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Hot wire foam cutter
by flywoodkb on March 21, 2006 Table of Contents Hot wire foam cutter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Intro: Hot wire foam cutter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 1: Parts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 2: Tools and supplies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 3: Making the frame pieces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 4: Bolting the frame together . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 5: Attaching the lead wires to the frame . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 6: Making the tensioning loop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 7: Attaching the hot wire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 8: Cross strings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 9: Applying tension . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 10: Wiring up the transformer and dimmer switch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 11: My crappy project box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 12: Turning it on . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Step 13: Quick and dirty sample cuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 2 2 3 4 4 5 6 6 6 7 7 8 8 9

Step 14: Alternatives and expansion ideas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Step 15: Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10

http://www.instructables.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/

6. 7. about $2 at Home Depot 2.10 . 2 amp transformer. 16 guage extension cord. 3. 12 foot. $. About $10 at Home Depot. Check out the links that folks have posted and study what they've said here and you will be able to build a cutter thats suited to your budget and the materials you have access to. Temperature of the wire is controlled by this dimer switch. I used a bamboo skewer. A piece of wooden dowel or stiff plastic rod about one foot long (not shown). 4. 9. This criss-cross string arrangement keeps the rig somewhat square. Optional: 4 regular-thickness CD cases. model plane wings. 5. the enclosure. 10. Don't underestimate the power of comments! :) Image Notes 1. 11. http://www. etc. model train or tabletop wargame terrain. low-stretch string. This loop of string is twisted to apply tension to the wire. I used 200 lb dacron kite line. 5/17/2007. These are for the box that holds the transformer and dimmer switch. Important note! Please be sure to read the comments that other users have left below. Step 1: Parts The parts should be pretty easy to find. There's a LOT of good info there.97 each 3. A 25 volt. 2 wooden yard sticks from the Home Depot paint department. 8. the wire.instructables. about . the transformer. 4 #10-24 x 1. sculpture. mold models for lost foam casting. but you would be much better off with something like a "project box" from Radio Shack. Guitar string is used for the part that heats up. $1 at Home Depot 4. $10. $1 at Home Depot 5. A length of two conductor electrical wire with a regular plug on the end.25" machine screws with nuts. About 12 feet of strong. I salvaged mine. A single-pole dimmer switch. I think around $1? You can get these individually at a music store or you can use either of the 2 smallest strings from a packaged set. 2.Intro: Hot wire foam cutter Cheap ($30+-) and easy to build hot wire foam cutter made from commonly available parts. An electric guitar string.49 from Radio Shack. 10 #10 washers.. There's a transformer in this box. and the heat control. but you could use another extention cord if you like. There are a lot of alternatives listed or linked below for the frame. 1. You should keep a spare handy because they can burn out or break from too much tension.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . Cuts styrofoam for surfboards.16 size. 3D sign letters.

Solder and soldering iron. Wrench to match the nuts (I didn't have my SAE wrenches handy so I used a 9mm) 11. 2. Dimmer switch 3. A couple of cable ties or twist ties 6. Utility knife 2. Multitester (you don't NEED one but it's a good safety check) 10. Screwdriver 5. Small wood saw 3. if you like http://www. but it would be better to have the following: 1.instructables. Transformer.Image Notes 1. Nibbler 9. Wide packaging tape 8. a drill and some tape.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . Electrical tape 7. Guitar string doesn't need to be exactly 12 guage Step 2: Tools and supplies You might be able to do the whole project with just a knife. Drill with a bit slightly bigger than the #10 screws 4.

In each half.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . Drill here 8. I didn't end up using the solder. Drill here 2. Image Notes 1. and another about 1 inch from the other end (not shown in this photo. I picked it up at an art store. so you won't have to drill that end. 2. This hole is in the yardstick when you buy it 7. but visible in later steps). Nibblers 4. Don't tighten the nuts down yet. Hand drill lets you work while the significant other is sleeping Step 3: Making the frame pieces Cut one of the yardsticks in half. This hole is already in the yardstick when you buy it 3. Drill here 6. This little saw was cheap and it's super handy. just get 'em on there kinda loose. One the remaining.Image Notes 1. drill a hole about 6 inches from the pre-existing hole (see photo). Drill here 5. One end of one half will already have a big hole in it. Drill here Step 4: Bolting the frame together Make a sort of a big H shape out of your pieces by bolting them loosely together with the machine screws. 3. uncut yardstick. drill a hole in the middle and one about 1/2 inch from each end.instructables. Drill here 4. http://www.

