DIY styrofoam cutting at home

Cutting styrofoam at home

Fishermen often need to cut foam at home into thin sheets. This is due to the manufacture of some kind of fishing foam crafts.

For small items such as fishing floats, homemade bloodworms, reels, thick Styrofoam can be cut at home with a hacksaw by hand.

over, without the release of poisonous vapors, as when running a foam sheet in a homemade machine through a heated nichrome wire with a transformer that lowers the electrical voltage.

But cutting thin sheets of the same thickness from foam plastic, for example, for making a foam plastic box for winter fishing without a special home-made machine, adapted for cutting foam at home with a heated nichrome wire. becomes an impossible task.

The site contains a do-it-yourself manufacturing process for a box for winter fishing. But before cutting and gluing the box, I had to first cut a thick sheet of polystyrene according to the technology proposed in the topic with nichrome wire on a homemade electric machine into relatively thin sheets of the same thickness.

The homemade floats and foam reels shown in the photo above are also made at home from foam, which was first cut through thickness.

There are also four windings of nichrome wire of different thicknesses, which are necessary in the manufacture of a home-made machine with a cutting heated filament.

True, to heat the nichrome wire, you need some kind of lowering the voltage of the network, an electrical device, which includes a transformer, a LATR or a rheostat with a powerful winding, which may also be a nichrome wire.

styrofoam, cutting, home

For cutting foam at home, a home-made machine for one-time or stationary use is assembled (completed), on which, as a rule, foam sheets of the same thickness are cut (with an exhaust).

The first version of the machine. mine, in view of the fact that I cut polystyrene into thin blanks very rarely. In addition, I always have a stock of the required thickness of foam sheets of different thicknesses, stored just in case.

He, if desired, can cut sheets with a red-hot nichrome wire of a standard size into thin blanks for making a fishing box.

As you can see, cutting foam at home can also bring material benefits.

Homemade Foam Cutting Machine

A homemade machine for home cutting of foam plastic with a heated nichrome wire is shown in the drawing. Let it be an undervoltage electric wood burning device.

Then the components of a homemade machine designed for cutting foam at home include the following main elements:

Power cord for connecting the electrical circuits of the transformer to a household alternating voltage network.

A transformer that can be installed at home either directly on the tabletop of a homemade foam cutting machine, or lowered to the floor or fixed with brackets under the device’s table.

On the front panel, an electrical voltage is removed from two terminals of the power step-down transformer, which, using two mounting wires (3), is fed to a nichrome filament (9) stretched approximately in the middle of the tabletop.

A section of nichrome wire (9), which will be heated in this scheme, is shown in red on a machine for cutting foam at home. The same section is a working area when cutting foam.

4 shows the tabletop of a foam cutting machine. You can adapt a fiberboard for a homemade table at home.

one of the electrical insulators. rollers. The racks during the operation of the device will heat up, so it is advisable to use glass or ceramic insulators.

Number 6 shows the second roller and an aluminum hinge fixed in its groove. A nichrome wire is passed through the loop. This place of a homemade machine is shown in an enlarged view in the upper left corner of the figure.

By adjusting the bend of the loop (up and down), you can align the position of the heated filament above the table surface. Due to this, the thickness of the cut sheet after running along the surface of a homemade foam cutting machine over the entire area will be the same.

By simultaneously lifting or lowering the electrical insulators above the tabletop of the foam cutting machine (by unscrewing or tightening the nuts on the bolt), you can adjust the thickness of the cut sheets.

The weight 7 regulates the tension of the heated nichrome wire 9. The wire lowered to the load will hardly heat up, since no current will pass through it.

A sheet of thick foam prepared for cutting at home on a homemade machine.

Electrical diagram of the foam cutting machine

The adjacent figure shows the electrical diagram of a homemade foam cutting machine at home, where the primary winding of the transformer is connected to the AC mains.

Tr. it is a voltage step-down power transformer. The taps from its secondary winding are connected to any electrical switch. It can also be regular contact sockets.

From the common terminal of the switch, we start a wire to one of the extreme contacts of the rheostat R. As a device regulating the current in the electrical circuit, we use a school rheostat or a powerful wire potentiometer, which we attach to the front panel of the box.

Before connecting a homemade foam cutting machine to a household electrical network, the slider on the rheostat must be set to maximum resistance.

One output terminal of the power supply of the foam cutting machine at home starts from the beginning of the secondary winding of the transformer. Connect the wire from the potentiometer slider to the other output terminal.

