Anatomy of a Foam Cutter

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    • #8917
      • Posts: 5952

      Yeah it was posted in the Discussions section, but without all of this wonderfull accompanying text. :smiley2:

      1st let me apologize for the poor photos. I haven’t had too much spare time, so these are

      just quick clicks. So the lighting is poor, but enough detail is their.

      After my site gets redesigned, I will redo this feature, with alot more commentary, better photos, and

      suggestions for custom parts. As well as a small movie to show it in action.

      I will be following the same basic design and flow as Derek with this Feature. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery)

      Oh! Excuse any gross spelling/grammatical errors.


      The Anatomy of a Foam Cutter

      Or, A (not so)thorough look at its basic design.


      Photos For Accompanying Text, Here.

      Images 1, 1b, 1c – Show off the overall design of the wonderous little tool. Note it’s slender design and how

      it lends itself to ease of use, even at odd angles.

      Images 2, 3, 4&5 – Show the reomval of the tubes’ contents. The lid simply screws off the threaded metal

      container. Inside are the 2 “D” Cell batteries & spring that provides a constant tension

      so the batteries maintain contact.

      Images 6, 6b, 6c – Show off the contents, all splayed out for your approval. 6c illustrates the proper direction

      for which the spring should be placed. (Look deeply)

      Images 7, 7a-7b– Note the curvy metal bracket that serves a dual purpose. (1)It forms part of the electrical

      circuit. (2) It serves as the tension rod for the actual ehated cutting wire. Note how the

      base of the tube has 2 slits cut into it(7a), and then pulled outward to form a loop for the

      cutting wire to tie onto(7a-a1). And the top of the bracket has a small hole cut into it for the

      wire to feed through. Which is then tied around it(7a2).

      Images 8, 8a-8b– Serves to illustrate the simple on/off mechanism with which the batteries juice is sent up around

      the curvy metal bracket, down through the thin cutting wire(thereby *heating it) back into the base

      of the tube, back through the batteries, thus completing the circuit.

      Image 9– Is a (semi)technical drawing, illustrating the devices actual dimensions (in metric for the rest of

      the world. As well as it’s besic design and placement of it’s inner contents.

      I do not have the exact gage of the cutting wire(I have not stopped by the craft store to see what it is on the replacement

      set. But I would hazard a guess at or around 28-32. It’s very thin. It can also be pruchased at any DIY or Hardware store.

      * This wire gets pretty hot. It could cause 1st, and quite possibly 2nd degree burns. (No it doesn’t get red hot) But please

      use cautiously. It is less dangerous than an Xacto knife, but still ACT responcibly.

      (Quick Custom Build description)

      I have constructed a partial “homemade” version of this. Utilizing papertowel/toilet paper roll tubing to house the batteries

      snuggly. (I slit the tube lengthwise, condensed it to just a little larger than the battery circumference. And used Duct tape to

      reseal it. I cut strips of foam(similar to the stuff used in seat cushions & as seen in Dereks’ Custom Car/Controller Carrying

      Case. And glued them to the outside of the tube. (this was because the actual metal tube I am using has the main body is a bit

      larger than the original foam cutter. I would have too much play inside.) The main body is a small drinking can. (think

      small V8 cans). I have already cut the slits in the top to use as a tie off for the cuting wire. But I have not decided on

      what would be most useful as the curved bracket. I was thinking of a metal clothes hanger. And I haven’t started the hunt for a

      spring to provide proper battery tension.But when this project is complete, I’ll post photos and specifics.


      Ok, I know it’s not complete, but it should be a good start for anyone wanting to make their own. And beleive me, if you work

      with foam for scenery, it is the best thing since sliced bread. As a matter of fact, it cuts through foam like soft butter. Allowing

      you to cut any angle, curve or shape you desire.

      I’ll post a small movie of it in action shortly.

      Future Features:

      Scenery Design. I’ll be showing the few items I’ve made & working on, such asL

      Cones, Start/Finish Line, Giant Rally Tire(that you drive through), Ramps, inclines, curved track pieces,

      buildings, grand stands and my own custom track walls/sections.

      Thanks for tuning in,


    • #13569
      • Posts: 5952

      Orright – I take the bait!I’m going to have a go at building one this weekend. Will let you know how I go, Floyd.

      Thank you for the excellent pix and detailed instructions.

      I’m dead keen to build a new track :smiley15:


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