as shown in the second picture below. This is the leg that is on the other side of the H from the handle. Cable tie or twist tie here to keep this wire out of the way when you're using the tool http://www. but don't tighten it down at all. Bend the bare wire of the extension cord (the part you just strippeed) into a U shape. cut the plug off before you start. Cut the unmounted side of the split to about one foot. Machine screw with washers and nut here Step 5: Attaching the lead wires to the frame Now we're going to attach the wires that carry the 25V current to the cutting wire. Machine screw and nut here with wire pinched between two washers 3. Image Notes 1. if you like. Use cable ties. We'll use two machine screws as terminal posts. pull the two conductors of the cord apart so that it's split for about 3 1/2 feet.instructables. For safety's sake. 4. Machine screw with washers and nut here 2.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . You can see what the final hook-up looks like close-up in the photos for step 7. Put the nut on. Cable tie or twist tie here to keep this wire out of the way when you're using the tool 2. Insert a machine screw in the top of the right leg of your "big H" as shown in the photo. Save the plug and outlets for future projects.Image Notes 1. You need room between the washers so you can put your wire in there. You'll see what I'm talking about here if you look at the photo. Now you can tighten down the nut. Strip the end of the one foot section and mount it to the other leg of the H the same way you hooked up the first wire. First. twist ties or string to keep the wire close to the frame so it won't get in the way when you're using the tool. Use one washer on the screw head side and two on the nut side. cut off each end of your 12 foot extension cord. Starting the the end you just hooked up. and hook it around the screw between the two washers. Strip the insulation off the last inch of one end of one wire of the cord. Machine screw and nut here with wire pinched between two washers 5.

No need to chrush anything. make sure you have some tension. See the second photo. It can be kind of floppy when plucked but should be pretty much straight when at rest. Your guitar string should have a sort of a bead (for lack of the proper name) on one end. To hook up the other end of the wire. Step 8: Cross strings Now we need to install the mechanism that keeps the the legs square to the wire. but be careful not to pull too hard and break the wire. Image Notes 1. Hook the loop over one terminal and sinch it up. It might help to use pliers to keep good tension. Thread the other end of the string though the opposite leg's hole. Repeat with another string for the other side. Tie it into a loop so that when you pull the legs apart the string keeps the legs fairly parallel. Step 7: Attaching the hot wire While you are hooking up your wire. Image Notes 1. Make a loop by feeding the other end through this bead.Step 6: Making the tensioning loop Take a piece of string about 6 feet long and thread it through each hole on the other ends of the legs. It's ok if the tensioning loop is a little floppy at this point. The length of the loop should be the same as the distance between the bolts so that the legs are pretty much parallel when the loop is taut. See the photos. but when you tie off the string at the top of the leg this time. just make 'em tight enough to hold everything together. and there should be some slight tension on the wire too. Without this step your contraption will easily wobble into a parallelogram. http://www. Wrap the end of the wire around the other terminal screw and twist it off. The length of the loop should be the same as the distance between the bolts so that the legs are pretty much parallel when the loop is taut. as shown. But also make sure it's not touching the wood. This "bead" comes attached to the guitar string. Keep the loop pretty close to the nut or there will be too much twisting force on the leg when the wire is tensioned. Tie a loop in one end of a 3 foot piece of string and hook it under the washer of one of the middle screws. Square up the frame and tie off the string.instructables. Now both of the criss-cross trings should be pretty tight. don't worry. If the wire is not super tight at this point. try to avoid making any kinks it. We'll add more tension later. So. 2. the length of the loop when taut should be about the same as the distance between the bolts. Now you can tighten down both of the middle screws with the wrench.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . pull the frame legs towards each other so your string tensioning loop on the other end is taut.

