Building A Four Axis Foam Cutter From Hardware Store Parts

Arduino Digital Fabrication
Building A Four Axis Foam Cutter From Hardware Store Parts

Michael Rechtin found himself needing a pretty fancy piece of equipment in order to make complicated shapes out of foam for R/C Airplanes. What he needed was a CNC foam cutter that uses hot wire to slice through foam smoothly. Not only that, he needed it to be 4-axis so he could get the correct geometry for wings. Instead of going out and buying a very expensive system, he cobbled one together relatively cheap.

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Much of the system is 3D printed, such as the bushings and brackets. Many of the parts, like the threaded rod he uses can be purchased at your typical “big box” store.

The brains of this beast are an Arduino Mega and a plain old RAMPS board, much like 3D printers you’ve seen built for many years. Compared to a 3D printer, hot foam cutters are relatively cheap. You just have to supply enough power to make the wire hot, and have some basic motion control. You can actually eyeball your speeds pretty well.

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I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. You can find me on twitter at @calebkraft and on youtube

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