hot wire cutter

Oldelpa48 Jul 18, 2022

  1. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    I'm getting ready to build a rock mountain (almost a sheer cliff)on the back side of the layout. I'm hoping to use some of the green 2" rigid foam board I have extra, gluing it to make a mountain about 6' long and 16" high. The problem is, the layout is in the family room and the mrs won't be happy with foam dust all over. Are these cheap hot wire cutters capable enough to sculpture 2" foam board? I want to get the basic shapes and then use rock molds and plaster when I get further along. If I have to build it out in the hot garage it won't be pleasant and I'd hate the mess. I'm sure it's been discussed on this forum before but I can't locate it.Thanks. Tom
     
  2. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    Mine is this type and is very old. It would accept 2", but its hoop would severely limit width. It works great for the 1/2" thick foam I work with.

    upload_2022-7-18_17-25-39.png

    You'd do best with one that looks like a soldering iron with a long tip, like this.

    upload_2022-7-18_17-22-20.png

    Be forewarned that there is some odor as the foam melts, but it's not bad and is a whole lot easier to deal with than thousands of static-charged foam bits.
     
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  3. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    Thanks. I was concerned it wouldn't work because foam board is so dense compared to styrofoam.
     
  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    I've never worked with 2" thick foam though. Cutting through it will likely take some patience.
     
  5. wvgca

    wvgca TrainBoard Member

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    i made one with about a 14 volt 2 amp transformer and some nichrome wire , worked very well .. that was maybe seven years ago now .. a vertical board with clamps set the width of cut ..
     
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  6. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    I cut through 2 inch foam regularly with my hot wire. It takes a little bit more patience to cut through, but it works pretty well.


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  7. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    Did you use a $20 fleabay unit or something a little stouter?
     
  8. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    Ha! If I made something like that I'd probably burn the house down.
     
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  9. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    Does that cut the whole length or just down towards the tip? I would think it would be entirely different cutting rigid green foam board as compared to regular white foam
     
  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I know we have previously had discussions of this topic. Might also be worth a search through our Inspection Pit forum.
     
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  11. wvgca

    wvgca TrainBoard Member

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    actually the different colours of foam insulation all cut about the same , and no dust with a hot wire cutter ...
     
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  12. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    :ROFLMAO: Yes, me too. I'm even paranoid about my little two D-Cell cutter.
     
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  13. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    Sounds good....how do I get to that forum?
     
  14. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    Found it...Thanks
     
  15. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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  16. Oldelpa48

    Oldelpa48 E-Mail Bounces

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    I did a review of one that I have about 2 years ago when I finally wore out my old one and bought a new model. The key thing is not to force the knife but rather go slow and let the knife melt its way through. Those blades are very thin and flexible and easily bent or broken. But once you get the knack of using one tis amazing what one can do. Maximum thickness is about 3 to 3 and 1/2 inches of dense foam. They make a thicker bladed one but the thin blade one allows for more intricate cutting.

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
    John Moore THANK YOU, John and all
     
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  17. dalebaker

    dalebaker TrainBoard Member

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    I do not use a cutter on extruded foam board. I use a break-away blade knife. Score and break.

    On bead board, I use the hot wire cutter. I’d rather not breath that stuff, I’ve put enough crap in my lungs over the years with smoking, working with chemicals, sandblasting and such.

    Good luck!
    Dale
     
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  18. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member

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    I have an original Hot Wire, may be 25-30 year old. Finally replaced the wire on it last month. There is a used one on flea bay for $30, but the system is so simple, find one cheaper if you can.

    [​IMG]


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