Perhaps, in your electrical circuit of the electric foam cutting machine, the rheostat will be superfluous. Try first to select the voltage required for heating the wire with various combinations of connections of both supply wires to different sockets.

I don’t know how it is now, but earlier devices with output voltages up to 36 volts were considered safe to work in rooms with non-aggressive environments.

So you have to find some kind of electrical device for your homemade foam cutting machine at home and connect it according to the scheme suggested above.

Electrical battery chargers and transformers for low-power welding machines may be suitable. The main thing is that they have the ability to smoothly (or stepwise) change the output voltage (current).

In addition, you don’t always need to cut very large sheets of Styrofoam on your machine. They can first be cut along the length and width with a hacksaw, then flattened along a heated nichrome wire.


The heating of a filament with a high resistance to the current passing through it, included in the electrical circuit of the machine for cutting foam plastic, depends on the thickness of the wire, the most common diameters of which are in the range of 0.2-0.5 mm. An increase in the diameter of the nichrome wire will lead to more intense heating of the entire electrical circuit.

Household cutting of polystyrene with heated wire

A homemade device for cutting foam at home with a heated nichrome wire is shown in the photo. Here, a burner box with a stepwise adjustment of the output voltage is used as a current source for heating the filament.

Nichrome wire is stretched between two height-adjustable racks of any design. The location of the stands in the picture is indicated by two white ovals.

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Considering that the output power of a home-made electrical device is not great, the machine can cut polystyrene into thin sheets up to half a meter wide. Crocodiles are connected directly to the wire. By adjusting the distance between them, you can additionally smoothly change the heating of the filament.

As a result of horizontal cutting of foam on a homemade machine, thin sheets are obtained with melted flat and smooth surfaces that have increased strength. Generally, no further finishing of foam surfaces is required.

The proposed complete set of a homemade electric foam cutting machine is suitable for making relatively small fishing crafts at home. But in order to cut along the thickness along a standard sheet (1×1 m), the device will not work.

For these purposes, you will need a device with more powerful electrical power sources with a large countertop area.

Fastening the insulators of the foam cutting machine

I propose this method of attaching electrical insulators on the tabletop of a homemade foam cutting machine at home.

In the place where the ceramic insulators are attached through the opposite edges of the table, drill two holes for the long bolts. The bolt threads must pass through the holes in the insulating rollers.

We put wide metal washers on the bolts, put them into the drilled holes from below, press them tightly to the top surface of the table, screwing the nuts on them all the way. It is better to sink the nuts flush with the table surface in the blind holes drilled for this.

Further, for a more reliable fastening of electrical insulators, we screw one more lock nut onto both bolts, driving them to the upper plane of a homemade table for cutting foam. Then we put on the insulators and, if they are not firmly seated on the thread of the bolts, then we press them from above with the nuts screwed onto the bolt.

With this arrangement of electrical insulators on a homemade foam cutting machine at home, there is a good opportunity to adjust the height and parallelism of the filament above the table.

Foam Cutting Wire

The most common heating thread used when cutting foam at home is nichrome wire. Coils of different diameters of wire made of nichrome are shown in the picture.

But if a short piece of nichrome wire, even if it has a high resistivity to the electric current passing through it, is connected directly to the network, then even before we start cutting the foam, the wire will burn.

Therefore, the cutting part of a homemade machine. nichrome wire. they are connected to the user’s AC network through various voltage-reducing devices, thereby regulating the heating of the filament, with the help of which the foam is cut at home.

A massive sheet of foam can be cut lengthwise with a heated nichrome wire into thin plates.

True, the thermal method of cutting foam plastic has one drawback, which is especially evident at home. When melted with a hot nichrome wire, foam materials release caustic vapors that are not very pleasant in smell and are not entirely beneficial to health.

Therefore, when carrying out this kind of work, it is desirable to connect exhaust or through ventilation, which is almost impossible to carry out at home.

Step-down voltage for cutting foam

The simplest low-voltage electrical device suitable for heating the wire of a foam cutting machine at home is LATR, if its output voltage can be adjusted from 0 volts.

But in the overwhelming majority of cases, only LATRs, once used to regulate the voltage supplied to the power circuit of a black-and-white TV, could be found in the population. Such devices allow you to adjust the output voltage, starting from 180 volts in the direction of increasing.

