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With this easy-to-make hot wire foam cutter, you can reuse leftover Styrofoam to create treasures from trash!
Thanks go to Bob Knetzger for the original article in Make: Volume 16.
To download The 5-Minute Foam Factory MP4 click here or subscribe in iTunes.

Check out the complete 5-Minute Foam Factory article in MAKE, Volume 16 “5-Minute Foam Factory”
and you can see that in our Digital Edition.


  • Keegan

    One thing to keep in mind when building hot wire cutters is that the nichrome wire expands as it heats up. This can lead to a loose cutting wire, which can make cutting difficult.

    In the past I’ve seen springs used to keep tension, but I think they solve the problem here by using the springyness in the aluminum.

    Happy foam cutting!

  • scott friend

    1. You might want to say something about good ventilation or figure out a fume hood for this thing because cutting foam is not very good for your health.

    Also what over the long term will it do to your train transformer?

  • Joel Smith

    I built this project this weekend, and I’m happy with the results. I’ve been collecting materials and parts for a while, and it finally all came together. Instead of the train transformer, I used a 2.5A 12vdc wall wort and the “12V Dimmer” kit from Dale Wheat. The whole rig works great at least for my purposes. Thanks for the great build directions and information. It all went together to make a quick and successful project.

  • Stacey Lynch

    I’m looking for something to make that will cut regular foam ~ 3 or 4 inch thick foam. How would I modify this to cut thick foam?