Once you are happy with the tension. Pluck the wire and listen for a musical tone. after the wire gets hot for the first time. Careful not to twist too much or you'll break the wire or the frame. The frame keeps the tensioner from unwinding. Image Notes 1. If it sort of hums it should be enough to start.instructables.Step 9: Applying tension Insert a ruler or dowel in the tesioning loop and twist it until it seems to be getting a little tight. or your pet. Be careful not to electrocute yourself or start a fire. Step 10: Wiring up the transformer and dimmer switch This photo is your wiring diagram. This photo is just to show what connects where. The black two conductor wire on the left goes to the wall plug. Or maybe every time. http://www. If it sounds like "fwubababa" it needs more tension. You can always add more if it seems too floppy when you try to make your cuts. or you. just like an old-fashioned saw frame. slide the ruler or dowel down so that the yardstick keeps it from unwinding (see the photo).com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . and the brown one on the right goes to the hot wire. You'll have to readjust the tension later. You should of course use the wire nuts that came with the dimmer switch (esp on the 120V connections) and/or tape to ensure that no bare wires touch each other.

your wire may burn out before you realize that it's even hot. With your fire extinguisher handy and your body away from the device.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . Turn the dimmer all the way down (counterclockwise). they provide ventillation. Now take the lid off another case and tape it to the bottom of the 4 walls. or buy a project box at Radio Shack. then pushed together to make 4 walls. In the photo. With the wire I used that's about 1/4 or 1/3 of the full rotation. If the wire doesn't hum or heat up by the time the dimmer is halfway up. The bottom will touch two opposite walls and there will be gaps under the other walls. and start again. push in til it clicks. Next time you use the foam cutter. the box has been turned on it's side. and tape the top on. Are the lights still on? Is the hotwire still whole? Sweet. It should slice smoothly into the foam. Try playing with the dimmer switch setting to get the best cut. and set a small plant pot inside with the plant sticking out? Step 12: Turning it on Set the rig up somewhere where it won't catch the house on fire or melt the carpet if something is wired wrong. You shouldn't have to push very hard. This box was made from 4 cd cases and some packaging tape. Don't tape over the gaps.instructables. SLOWLY (like 5 degrees per second) turn the dimmer up (clockwise) til the wire starts to quietly hum. There shouldn't be yet. Have I mentioned that you should use a different design for your enclosure? I think this kind of box might have some other uses. The wire heats up and cools down within a second or two. tape in the transformer. Then connect up all the wiring according to the diagram in the previous step. Run a strip of packaging tape down each corner. Nibble or cut a hole for the dimmer switch and tape it in. the transformer will shatter it. If you drop the box. To hot wire 2. http://www. Take a moment to look over your creation and make sure all the wiring seems to make sense. put some nice photos in it. The corners join up nicely. make sure nothing meltable or flammable is touching the wire when you plug it in. Take the lid and plastic tray off a 4th cd case and throw them out. plug it in. I've read that cutting slower and cooler makes a smoother cut. just in case the dimmer isn't off. grab the frame and try laying the wire on some scrap styrofoam. to outlet Step 11: My crappy project box I really want to make a different box for this project. Two CD cases are openned to right angles.Image Notes 1. turn the dimmer all the way down. You can use your multimeter to see if there's any current between the terminals. Once you are sure everything's all set. If you turn up the dimmer too fast. Maybe you could make a version without a top and bottom. or if the wire overheats and breaks.

instructables. Cats like nice warm styrofoam. 3. and they love getting in the way. Image Notes 1. This loop of string is twisted to apply tension to the wire. You can attach identical airfoil templates to each end of a slab of foam to cut a wing. 5. Temperature of the wire is controlled by this dimer switch. 3. The templates are made of aluminum flashing and cut out with regular scissors. Image Notes 1. 2. Guitar string is used for the part that heats up. Sort of has a cliff face texture http://www. available at craft stores. This criss-cross string arrangement keeps the rig somewhat square. More rigid than styrofoam. with a second pass.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . etc. This is green floral foam. 4. Step 13: Quick and dirty sample cuts Here are some freehand and template-cut shapes to give you an idea of what the tool does.Image Notes 1. There's a transformer in this box. You can of course bevel edges. These are really basic one-cut shapes. 2. 2.