Transformers of a similar design for heating a nichrome wire are clearly not suitable. Therefore, below are alternative options for making a foam cutting machine at home.

Cutting styrofoam at home

Polyfoam is a very effective and very comfortable insulation. Polyfoam is used, not only in construction, but also in everyday life for thermal insulation of various vegetable stores, etc. It would seem that foam is a fairly technological material and it is very easy to cut and cut it, but not everything is so simple. When cutting, it intensively crumbles and breaks. Its particles not only pollute the room, but sometimes it comes to the point that you have to put on a respirator and somehow protect the respiratory tract.

In most cases, specialists use an ordinary wood hacksaw as a cutting tool. The smaller the tooth, the better. You can even get by with a sharp knife. But this will inevitably lead to serious pollution by foam waste. Some professionals use an angle grinder when cutting.

When using an abrasive cutting wheel, the contamination is much lower, apparently due to the fact that partial melting of the material occurs in the contact zone of the wheel with the foam. However, with this cutting technology, it is quite difficult to maintain the straightness of the cut, without additional devices. When applying all of the above methods, significant problems arose with errors in the cut. When the need arose to adjust the pieces of foam, cutting off small strips. Everything crumbled, crumbled, twisted and broke.

One day I had to cut a lot of Styrofoam. I awaited this stage with horror, but somehow I remembered the idea of ​​cutting polystyrene foam at the expense of hot nichrome, which I once read. I decided to give it a try. I reproached myself so much for not using this method in the past. It’s so simple, technological, clean and incredibly accurate.!

For this you need everything:
-car battery;
-a piece of nichrome wire (can be used from an old burned-out electric stove);
-automatic emitter;
-a set of ignition wires for a car;
-a couple of nails.

We assemble the circuit as follows:
-the cigarette lighter wires (almost every car owner has) we put on the corresponding battery terminals;
– I connect the free end of any lighting wire to the end of the nichrome wire, which is fixed with a self-tapping screw on the table for marking and cutting foam;
-depending on the size of the foam sheets, we determine the place for connecting the nichrome wire to the circuit breaker, to the opposite edge of which the free end of the cigarette lighter wire is attached.

Now it is enough to put a sheet of foam plastic on the table, determine the place of the cut. To do this, I use two ordinary, not thick nails. In the appropriate place of the marking, we insert one nail from one end, and then from the other the second nail. I arrange the sheet with nails in such a way that the nichrome wire passes over the nails sticking out of the foam. We turn on the machine for a short time and wait for the wire to melt the foam in the right place. After passing the foam plastic wire, turn off the machine. Without delay, we are in a hurry to separate the two parts of the foam. Otherwise, the foam may rejoin at the melting point. We’ll have to repeat the operation.

It should be noted that before starting cutting, it is necessary to stretch the nichrome wire well, focusing on the marking nails. Only in this case, you get a perfectly smooth cut with melted edges. With this cutting method, you can get sterile cleanliness with perfect edges of the cut workpieces. If you are mistaken and the workpiece needs to be cut a little, it doesn’t matter. Wire can eliminate millimeter errors. Can be cut to any straight edge patch.

To achieve a perfect fit, on the first cut, I try to cut the foam with a plus margin (tolerance), and when re-specifying the size, I cut the required millimeters. This method shows excellent results.
You can also assemble a machine for cutting foam plastic, the drawings of which are on our website.

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Nichrome cutter

A distinctive feature of this device is the ability to cut material in two ways: along and across. It is made up of filament or wire. This part of the instrument is basic and cannot be replaced by anything. For the manufacture of wire and thread, an alloy of nickel and chromium is used. To cut a sheet of a certain height, the thread is set in a horizontal position. Nichrome wire device cuts thick foam sheet into thinner pieces.

To make a homemade tool, you will need screws and springs, a wooden block and a base, a laboratory transformer, a screwdriver, a drill and pliers. For the cutter to be universal, the thickness of the nichrome thread should be about 50 cm.

The Hot Wire Foam Cutter

Step-by-step instruction:

  • Two self-tapping screws are screwed into a wooden block. They are located at a shorter distance from each other than the length of the thread.
  • A wire is pulled on top of the self-tapping screws.
  • On both sides of the threads, the crocodiles of the power supply are hooked. The power supply should be 1 amp. Crocodiles are swapped if the device does not work.
  • Heating of the thread occurs if the hook is moved closer to the center point.
  • A base for the cutter is made of aluminum reinforcement about 50 cm long. At the ends of the heated fittings, PVC sticks (insulators) are inserted. Fasten them on a fiberglass strip cut in half.
  • Wires are led to the installed base from a jigsaw or tile cutter. Wires and steel wire rings cling to the bolts threaded in the PCB. On one side of the thread, a spring is tied, and on the other side, a ring is fixed.

