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Old 08-27-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
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NiChrome hot wire to cut foam??


I'm trying to set up a hot wire 24" long so I can slice a piece of foam in half.
I thought I would fasten the wire to a work bench somehow and heat up the wire and push the foam through the wire. The foam is 4" thick and 2' x 4'
I want it to be 2" thick. I don't know how to set up the wire or what gauge to get or how to make it hot. Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 08-27-2009, 02:43 PM   #2
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NiChrome hot wire to cut foam??


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Originally Posted by bruter View Post
I'm trying to set up a hot wire 24" long so I can slice a piece of foam in half.
I thought I would fasten the wire to a work bench somehow and heat up the wire and push the foam through the wire. The foam is 4" thick and 2' x 4'
I want it to be 2" thick. I don't know how to set up the wire or what gauge to get or how to make it hot. Any help would be appreciated.
I have never made one, there are a couple of websites http://members.fortunecity.co.uk/slmohr/rcinterest2.htm http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03u1Hf7Dm5I

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Old 08-27-2009, 07:09 PM   #3
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NiChrome hot wire to cut foam??


Occasionally, I do electrical work at a styrofoam factory that uses hot wires to cut the product.

These are stretched across a table, and the foam board is fed into the wire. It makes very clean cuts.

The wire is fastened rigidly on one end, and attached to a spring on the other. The wire will grow lengthwise as it is heated, and the spring keeps it from sagging.

The power supply is a constant current type. It's DC output, but only because it's easier to control DC current than AC. AC or DC will work just fine. Current is maintained, and voltage falls wherever it will. Voltage is not high enough to be hazardous, so no insulation is needed on the Nichrome wire. It will cause serious burns though.

You'll need to experiment a bit to get the right temperature, too cold and it doesn't cut well, and gums up the wire. Too hot, and it'll smoke a lot, and the cuts will be rough.

Rob
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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NiChrome hot wire to cut foam??


Use a car battery for power and find a simple component to regulate the voltage.
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Old 08-27-2009, 08:10 PM   #5
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NiChrome hot wire to cut foam??


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Use a car battery for power and find a simple component to regulate the voltage.
Heh, which would be??

The only simple thing I could think of is making your own wirewound resistors out of some spare nichrome wire wrapped on something that won't burn. You would have to experiment with the length to get the heat level you need.
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