Hot Wire

hotwireHeated by electrical resistance, our CNC hot wire cutter's tensioned Ni-Chrome wire passes through polystyrene foam effortlessly while creating precision shapes and contours. The 1/64" wire carves a path through the foam only 1/16" wide as the foam evaporates around it. Our hot wire cutter has an operating area of 96" x 96" and can handle blocks of foam 48" tall. Wire temperature is adjustable, and many cutters reach almost 400° Fahrenheit. To prevent scorching, we typically reduce temperatures to 90 percent, about 350°. On extremely delicate projects, we may turn the heat down to 35 percent, approximately 137°.

After the cuts are programmed, the wire simultaneously operates on horizontal and vertical planes to produce contours and smooth edges. It is also able to reverse direction to make cuts into and back out of foam pieces. Once a side has been completely cut, the block is rotated and the machine continues the cutting process. The hot wire cutter produces products such as inserts for hot tub covers, packaging, and sheets of insulation. This machine also allows us to create lightweight architectural pieces like columns and crown moldings, and even toys like airplane gliders.

Examples of products fabricated by this machine:
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