With the help of such a device, you can make curly products according to ready-made templates.

Before cutting the foam with nichrome, the spiral is set to the required height. The height is measured with a ruler. The device is connected to a charger. The Styrofoam sheet is slid over the countertop when the string gets hot. Do not forget that safety precautions must be followed when working with the device.

October 12, 2015. Read 19186 times

The issue of home insulation is very relevant these days. Facade cladding with foam is one of the most popular types of insulation. And this is very justified, tk. the process of such insulation is simple and straightforward, and all the necessary materials are always available for sale.

But everyone knows that it is very convenient to glue foam on a flat wall. With any method of gluing the foam on the wall: on dry mix glue, on foam or foam glue, it is always very important that the foam sheet adheres tightly to the wall and does not create air gaps.

If the wall is flat, then no questions arise. But, unfortunately, the walls of old houses do not differ in ideal evenness. And different design features of the structure sometimes create drops on the plane of the wall.

Partially this disadvantage can be leveled by laying the foam on a thicker layer of glue. But the maximum permissible thickness of the glue layer often cannot cover the magnitude of the differences in the plane of the walls. In addition, too large differences lead to unnecessary waste of glue.

The next way out of the situation remains. trimming the foam in thickness. But doing this with a hacksaw is very inconvenient and long, especially if you need to cut a large amount of foam. In addition, a large amount of debris in the form of foam balls is generated during cutting. Yes, and the surface is uneven and the accuracy of such a cut is very conditional.

In order to quickly and evenly cut the foam to the desired thickness, you can use a foam cutting machine. This device can be made independently, absolutely with your own hands.

The principle of operation and the device of the foam cutting machine

The principle of operation of the machine is based on the fact that the foam melts easily under the influence of temperature. Thus, if a thin heated wire is drawn over it, it is easily cut, while forming a perfectly flat smooth surface.

For the manufacture of the machine you need the following components:

  • LATR (laboratory autotransformer) or car battery;
  • nichrome thread;
  • racks for fastening nichrome thread;
  • spring (1-2 pcs.);
  • tabletop board;
  • copper wire.

An important element of the device for cutting foam is LATR. But if it is not there, then it can be done using an old transformer and a device for charging car batteries.

You can also use a computer power supply, in which 12 W wires (yellow and black) are used to connect to the spiral.

For the operation of such a machine, it is enough to have an output voltage of 6-12 W.

The length and thickness of the filament must be properly adjusted to match the voltage. If the filament gets too hot, it can break. Well, if the thread heats up slightly, then cutting will occur slowly.

A car battery can also be used as a power source. It can be used in conditions if there is no electricity on the site.

A machine for cutting foam in the field. Connecting to car battery.

For different tasks, you can make different designs of the foam cutting device.

Basically, these devices will differ in the length of the spiral. To cut the foam into bars, you need a small spiral length.

You can install two spirals and cut the sheet into several bars in one pass.

Two spirals cut the sheet into three pieces in one pass. The stand is packed with guides for even feeding the foam.

But, as a last resort, foam plastic can be cut into bars with a hacksaw. It is much more difficult to cut the polystyrene to the thickness, and even to the given size. Therefore, we will consider how to make a machine for cutting foam plastic in width.

Special knife

Areas of use

In addition to construction, foam has found application in other areas:

  • Designers often use it in interior design, embodying their wildest fantasies.
  • For packaging medical devices.
  • During repair work of refrigeration and climatic devices.
  • Lifejackets and buoys, buoys and floats contain foam.
  • For making three-dimensional letters in advertising.

Required tools and materials

Styrofoam is a lightweight material that can be cut with a variety of tools. In some cases, the accuracy and cleanliness of the cut plays an important role. You can provide these properties using the following tools:

  • an ordinary sharp knife;
  • small stove or hacksaw;
  • strong string;
  • a knife with a thermo effect;
  • thermal cutter;
  • laser cutter.

Each builder has his own preference for choosing one of the tools. All tools allow high-quality processing of foam and form an even line. Polyfoam has low resistance to mechanical stress. this should not be forgotten when choosing a tool.