I used an old #1 e guitar string. 11:54 AM REPLY This is great I've now built an industrial quality one for a friend that owns a gun shop and he is now making custom fit gun cases out of those cheap 20.instructables.The only problem I've had is figuring out just the right wire.fortunecity.00 cases by upping the charge for the "custom fit". so that small pieces can be manipulated against a table for precise cutting. Those are generally not useful for cutting wings or slicing chunks off larger pieces. Related Instructables Making The Mighty Goliath Hotwire Machine! by Creativeman SKULLpture by wbornor Make a CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutter from parts available at your local hardware store by tbarnea Build a Surfboard Episode 1: Shaping by TimAnderson Foamboat construction by unclesam Halloween Mausoleum from Styrofoam by bryansierra Comments 50 comments Add Comment view all 117 comments dazedonblu says: Jan 10. All I have is a regular PC an a free CAD software. See this page for an example: http://www.org/~joeboy/resources/hotwire_foam_cutter/hotwire_foam_cutter. perhaps simply by using a second bolt where the yardsticks overlap.htm http://www.Step 14: Alternatives and expansion ideas Some people set up their cutters in sort of a bandsaw configuration. to eliminate the need for the criss-cross strings.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ ..html The enclosure for the transformer and dimmer needs to be more rugged.weapon case.vatsaas.ar15.hhhh.. maybe a power indicator. But if anyone has any suggestions let me know.co.org/rtv/construction/hotwirecutter.com/forums/topic.) http://www.uk/slmohr/rcinterest2.htm. Instructables user Moofie suggested rigidifying the connection to one of the legs. Its kind of a rip off for him to do it but some people are too lazy and have too much money and would rather just have it all done for them.=292695&page=1) .aspx Both pages have more good info. and it should incorporate a fuse. Well thank you all and I hope these help(This is not design and I take no credit for it. I would love to turn this into an automated CNC type system but it's in the drawing phase. and any input will be greatly appreciated. 2011. Step 15: Acknowledgements I collected much of the raw info for this project from these two pages : http://members. and maybe a modular connector to facilitate attachment of larger or smaller cutters. Check em out. But these are the plans I used and it cost me ZERO dollars to build it because I used all scraps and things I had around my house these plans(http://www.

I have not been able to get the thing working again. they will set your house on fire. Pull the wire back a forth several times. I got over 20 feet of wire from the first element. They look like long springs. it's at http://www. Maybe i am just lucky enough to have a crap transformer.. i was in my third cut when my transformer started to smoke. 2010.green and yellow). So do i unwrap my transformer and re wrap it or just go get another one? How may i put a safety catch in there so as to protect this from not happening again? And as for the thrid wire comming out of the secondary side of the transformer. Generally the two same colored wires are full voltage (in your case. combining two different colored lines will result in half the voltage (in your case. 2010. *A Transformer doesn't require a ground . Once you get the element free from whatever ceramic affair it is wrapped around. bricabracwizard says: Sep 28. 2010. thanks for posting this. 7:48 PM REPLY Hey flywoodkb. I initially had a #10 guitar string as my wire but i broke it and was told to use this 80lbs test fishing line(its steel). do i ground that wire? your diagram had this left alone. although I have yet to tear into one to find out. but not the transformer. unwind the spring between your thumb and index finger until you get the rough length of heater wire you need. Everything was running smooth until about 5minutes of operation. mikesnyd says: Nov 1. Note: do not buy appliances from The Disney Store. Sweet build man. I made a hot knife based on your design for a foam project and it worked great! I featured your instructable on my web show. maybe. Evilthingamabober says: Umm.green and green). and i think the grn/ylw is ground but i am unsure. I've always done freehand with not such a good result. Curling irons. and it will straighten out nicely.. let the friction warm it a bit.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ .your work should still be grounded. 2010. Thread the wire through a small hole in a scrap piece of wood (like lacing a shoe). The two greens are my source of the 24V 2A. I imagine that hand-held hair (blow) driers would be a good source. I also harvested two Mickey Mouse branding iron from the same toaster. a good power supply is a small 2 (two) amp battery charger. Aug 4. will that do? Nov 27.com/shows/tecs-toolbox/foam-sculpting-hot-knife/ Thanks again balisticjoe says: Is this able to cut through foam-board? Not sure if it would make it through the paper like parts. You will always have that third line 'free' in a single pole application like this. and the secondary leads off the transformer are two greens and a green with a yellow line. 12V 2A . I have a light dimmer and a 24V 2A transformer. 9:54 PM REPLY For anyone looking for nichrome wire: I picked up a small "personal" type electric heater from Goodwill. Hope this helps those who have no easy source for resistance wire. Plus. Audiyoda says: Nov 23. also. If you would like to check it out. 9:56 AM REPLY waltbosz says: May 17. 2010.030 high grade stainless steel (316 or 316L) (L is for low carbon) or Inconnel wire works great. The schematic it came with didnt even tell me. 2009. 1:47 PM REPLY I just harvested some nichrome wire from a broken toaster. . 2010. 4:01 AM REPLY msmith9899 says: Aug 17. 8:39 PM REPLY giventake65 says: what is the use of a nibbler in this project? Sep 7. mikesnyd says: Nov 1. 7:53 PM REPLY On almost all transformers the secondary lines can be configured for full voltage or half voltage. 24V 2A . Been doing this for 21 years.tectherobot.. 2010. 9:40 PM REPLY Great hot wire! Thanks for giving me the idea of using templates for a better finish. The kind to look for has the coiled elements.. I have found that a great place to get wire is the local welding supply house. I have a nibbler from Futurama. This will get out most of the kinks.instructables. There is a second in the heater just like the first. 2010.025 or . Dec 13.. formman says: I make floralforms for florist. 9:04 PM REPLY OH ya. 2010. Have a happy happy day eh.Wyoming says: Mar 24. 9:01 PM REPLY So i made this wonderfull little contraption you have described. 6:06 PM REPLY http://www. I always tape it off so as to no cause a short. 2009. or for longer wire operations a 40-200 amp will work.

