Technical, Techniques, Hints, and Tips > Modelling tools

DIY Foam Cutter


I needed a foam cutter, so looked at the Proxxon one, and while it's nice, it's not cheap...  So looked at YouTube and there are a lot of DIY builds, and so this is my version.

Seems you have to put a low DC voltage and current through a length of Nichrome wire, which then gets hot and cuts the foam cleanly.

Very few parts.  I had a general purpose 12v PSU already:

I used a 5-35V 5A DC PWM motor controller from Amazon, about 3.00, it incorporates an on/off switch and allows temperature to be controlled:

Frame is cut from spare 15mm ply, I used spare 20AWG wire to hook it all up, and 0.7mm Nichrome wire which cost 7.49 from Amazon for 5m...

Negative is connected to the lower end of the Nichrome, I used a pair of nuts to clamp the Nichrome:

Positive is routed to the top 7mm mild steel bar (ex component of a filing cabinet):

A spring is used to keep tension as the Nichrome can expand / contract as its heated, and I recessed / epoxied a flat washer on the work surface to prevent the hot wire burning the base.

First task, cutting out a couple of shapes that will be used in place of real LiPos during the build process.

And the 'Lipos' in place ready to mark the cutouts in the frames and generally help with internal layout.  I don't want to buy the real Lipos yet as they're almost 100 each for 8,000mAh 6S Graphenes, and the build will probably take a couple of years...

I intend to cut foam to give my new Aquarama build plenty of sound suppression and the extra buoyancy is always useful.

Cost of new parts around 10.00...  The wife will be pleased..! (Well, until I buy the real Lipos..!)  :-))

Best regards to all.

Capt Podge:
That's another good idea you've had there David and I guess the money saved by making it yourself will be put to good use. (for other boat related stuff that is)  ;)


Tug Fanatic:
I use the wire from an electric heater element but I understand that the top string from an electric guitar works well and is cheap.

Martin [Admin]:

Nice build David.   :-))

Have been using 0.5mm dia piano wire for years.

 Regards  Ian.


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