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I know this is old, but for others...
Stainless steel is your best friend here, resistance is fairly high and it is also pretty strong and stiff at foam cutting temperatures. Easy enough to scrounge from a welder. TIG rods can usually be found at 1/16" and up, MIG wire down to 1/32". Nichrome isn't quite as strong, is much harder to find and costs more. That said it does work pretty well if you find some. Plain steel wire will also work, but needs a lot of current, it won't take the heat without wilting that stainless or nichrome will. The current and voltage you need depends on the size and length of wire you use. A metre of 1/16" (1.6mm) welding rod might want about 6V and 15 amps. Thinner wire will want a few more volts but less current. Having something you can adjust is the key. Home made resistors using bits of wire can be used in lieu of an adjustable supply. Car/motorcycle batteries are good for high current. Find some wire and make a mess till you get it right!
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Posted:Jun 4, 2009
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