with a spring, as nichrome expands quite a lot when hot.

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