10:44 AM REPLY I used "Beadalon" wire from local sewing store. In the U. that stuff wont ever fall apart Nov 13. made by Nelson. I made my own website just to share :) Enjoy Apr 8.about 28 swg is OK. 8:51 PM REPLY OK we just built ur home made hot wire cutter and I find for small projects it is great but the wire u used for cutting keeps breaking after short usage and should we be yousing the ground wires ? ur instructions did not say what to do with them. Hot. After a few months of research. as in attach it to your metal project box ( if used. 9:38 AM REPLY The green wire is typically earth ground. 8:59 PM REPLY I did everything in your instructions except I made my frame out of 1/2 ' pvc but everything else I did as you instructed including the crappy plastic box. the rig is unsafe and should not be used until the safety problem is found and corrected. 11:25 PM REPLY charliey says: 7862 Tony ---.com After reading this tutorial. You still need to make sure it has enough of a power rating. There are three wires used in AC.html LPittman says: guru_florida says: STBro says: Dec 7. but I've been everywhere in New York and can't find anything close. Neutral and Earth Ground.e.anything more than 15 volts is high. do not use the lowest setting on the dimmer. Can someone help me out as to where to get my hands on one? Jan 18. these have 12volt variable output.45. 5:12 PM REPLY I blew a transformer because I cranked up the dimmer too far. 2009. it will trip the breaker! It's a safety feature of three prong electrical systems. 9:34 AM REPLY dacarls says: Nov 6. Should I put the fuse between the dimmer and the transformer or the transformer and the bow or would it matter? I ordered a 25v 5amp transformer. If the device also converts AC to DC.0018 inches) that comes with a nylon coating that you burn off.com/vol_5/chpt_2/2. for sure. If you feel any tingling when using electrical power equipment. Jul 17. 7:24 AM REPLY I desperately need to source one of these transformers. Should be Nichcrome wire . It is also called a DC power supply. these dimmers are designed to work on light globes (resistive) Tx are inductive. there is no way one can get of these dimmers to work efficiently on a transformer. It sounds like you are using this green wire as if its the AC neutral wire when in fact it is Earth Ground. If you use a light dimmer with a transformer. Do not use strings as they are not resistive enough and therefore will blow the fuse. and get some 16 gauge wire. 11:11 PM REPLY Hey Guys . I had ALOT of questions. an automotive style fuse holder and 5 amp automotive style fuses (figure they are easier to find out here in the boonies than other kinds of fuses). 2009. go to home depot. The wire acts as a resistor.I just wanted to send along a friendly link to my website http://hotwirefoamcutterinfo. It is stainless steel 7-stranded wire (. you should "derate" the transformer (by selecting the correct wire resistance) so no more than 70% of the rated power flows thru it. See the following link for AC color codes: http://www.) The purpose of this wire is if any electrons are passed through it (i. 7862Tony says: Hi go to bunnings and get yourself a downlight electronic transformer for $8. 5:19 PM REPLY Hi firstly . If the DC power is clean and maintains voltage or current.instructables.Cheers 7862 Tony Nov 3. An autotransformer with a variable output is called a Variac or variable autotransformer. but I must say it is a great do it ur self project it was easy to put together and ur pictures wear a really big help and ur prices for the parts wear almost on the penny and I defiantly would suggest to any one how is looking for a small project hot wire to visit ur page thanks so much steve cook says: _-MacGyver-_ says: dude. 2010. A fan "dimmer" used to regulate fan speed is a different type of device and it is suitable for use with a transformer. 2009. It will severely reduce the life of the transformer. tb17mccoy says: Dec 5. What you need is a variable electronic transformer used in downlights. In DC. then it includes a rectifier and can also include a transformer before rectification. not at $20 Oz. but this ground is not the same as Earth Ground.00 Jan 22.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . Very importantly you will find that the light dimmer is very touchy. Not sure I understand the "downlights" Would be obliged for further info. AC neutral wire is usually white and black is hot. Also. we talk about ground being the return path to our electrical circuit. 2010. 2008.S. 4:49 PM REPLY All transformers are AC in and AC out./Canada. 2010. if there is any voltage difference between the earth and this wire).what's this "VARIABLE Electronic Transformer"? You don't mean a Variac. http://www. The wire handled 50 volts AC perfectly. 2009. a 25 volt tx (transformer ) is way too high. 2009. then it is a regulated power supply or linear regulator. 2009. I cut a test piece of foam cut like butter. 2009.carloriolo says: Jun 22. I tested it in my Garage and all worked well. 11:04 PM REPLY nebhob says: May 11. You can use either AC or DC to heat a wire. I couldn't find a 120v 25 with only 2 amps so I used a 120 24v 40 va transformer and put a 3 amp fuse on the hot side between the dimmer switch and the transformer. Thanks you saved me about $ 140.allaboutcircuits. 7862Tony says: May 19. By far better and safer way of doing things. get them from most hardware stores for less than $20 Aussie. 2009.

