long after I built my first cnc
machine I decided to build a second one, this time a hotwire foam
cutting machine. The machine uses 4 stepper motors to control two
seperate gantry systems, which can move independantly of each other. A
wire is stretched between the two towers and heated by electrical
current, then the two towers basically pull the wire through the foam
creating the part that you are after. I've used it to cut wing
sections, as well as foam patterns for metal casting.
was the first second machine
built. It was a 4 axis hotwire foam cutting machine
The design is pretty straight forward and the plans for the machine
came from the internet. Unlike my first machine this one is all metal
and required a bit of welding, on the vertical posts, I needed to add
the base plate to them so I could bolt them to the slide. What is
really cool about this machine is that there isn't a lot of fabrication
for it, it uses store bought parts like plastic tool hangers used for
the motor moutns, drawer slides for the slides, etc.
Here's a shot of it hooked to the same controller I used for the
Routerzilla project. I had this set up just to test the motion of the
motors and gantries, plus I needed to check the travel on each axis to
make sure nothing was binding or going to cause any problems.
This is a wing section I cut from regular pink insulation foam. It was
basically to test some new software and to try out the machine. It
wasn't intended to be used for anything, just a test.
As you can see it does a really good job of cutting wings.
This was another test part I cut with the machine. I was reading
another guys website who also likes metal casting and cnc machines and
he had come up with this cool design for a linear slide system, this
was a part that was modeled after his. It's designed to hold bearings
in the slots and ride on a solid rod through the middle. It's a very
cool design and a really cool approach.
Here's another shot of the foam casting pattern cut with the cnc
Stay tuned, when I get a chance I'll upload a video clip here of the
machine in action and the cast part.