Polyfoam is an inexpensive material from which craftsmen make a variety of products. It is very popular not only because of its cheapness, but also because of its ease of processing. Not everyone knows that it is not at all necessary to cut the foam with an ordinary knife. In this case, it will crumble very strongly and it will be simply impossible to make an even cut.
But this material melts very well, and from a relatively low temperature.
That is why the most convenient way to work with foam is cutting it with special cutters that rely on high temperatures. But cutting foam with your own hands is possible in other ways, which we will definitely consider.
Styrofoam is a white material that consists almost entirely of air.
It is used for packaging equipment, food, as a heat-insulating and sound-insulating material, as a basis for making household items, logos and many other things. One of the main advantages of polystyrene is its cheapness . Many people buy it in order to make some kind of product from this material and sell it profitably. But even for an ordinary person, polystyrene will be very useful, because a lot of things for the house can be made from it. The main thing is to be able to work correctly with the material, as well as to choose it for specific purposes.
Before we start working with the material, we need to know what kind of foam is, what kind of it is best used for cutting at home ...
This is the most common and familiar to everyone polystyrene, which is familiar to us from packaging from technology. The material is a set of small white balls that are tightly attached to each other, but can be disconnected from mechanical stress.
It is he who is very widespread and is most often used in the manufacture of products at home.
This is a similar type of foam, which is simply additionally pressed. Because of this, it has a much denser structure, it is more difficult to crush it, but this material is also much more expensive than its unpressed counterpart. Due to the high price, extruded polystyrene foam is not widely used, but for some products it can definitely be used, since its structure is quite smooth.
The rarest and most unused type of this material, which has one interesting property - the ability to self-extinguish when ignited. It does not emit hazardous substances, but if it does catch fire, then the smoke from it is very dangerous and can threaten health.
The first common question is what to do if you need to cut the foam, but constructing a special cutter is too difficult, expensive and useless. There is a way out, even several.
Large teeth of the hacksaw allow for grip for foam granules and cut it quite effectively. To implement this method, you do not need to modify anything on your own, you just need to purchase or take a ready-made hacksaw for wood. In the same way, cutting can be carried out with a jigsaw, in this case it will be important to choose the right file for it.
But this method has not become widespread, since when using it, foam in any case, it will crumble, and it will not be possible to achieve a perfectly even cut. Also, if the tool is used carelessly, the stove can crack and all the work will go down the drain. Therefore, the following methods are almost always used to cut such a capricious material.
You can use the most common knife to cut the foam sheet if you have prepared it for this procedure beforehand:
It is important to take into account that this method will not work to achieve a perfectly even cut, and it is also suitable only for cutting small pieces of material.
The fact is that even a little shaking hands will not allow you to achieve a straight line, and a constantly cooling knife will not allow you to make a neat and long cut.
But if your goal is to cut a small piece, then a red-hot knife will allow you to do it very quickly and without wasting money and time. Please note that after cutting, the knife should never be used in the kitchen or at home, as the foam contains toxic substances.
If you need to do enough blanks made of foam, but you don't want to make a too complex cutter, you can use its simple analogue, which works on the basis of a conventional soldering iron.
It is important to choose a soldering iron that is not too powerful, as its temperature is excessive for normal sheet cutting. If the power is too high, then the foam will smoke, smoke, and cut badly.
The next step will be the selection and installation of the nozzle on the tip of the soldering iron, since the standard tip is not intended for this purpose.We need to find or make our own a long and flat tip that looks like a small knife blade, but less sharp.
Copper wire folded several times is good for making such an item. Another option is to simply take out the tip of the soldering iron and give it the desired look.
Next, the tip is firmly attached to the tip of the soldering iron and you can start cutting.
The soldering iron is inserted into an outlet, heats up and cuts the foam in a similar way to a hot knife. The main advantage of this method is that there is no need to constantly warm up the knife, the cutting can go on continuously.
If you want to make foam products on a regular basis, and so that they turn out really smooth and well, then you have to make a special cutting machine that will allow you to do all this.
There are many variations of this design that differ on the internet size, appearance, but they have the same essence. We will analyze one of the most popular and simple designs, which has proven itself well.
Table 1. Basic methods of cutting foam:
|Wood saw||Simplicity and affordability||Perfect cut cannot be achieved|
|With a hot knife||Accessibility||The knife cools down quickly|
|With a cutter from a soldering iron||Not will cool down, so you can make long cuts||It takes time to create|
|Homemade machine||Allows you to make perfectly straight cuts||Difficulty|
First, you need to decide on the tools and materials that we need to create a cutter. The list of required materials includes:
It is in tension, not in compression. Such a spring cannot be found everywhere.