i cut a few pieces and it appears that the transformer got quite hot.. 2009. 2009. when i plug it all in it kills the circut breaker in the house.but thats plenty of time to cut out some styrofoam sculptures. 7:44 AM REPLY so i built one. 2009. if you open it you will find 15 turns on the toroid to give you 11. but it does work! charmrus says: re-check your hookup to the transformer. Oct 31. do i need a smaller wire for it to work? i have a 0. Aug 15. 9:08 PM REPLY so i got all the gear for the power supply. not an inductor. lasermaster3531 says: turn the transformer around. 2009. 6:41 PM REPLY 7862Tony says: Nov 3. but when its all hooked up. not the wire.com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . 2:43 PM REPLY ok i have 2 questions.Rainh2o says: The foam cutter is resistive. lsocoee says: I think that a fan dimmer would work instead of a light dimmer. vangon47 says: Oct 16. in either case im stumped. 4:33 PM REPLY lasermaster3531 says: Aug 15..real hot! now i when attempt to turn it on the fuse blows! help! ed joinaqd says: Jan 8. 2:43 PM REPLY izzdawg1323 says: Apr 22. Aug 2. not enough to burn wood.. The third wire is the ground wire. 2009. Attach the ground wires from the switch and transformer to the third wire. wired in a light switch and the wire between two screws. 10:59 PM REPLY yes you are right the wire is resistive . That will do it .eh? http://www. 1:36 PM REPLY Grimm123 says: Jul 22. 2009. 8:25 AM REPLY Instead of using an extension cord. 6:05 PM REPLY omg lol this guy is slow. $8. 4:36 PM REPLY I made something similar out of some galvanized picture wire unraveled so i just had one thin strand(this stuff works as well as nicrome wire in electronic matches and such) and two wall wart transformers rated at 4. i made a bow thats 2. 2009.. make sure that the primary is connected to the dimmer switch. put it back in its case before connecting it to the mains. Jul 15. 2009..015" guitar string on it now.But i'm not talking about the wire .. 2009. the only difference is the power cable has a green lead which im assuming is the ground. 2009. 2008. 12:23 PM REPLY redriders180 says: Jan 12.5 volts.5 volts dc and 500 and 600 mA respectively.instructables. The downlight electronic transformer that i'm talking about comes from Bunnings. the first one is "what should i do with the ground wires? theres oone on the dimmer swith i bought and one on the transformer too. 2009. 12:06 AM REPLY xadevox says: can i use a model train transformer? Jun 8. remove all the secondary (15 turns) and put 3 turns instead. 1:56 PM REPLY littlemog92 says: Ya know if you had an extra nonusable soldering iron you could turn that into a handheld hotwire. 4:16 PM REPLY I just finished the wire cutter as described here.45.7 volts and the wire barely warms up. but everything seems fine. this has to do with the amount of heat generated... Jul 13. 2009.plus its waaaaay easier than this!!one disadvantage is that the battery heats up after 5-6 mins.i'm talking about the tx (transformer) an inductor. The wood won't burn. i checked for a short circut. Buy a three pronged plug and wire at the hardware store.. Enough to melt styrofoam. any advise/ideas Bennichen says: Thank you soo much Loved the instructions! Well done! Apr 4. and i dont want to like blow something up so how can i safely discharge the voltage? also wond the wood burn if the wire is reaching those hot temps? please answer or mom and dad wont let me make one larrymalone says: Jan 23. Its a wire. works a little slow... 2009.5 feet long and it has a 24guage wire. the power supply is only showing 2. 2009..why dont you just use 2 or 3 AA NI-CD batteries?it works great.

