Super simple foam cutter

This hotwire cutter uses a PC power supply and no spring to cut foam and polystyrenes.

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This simple project makes it easy to cut foams and styrenes for projects like plushes and storage boxes. Most foam cutters require a spring to keep tension on the cutting wire whereas this project uses the tension on a 3D printed bow making the project clean and simple.

Hotwire cutters are useful for cutting all sorts of materials. Although they are not too tricky to make there can take a bit of guesswork to build something portable and easy to construct. This super simple wire cutter just uses an old computer power supply (or laptop supply) and tension from a PLA/ABS bow to keep the wire tight. No springs or funky tension systems are required just cut your nichrome to length. 

An inexpensive speed controller allows you to get the temperature perfect and the rest can be easily found around your shed. I made mine from scraps!


two required

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 29.18 kB - 07/26/2022 at 23:08



one required

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 287.09 kB - 07/26/2022 at 23:08



Print and place on your wood as a template

svg+xml - 854.00 bytes - 07/26/2022 at 23:08



one required

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 12.09 kB - 07/26/2022 at 23:08



one required

Standard Tesselated Geometry - 28.89 kB - 07/26/2022 at 23:08


View all 10 files

  • 20 × Self tapping countersunk wood screws 13x3 General assembly
  • 10 × Self tapping countersunk wood screws 25x3 Or the thickness of your wood + 4 or 5 mm
  • 2 × M4 x 10 screws with wingnuts For guiderails
  • 1 × M4 x 15 with wingnut For bow
  • 1 × M6 x 40 bolt and wing nut

View all 15 components

  • 1
    Prepare framing

    Cut your wood to the dimensions shown in the picture above. I used 18x40mm wood for this project. Don't join the frame together yet.

  • 2
    Join part of the frame together

    Join the two sides and the back of the frame together only. I used long wood screws and glue for a strong frame. 

  • 3
    Prepare top and bottom covers

    I used some scrap material I had around my workshop both around 5mm thick. You can either print the SVGs I supplied and use these as a template or mark out the dimensions shown above. 

View all 17 instructions

Enjoy this project?



Apollo Timbers wrote 07/27/2022 at 11:19 point

Nice work, Been getting back to n-scale model railroads. It ends up that a foam cutter would be a nice to have next go around.  I like that it has a good mix of materials and uses a older computer power supply you may have laying around. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

jasonwinfieldnz wrote 07/27/2022 at 11:26 point

Thanks for the feedback, glad you liked it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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