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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One Step Closer to a Career as a Mad Scientist

Well, I made something in the garage that uses electricity and I managed to not kill myself or burn the house down. Score one for me!

As stated in a previous post, I have two great stacks of styrofoam sheets that are waiting to be made into tombstones. I also was able to find these even larger sheets of styrofoam at another construction site only a block away from my house.

I used a handsaw to cut this cross and base out of one of the large sheets of styrofoam. Cutting styrofoam with a handsaw is very messy and limits you to only straight cuts. I want to be able to have curved details on most of my tombstones, so I needed to devise another method of cutting styrofoam; one that allows for curved cuts and preferably one that is less messy. I know that many haunters use a tabletop hot wire foam cutter. That project seemed a little daunting to me, so I looked online for a less complex version. I found a couple of instructables for handheld versions of the hot wire foam cutter that seemed fairly simple.

Most of the instructables for handheld hot wire foam cutters call for wood in the construction of the base. I opted to use a length of PVC pipe that I had laying around. I applied heat and bent the pipe to create the arms of the hot wire foam cutter. I drilled holes in the arms, close to the ends and inserted eye bolts fastened with wing nuts.

Here is a close-up of the eye bolt/wing nut assembly.

Another close-up at an angle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

I stole the nichrome wire from a hair dryer that I found at the D.I. and I used an A/C D/C power converter or "wall wort" also from the D.I. to power the hot wire foam cutter.

Here is a cose-up of the wires attached to the eye bolt. No soldering required.

This picture shows the power cables secured with cable ties to keep them out of the way.

Here is a chunk of styrofoam on which I have drawn a simple design.

Here is the finished cut. Nice and smooth and virtually no mess. I am excited to cut out some tombstone forms using my new hot wire foam cutter that I made by myself.
 

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Now THAT'S what I'M talkin about! Nice DIY solution! Gonna try that myself!
 

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SWEET!
I have a styro cutter, but it's storebought and it DOESNT GO ALL THE WAY THROUGH A WHOLE SHEET OF FOAM:mad:

it leaves like 3 milimeters off the far end, so i have to break it, and then re-smooth the edge on that side. so irritating.

question though - how quickly does the wire cut? i've worked with wire cutters before that were painfully slow, and it gets difficult to hold your hands/arms steady at such a slow pace, so i ended up with irregularities in the cut.

also - what's a DI? (i'm not new to styrofoam.. but TOTALLY new to electronics)
 

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Don't leave us hanging Phillip! What are the specs on the wall wort you used? I have a small craft store hot wire cutter, but yours looks infinitely more appropriate for thick (tombstone) foam. I've got a huge box of wall worts. I had no idea what I was saving them for, but this might answer the question. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The specs on the wall wort I am using for this foam cutter are: input 120 V 80 Hz 15 w output 13 V 800 mA. All of the instructables that I read said that anything at or above a 12 V 500 mA output would be enough juice to cut styrofoam.

SILENTSKREAM- The DI is a chain of thrift stores popular in Utah and Idaho. They always have a huge section of cheap techno-junk. As far as how quickly it cuts- that's a very subjective determination. It seems quick enough; but I might be more patient than some people. I don't work tomorrow so I will try to post a short video of the foam cutter in action.

Thanks for all of the comments. I hope anyone who makes their own foam cutter will post their results. I like to see what other people are doing.

Happy Haunting.
 

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Thanks Phillip! I'm going to give this a go. I bought a bunch of "filler tombstones" to increase the body count in my front yard cemetery, but I eventually hope to graduate on to better things. This will help.
 

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Thanks for the idea. I just built mine and it seems like it will work great. I just have to go buy some 2" foam to get started.

Thanks!!
 

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What a great bodge! I lack techo-savvy to the point I don't even know what a wall wort is, but it might be worth learning.
 
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