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Foam cutting?

Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 10:55 pm
by scholzie
What are people using for foam cutting at the moment? Of course a thin endmill or side cutter would work, but a hot wire is really the best if you're cutting completely through the foam and not simply grinding in a notch. The question is how to keep the wire tight, and move it with the x/y axes along the bottom of the piece.

The other solution I thought up is to mount a soldering station's wand to the z axis and find/create a very thin soldering iron tip which can plunge and cut without needing to be attached at the bottom on the underside of the workpiece. Then the temperature can be finely adjusted to be sure you're not melting the foam (or setting it aflame...)

Anyone play around with this yet?

Re: Foam cutting?

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:45 am
by WillAdams
Not yet, but that is something which I want to do --- interesting idea about the soldering iron.

There's a fair bit about foam cutting on model airplane forums.

Re: Foam cutting?

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:01 am
by calica
My wife has a hot wire cutter she picked up at Micheal's (craft chain in US) for under $10. Basically a soldering iron with a 5" wire tip. Could be a good start.

Re: Foam cutting?

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 1:20 am
by Cwalster
depends on what your doing. If you doing complex surfacing, a hot wire won't do. Melting may also not yield the correct surfacing either.

I machine EPS and EPP all day long, and the trick is to use HSS, flat end mills and to conventionally cut it. If you don't you get a fuzzy surface.

Re: Foam cutting?

Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:02 am
by scholzie
Looking to flat cut the stuff first. Just get good quality 2D parts out of standard 6mm foam.

Re: Foam cutting?

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:42 pm
by RGPFX
How about this guy?

http://hotwirefoamfactory.com/035_4in_Hot_Knife.html

also available in other lengths. I'd recommend adding a fan as this stuff stinks to high heaven with toxic fumes. We have used one here at work to create model scenery. It cuts rather slowly so a slow feed rate would be necessary, though.