Instructables
Picture of Hot Wire Foam Cutter
I recently decided to try to build an RC airplane and needed a clean and effective way of cutting the foam I will be using for the plane. After some research I decided that a hot wire foam cutter would be the best solution. 

I wanted something that would be able to produce clean, even, reproducible cuts so a hand help cutter was out of the question. I ended up going with a band-saw type of design.


 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Picture of Tools & Materials
Materials Used:

Lumber:
>2x4- x2 18" pieces & x2 15" pieces
>1x2- x3 15" piece
>Sheet of some sort of flat surface- I used 1/16th ply board

Hardware:
>Drywall Screws- 1-1/4" & 2-1/2"
>Adjuster Bolts- 2" (top) & 4" (bottom) + nuts
>Metal Plate Roughly 4" square + 2-1/2" Bolts (optional)
>Wire tensioner spring + Washer (Of equal outer diameter)\
>Shaft (Of inner diameter equal to above OD)
>Some sort of bead (I used a fishing lure sinker)

Electronics
>Thin Steel Wire
>Power Supply
>Wiring


Tools:

Saw (Ideally mitre saw or circular saw)
Drill (with some drill bits)





Step 2: Main Structure

Picture of Main Structure
Pic0.jpg
The first thing to do is to create the main wooden structure. There isn't much to explain here as it is a very simple structure but I have included a sketch of the plans I made. 

The only thing I did a bit different was that I made the "mast" and overhanging beam removable for easier storage. I did this by screwing a metal plate onto the mast and then bolting the metal plate onto the base. This way I can just remove the nuts off the bolts and slide the plate off along with the arm and support.
CaseyCase1 year ago
1/16" ply board? Are you sure?
spizzak (author)  CaseyCase1 year ago
Yes, why?

It's a little thinner than ideal maybe but it's what I had around the house.
I'm sorry. I have never seen plywood thinner than 1/4"--I though it was a typo.
delonzo1 year ago
Make me one
MrGreggan1 year ago
Will this cut thru foam core boards? If so, what thickness cuts best?
spizzak (author)  MrGreggan1 year ago
It would depend on what the outer layer is. If it is something that could be cut with hot wire then yeah it should. I'm not sure about thickenss- that would depend on wire gauge, and PSU current.
Slicerr21 year ago
hi um would it be possible to use stainless steel wire
guitar strings are stainless steel, so yes
okieinAZ2 years ago
It's not a great idea to use galvanized wire (as shown in your photograph). Heating galvanized metal can release toxic fumes. Breathing them causes metal fume fever. Try to get some NiChrome wire (perfect for cutting foam). Maybe a guitar string, if that's easier to come by.
spizzak (author)  okieinAZ2 years ago
Thanks for the tip but I don't think this wire gets anywhere near hot enough to release the toxic zinc oxide.
Sorry, but "I don't think" doesn't trump okienAZ's valid info. I won't tell you what to do, but others making hot wire cutters should rather choose a different wire.
oldmicah2 years ago
Awesome! Been wondering how to do this for a while... Can you give a little more detail on the steel wire you used?

many thanks
spizzak (author)  oldmicah2 years ago
Added a picture of the wire I used.
Excellent! Now I have some work to do before Halloween season comes upon us. Thank you!