Important Facts You Need to Know About CNC Hot Wire Foam Cutters

What is a hot wire cnc foam cutter used for?

Hot wire foam cutters will cut different types of foam, from insulation to fabrication, from logos, surfboards and signs to crown moldings and concrete molds

Hot wire foam cutters are designed to cut different types of foam

1. EPS – expanded polystyrene

2. XPS – extruded polystyrene

3. EPP – expanded polypropylene

Not to be used for cutting polyurethane – will consequence in toxic fumes

What are the main elements that a foam cutter is made of?

1. The software is divided into two sections – design software to design the shapes to be cut, and the cutting software that controls the machine

2. The hot wire tensioning mechanism

3. Effective cutting sizes for the horizontal, vertical and the wire length

4. Number of axis – a 4 axis machine will be able to cut tapered shapes (like a cone or a jet wing)

Here are some features to look for in a hot wire foam cutting machine:

For production of crown molding:

1. Multiple wires – from 3 to 8 wires will increase the cutting capacity from 2 to 7 times

2. 8 foot effective wire length – don’t settle for a 4′ machine

3. If dominant use of the machine is to cut logos and signs – a smaller machine will do the job

4. Cutting speed – mostly material dependent – as a rule of thumb: the higher the foam density – the slower the cutting speed

Hot Wire CNC Foam Cutter prices:

CNC foam cutters will range from $1500 to $50,000. The price is a factor of the machine size, the number of wires, the way the wires are kept under tension.

Other foam cutting machines:

Another way to cut foam is with a CNC router – this is mainly for machining the foam and not for cutting.

CNC routers for foam are mostly used for 3D shapes seen in Las Vegas, theme parts and already signs

Foam coating: EPS and XPS will melt if painted with oil-based paint. Painting is composed of two steps:

1. Preparing the foam for coating – a primer should be used to prevent the coating material to penetrate the EPS beads

2. Coating – Coating is usually Epoxy (usually brushed) or Polyurethane (brushed or sprayed)

Once the foam is coated – it can be painted with any kind of paint.

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