Any suggestions on what ni-chrome wire we should use? thinner or thicker? view all 117 comments http://www. 10:32 PM REPLY vangon47 says: does any body know if the transformer on this wire cutter is A/C or D/C current.(Ed) just my 2 cents here.5Amps. 2008. 9:15 PM REPLY My question is: Can you use this to cut through Camping-pad foam? I mean.alamin says: how many AMP and Volt is this transformer also did you have cutting lead for RC pane wings am new i alawyas missup :( Nov 10. 7:56 AM REPLY Howdy vangon47. 2008. 2008.2V 2A transformer put out 7 volts and close to 1. As far as I can see my only difference is I couldn't get a 25 v 2 amp I could only get a 24 volt 150mA is this basically my problem? not much of an electrician. Although looking real cool inside a CDRom case/box. 2008. 12:14 AM REPLY mshan says: Dec 13. clearly it'll cut through it. Try a larger container with a nice opening for airflow. but will it create some sort of toxic fume or something? Replicator says: ONI Rules that was an awesome game :) Oct 6. we figured out that part of the problem was the dimmer switch (we were using a 3 speed switch) but it works with a single speed dimmer switch (with the 12 transformer) just need to figure out the perfect ni-chrome wire to use with it.. you may want to give your transformer some breathing room. temperature affects resistance a lot. thanks ed Oct 1. 2008. 8:47 AM REPLY mikeythev says: Dec 8.instructables. The current peaks and declines very quickly because the wire heats up quite quickly. 2008. I reattached the wire and now run with a small fan blowing right on the unit and I have not had the problem ever since. The hot wire is a simple resistance circuit so it will work off either A/C or D/C. 2008. 2008. 2008. 2008. 8:21 PM REPLY Input has to be A/C. Duct Tape says: Nov 16. shimmeree says: Jan 28. If you've got a big wall wart that puts out D/C and is rated for enough amps (see example calculations in previous comments) you should certainly be able to use it. 2008. ill try it ed Oct 23. The 25.. Thanks eng. 9:53 AM REPLY Mikeldigra says: Does the wire need DC or AC to heat up? Dec 16.. output is probably also A/C as there was no mention of rectifiers. 11:39 AM REPLY I measured the current and voltage on the hot wire loop. I had same situation with a transformer I use to control 4 Axis stepper motors.. 1:21 PM REPLY Scubabubba says: Oct 3.ecrew says: Oct 23.. the transformer got so hot that the solder dislodged from one of the connectors and did not work any longer..com/id/Hot-wire-foam-cutter/ . Ed (also) vangon47 says: thanks ecrew. 11:03 PM REPLY I've got it all wired up but can't quite get enough heat out of it on the wire. Lt. 7:06 PM REPLY ok. we have 26gauge on it now but doesn't cut quite as fast as we would like. To add what was previously commented on.

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