Now let's move on to the tools that we need to make and assemble the structure. These include:
Nichrome wire is an integral part of the cutter, but not everyone knows what it is, and most importantly - where to get it.
Nichrome wire differs from ordinary wire in its strength and very high melting point. This is why it is best used to create a Styrofoam cutter.
This wire is used in irons, boilers and some other heating devices. In addition, it can be bought in electronics stores, markets.
Our cutter will work from a regular computer power supply, which almost everyone has, but if it is not found, then it can be bought in any computer store, it is inexpensive.
Plug in the power cord and turn on the device. But the power supply will not turn on due to the peculiarities of its operation. In order for it to turn on you need:
After these simple manipulations, the power supply unit will work.
It remains only to get the voltage we need in some way using the power supply .
.. To do this, you need to find a Molex connector, which is a connector with four holes, to which wires of different colors go.
The holes with the yellow and black wires must be connected to the wires, which will power the entire torch. This completes all the manipulations with the power supply, you can proceed to building the cutter itself.
Before starting the manufacture of the machine itself for cutting foam, you need to calculate the length of nichrome wire, which will be enough for normal cutting of the material. To do this, you need:
Please note that if the wires are placed too close, the foam will burn, which will negatively affect the final quality of the product.
Next, you need to measure the distance between the wires and remember it. That is how much wire will be used to cut the foam.
Now the whole structure needs to be disassembled and start to manufacture the main part of the cutter.
First in fact, you need to take a board for the base and screw 4 legs prepared in advance to it. The easiest way to do this is to take 4 plastic bottle caps and fix them on the back of the board using ordinary screws. It is important that the screws do not come out from the back of the board. This can happen if the fastener is too long.
Next, you need to find the flattest side of the base and attach a structure there, to which the wire will be screwed.
The wire fixture in our design is two twisted pieces of rail that are tightly attached to the base. It is important to collect everything so that an angle of 90 degrees is formed and nothing wobbles.
The first step is to fasten the two slats together. The length of the first should be equal to the length of the wire that is suitable for cutting. The length of the second rod will be the distance from the tip of the torch to the wire. It must be selected based on the size of the workpiece that you are going to process.
Now the resulting corner from the rails needs to be screwed to the base using the corners.
It is important to do this so that the structure does not stagger.
Now you need to drill a through hole in the base where the line will go. To do this, screw a screw to the center of the rail, and tie a thread to it. When the thread comes down, you need to put a point at the place with which it comes into contact. This is where you need to drill.
On the back of the base, next to the hole, you need to screw a small screw. It should be as close to the hole as possible.
Now you need to start attaching the wire.
The first step is to secure the spring to the screw that is on the rail. A nichrome wire is attached to the end of the spring, and the spring must be stretched by about half.
The other end of the wire should be tightly wound around the screw that was screwed on the back of the base. The wire should be well taut and the spring should not be in its original position.Nichrome wire can be quite uneven due to the fact that it very willingly assumes the shape that it has been given.
To make it as even as possible, you need to pull it and move it with a piece of wood until it visually becomes smooth. It is unlikely that it will be possible to make the wire perfect, but minor irregularities will not greatly interfere with cutting.
The last step is to set up the cutter. This is because a screwed-down rail does not create a right angle with the torch base. To fix this, you need to take a square and attach it to the rail.
Now, using a screwdriver or screwdriver, you need to turn the screw a little until an even corner is formed.
This completes the process of creating a homemade foam cutter. It remains only to connect the power supply.
In order for the cutter to work, it needs to be powered from the unit that we did in the previous steps. For the convenience of fastening, you can buy special crocodiles that will help secure the wire in a couple of movements. If there are no crocodiles, then the wire can simply be wound in the right places.
The first end of the wire must be connected from the back of the base, to the screw that we screwed there. The second end must be placed on the nichrome wire itself, under the spring.
Lowering the wire slightly increases the temperature and makes the torch more powerful.
If you need a full-fledged power regulator, then here is a short instruction on how to make it:
To cut foam, you need to:
To make it easier to cut simple products and shapes, you can screw any flat board to the base of the cutter and use it as a guide. To do this:
Thus, the board will serve as a guide to which you need to press the workpiece. It can be used to cut products with a perfectly straight edge.
Remember that when burning, and therefore when cutting with our machine, it can release highly toxic substances.
These substances can harm a person, so it is imperative to follow safety precautions so as not to harm yourself.
The foam cutter is a very useful device in everyday life, which is not difficult to make with your own hands.
With it you can do a lot of interesting things that will definitely come in handy for you and your loved ones.
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