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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so this razor blade is getting me nowhere and i'd rather not fork out the money for a kit right now. I need some ideas to make a foam cutter. I've got plenty of copper wire hangers and two soldering irons, point style if anything can be done with that. i don't have the two pronged style. I read somewhere that i could also try a variable transformer, but i have no idea what kind of specs it would need to have.
 

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ER6Ninja Warrior
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I am going to start by saying I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, but....

What about a 12v battery charger? You probably will have a hard time using coat hangers, but something like guitar string, and start with the leads as far as possible, then bring them closer to adjust heat? It seems like it would work, but hey...
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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Yup, easy to make. Doorbell transformer or a computer power supply will do to get a source of low voltage / high (enough) amperage power. Doesn't have to be any fancy wire, since it won't need to be super hot, but it should be THIN. Thin wire = high resistance and less vaporized styro nastiness. Floral wire or guitar string (not wound) will do, although everybody seems to use nichrome wire these days. Just be sure the wire is under tension (weight, spring, or bow frame) because it will stretch when heated, and your cuts will suck if the wire is slack.

And yeah, you could use a 12v battery or maybe a charger as the power source. My friends mom had a small commercial one from a crafts store that used a few d cell batteries and VERY thin wire.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ok thanks guys, im sure i've got an old guitar string around somewhere, if not its probably about time for a new set anyway. what about my trickle charger, think its 1.5 amps, or do i need more than that. given that the wire will stretch it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to have some sort of output control maybe a dimmer switch? lets pretend like my understanding of the way electrical current conducts heat went out the window a couple hundred brain cells ago. :rastaman2:
 

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lɐʇuǝɯᴉɹǝdx&#4
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Dimmer switch is rarely needed, because as a wire gets hot, the resistance gets higher. Pretty much self regulating. If its not getting hot enough, you need more power, or thinner wire. If its getting to hot... well, that usually doesn't happen, but you could just slap in a resistor I guess.

1.5 amp at 12 volt should be plenty- heat pretty much directly goes up with amps, but you don't need a whole lot for this purpose. Only reason it wouldn't work is if the charger has some sort of short-circuit detection; the resistance can be very low until the wire gets hot.
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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393 Posts
how about a hobby/model railroad transformer as the power source?

found one...the transformer shown appears to be an old Lionel or American Flyer transformer.

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
ok thanks, ill try the battery charger tomorrow since i have it already. if that doesnt work ill c about getting over to the hobby shop to look for a transformer of some sort. one for a model train should be simple enough, the attendant may even be able to show me what I'm looking for, for once.
 

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CB350Cafe first build
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I have some different transformers at the house...I will post any progress or learning I do! From the YT vids I've seen, people are cutting foam using D-cells...a small hobby transformer should certainly do the trick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
well i couldn't find the train engine set up and i wasn't entirely sure about what i would need to go along with the transformer so went to our parts guy at the tractor dealership today. He's no expert, but he's usually our go to guy for phone repairs and general electronic information so i thought y the hell not. well he took it and ran with it. Ironically he has friends that use foam cutters to make wings for rc planes. Within an hour and he had me an old power supply box rigged up with a fan, switch and fuse and a parts list of what i needed to go get. unfortunately thats about where the luck stopped. the biggest transformer i could find was a ac to 12.6v /2 amp. from what i've read that should be sufficient for foam but sooner or later i'm gonna get curious about what else i can do with this thing. of coarse now that i think about it, maybe i should've tried the hardware store instead of radio shack.

anyways while i was there i picked up a six pin volume switch thinking i could control it on the dc side. well i gave it to him and he and my boss messed around with it for a bit and when i come back in for lunch they had it plugged in trying to figure out why it wasn't working. they had the pot rigged up to the ac side (the hot to the ground thank god) and said that was probably where the problem was because they weren't sure how to hook it up. they send me to the hardware store to get dimmer switch. so i get that, he rigs it up, i plug it in and damn near catch on fire. apparently the fan they found was dc and they didn't know it.

so theres were im at. I brought home a nifty littly box with sorts of neat little shiny items (i found a new fan) that doesn't do any thing. Im thinking to use the dimmer on ac to give me a broad range to work with and the 6 way pot on the dc side to fine tune things (also thinking of stepping it up with an dig. amp/voltmeter). right now not wanting to take any chances, they've got the new fan on a modified cell phone transformer.

I think i've got the first three pins on the pot figured out; ground, input, one of the leads respectively, but the other three im not sure about. I'll try to get a pic uploaded at some point, but for now they're on the back opposed to the top where the other three are. triangle pattern, top one is copper and the two lower ones are tinted red. I'm thinking the other lead needs to pass thru here so that they have equal current but which one to use i have no idea. I'm going to play with it and c what i come up with, maybe stir something loose in the old noggin, but any tips would be much appreciated. also while i'm sure i can figure out how to ground the ac side, what about the dc, can i use the ground circuit or do i do away with it entirely.
 

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Racer
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so this razor blade is getting me nowhere and i'd rather not fork out the money for a kit right now. I need some ideas to make a foam cutter. I've got plenty of copper wire hangers and two soldering irons, point style if anything can be done with that. i don't have the two pronged style. I read somewhere that i could also try a variable transformer, but i have no idea what kind of specs it would need to have.
Model Train Transformer for power . Piano wire << model shops will have this . Youtube has video's for building these cutters .
 
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