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A hot wire foam cutter is used to “cut” patterns out of foam.  In reality no cutting takes place.  A wire is stretched between two points and then connected to a power source.  When power is applied the wire resists the flow of energy and gets hot.  The foam is then fed into the wire causing it to melt resulting in the ”cutting” action.

There are many versions of this machine.  Some simply stretch a wire between two pieces of wood and connect it directly to 110v.  NOT a good idea as this WILL kill you if you are not careful.  Some connect their cutter to a battery and some to the battery charger.  The commercial machines use a dedicated variable power supply.

I chose to use my battery charger for the power source since it spends most of its life doing nothing and was paid for.  Now we can connect the cutter directly but this will cause the wire to get very hot and can distort the foam.  Not to mention reduce the life of the wire.  The simple easy solution is to use a standard light dimmer and receptacle to plug the charger into.

The design of the cutter also leave room for interpretation.  I am currently experimenting with a design and will post pictures when I have something I like

3-22-03 My charger was "borrowed" so I decided since I was going to make a box to put the dimmer and outlet in, I might as well build a power supply.  A light dimmer, scrounged outlet, cord, fuse holder and a $9.95 transformer from Radio Shack.  I have room up front for some indicators and amp gauge when I get to them.  

Just a pic of the back.  Thats a standard 110 outlet.  Since I will be the only one using this thing I hope I am smart enough to only plug in what is supposed to be there.  I could have used some banana plugs but didn't have any and wasn't going to make a special trip to get some.  I can just cut the end off a cheap extension cord to make connections to any cutting tools.
Pic from the front.  Nothing fancy   Still need to calibrate the dial and add some lights.
Still working on a design for a cutting table.

 

 

 

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