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Thread: Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws

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    Supporting Member DIYSwede's Avatar
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    DIYSwede's Tools

    Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws

    It's all in a (few) day's work: A Stage Design BA student at work comes up with yet another New & Creative Idea,
    and a rough scale 1:10, 8" dia model: "Low Rent Tatlin's Tower 2.0" I smugly think.

    Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws-tenth-scale-8-dia-stage-prop-model.jpg

    The designer's problem is merely "getting it done in a few days"- and "the concerned" lacking the methods, gear and skill-
    everybody of my colleagues kindly passes the buck to yours truly.
    Well, I've done it before, but in a smallish scale, and still had the frames for the cutting wires around.

    Assignment:
    Generously given 6 cubic metres of 4 x 2 ft x 4" thick and luxurious EPS blocks, and this easy-how-to from the Artist:
    "-How hard is that? Isn't it just gluing them together and cut away everything that shant be there?"
    -Eeee-Right!

    So: -After a few tests, realizing my old frames/ wires didn't really made the cut (-Yuk, yuk) to take this job on,
    and lacking the three weeks minimum delivery time for a ready-made 500 buck version,
    I figure "Ge've gotta manage this ourselves with what we've got". That's me, as everyone else suddenly just got real busy.

    BTW: -Any of you guys urging to suggest me to use a wood bandsaw - feel free to try that yourself, cuz I won't ever again.

    Method: Use the vertical wire cutter, by throwing in an 18" piece of 1.2 mm Kanthal A-1 wire,
    just lying around waiting to be assembled into a 400 VAC 2 phase Electric Furnace.
    Another meter length of this 25 m total of my A-1 stock goes into the horizontal cutter,
    of which I unfortunately don't have any pics.

    To feed these, I use a few of my salvaged PC & Laptop PSUs of different volts and amps flavors.
    The sweet spot for cutting is not having the wire to glow, but just below that point,
    so the 18" get fed by an ordinary old ATX PSU, that at 5 volts cranks out enuff amps to feed the 1,28 ohms/m wire.

    Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws-styro-cutter-pc-psu.jpg Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws-styro-cutter.jpg

    That's about 10+ amps, and later a bit more, as I make an alligator jumper cable to slide from the top terminal,
    to max the cutting speed, and just use the relevant lower part of the wire (Yellow test cable).
    Also fit a foot operated on-off switch to keep my hands free for steering.

    The horizontal cutter is also made from glamorous MDF, and a triangular spring thingy to keep the wire taut.
    Over a meter wide, and suspended by two rear side posts on the welding table, I can let the EPS glide thru,
    while lowering the wire as I check the radial position of the wire for each movement.
    Fed by an old Dell DA-2 12VDC "Power Brick" this pulls some 10 amps of the available 18.
    Though also remotely controllable, I don't bother to do that with the brick - just hook up and go, as I'm in a hurry.

    All DC power cables are recycled old, 12 or 14 AWG loudspeaker cable,
    and the wire's heat-proof terminals are salvaged from scrapped 5 kW flood lights.
    Everything just merely holding together by screws, clamps, stage tape, hot glue -
    "only good enuff" to get it done - no time for over-engineering - not today either...

    CAUTION: EPS gives off horrendous, toxic fumes when cutting, so use a real gas mask, not just a dust one,
    and I run the welding fume extractor fan wide open when enjoying this "yet another challenge in the workplace"


    Final results, before covering with glued cloth and final (White- of course!) carpet fitting & LED strips:

    Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws-rough-prop.jpg

    1 month later, after the show period's over- it'll just be cut up and thrown in the dumpster. "Much ado..."
    -Just another day at the job for yours truly: - "Quick, Dirty, Cheap and Operational."

    PS: Job only consumed 75 % of the delivered EPS boards - so now I've got the following idea - just for shucks,
    using the offcuts for this: painted, rust-stained and weathered, by a thick rope suspended from the ceiling at abt 15 feet up,
    A 2 meter long flying anvil with a 2 x 3 feet base - purporting to weigh in at 400 kg:

    Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws-2-m-styro-anvil.jpg Instant Heavy Duty Styrofoam cut- and rip-saws-biggie-flying-anvil.jpg
    Last edited by DIYSwede; 06-09-2019 at 11:51 AM. Reason: spelling and grammar

  2. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to DIYSwede For This Useful Post:

    Altair (06-09-2019), Jon (06-13-2019), Scotsman Hosie (06-11-2019)

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    Thanks DIYSwede! We've added your Hot Wire Foam Cutter to our Foam Cutters category,
    as well as to your builder page: DIYSwede's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:





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