Electric Angle Grinder Cutting

This cutting option is simple and comfortable. However, in the process of work, a lot of noise will be created, and after its completion a large amount of garbage will appear.

Nichrome wire cutting

To use this tool, you will need to additionally assemble the device. It will include not only a nichrome thread, but also a 12 or 24 volt transformer. In advance, you must also take a piece of a small pipe and a table. The string will be tensioned by a spring. Nichrome is a material that is part of any hair dryer. The apparatus must function in such a way that the thread heats up and can melt the foam. Thanks to this, it is possible to obtain various complex shapes from the material.

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In order for the device to start functioning, a wooden block is fixed on the table. You must first make a hole in it and install a piece of pipe. Next, you need to fix the nichrome wire on it using a spring. It will only heat up after being connected to the transformer. A piece of foam should be brought to it and given the required size.

Advantages and disadvantages of the material

The best insulating material. polystyrene. has many positive and negative properties. Its advantages:

  • This is a special insulation that is capable of high-quality soundproofing not only individual rooms, but all buildings.
  • It does not contain harmful substances, so the material is environmentally friendly.
  • Used as ceiling coverings. Decorative items have different textured patterns and colors.
  • Applied during transportation. For high-quality sealing, the product is additionally sealed with foam.
  • It can be transported, unloaded and stacked without any problems due to its light weight.
  • The material is resistant to fungi and mold.

Under the influence of high temperatures and some technical substances, the foam begins to collapse. Therefore, when working with material, certain rules must be observed. Do not use gasoline, acetone and white spirit. The foam board will begin to crumble and collapse from the inside at an air temperature of over 500 degrees. Because of this, in places where insulation is used, the temperature regime must be observed.

Specialized machines and their prices

The manufactured machines are supplied for mass production. Modifications are available with six cutting elements, allowing you to quickly cut a large volume of foam in a single pass. Laser cutting machines perform work for architectural purposes, are able to cut various shapes, materials in thickness.

Specialized foam cutting machine

The machines have excellent characteristics, they can have the functions of simultaneous processing of many elements, they have high productivity. The price of the devices is high, you need to know exactly what the cutter is used for.

Manual cutting of expanded polystyrene

Of all the above methods, manual cutting of polystyrene is not so expensive, the abundance of methods allows you to influence foam products in accordance with the tasks.

  • The easiest and least expensive way is cutting with large sharpened knives. The tip of the knife is left blunt, oil for lubrication must be distributed along the width of the knife, the speed of this method is not high, cutting of small volumes is used.
  • A hot rune allows you to quickly perform work, but is harmful to health.
  • Cutting with a cold wire is similar to the action of a saw, you only need to make a productive structure.
  • Cutting with a hacksaw with a blade.

Manual cutting process

Professional methods involve the use of a ready-made tool. High-quality and fast cutting is carried out using suitable devices.

Self-made cutting machine

A full-fledged machine can be made at home. For the manufacture of the machine, a tabletop and a frame of the required width are selected, as well as other parts. A machine is made for cutting foam with their own hands from improvised means, by analogy to the smallest nichrome modification. There are several modifications and structures of machines, realized in accordance with the conditions of the parts.

Basic Styrofoam Cutting Techniques

The best option for building thermal insulation is foam. Usually, for these purposes, a non-dense structure is chosen, due to its low cost. This causes inconvenience when cutting, the structure of the cells crumbles, and with a little effort, you can break the structure with your hands. The tool for cutting foam plastic has various modifications, ready-made options are sold, you can also make a structure yourself.

It is important to understand that the foam structure is categorical for the effects of certain fluids. Acetone or gasoline destroys the structure of the foam, and the product will have to be re-manufactured. Temperature operating modes are no more than 50 °.

Cutting foam at home is done with many tools at hand. For example, when working with small workpieces, the easiest way is to use a clerical knife. The process is inaccurate, because the blade dulls quickly, for better processing the knife can be heated.

Each of the devices has advantages and disadvantages, before cutting with your own hands, it is important to note the characteristics of the foam, choose a tool for cutting the foam by size.

Manual machine for shape cutting of foam plastic

In some cases, in the absence of any of the above cutting tools, the intervention of electrical engineering is required. The angle grinder is used with a disc of minimum thickness. Work involves the presence of increased noise, debris from foam particles throughout the territory.

The processes of warming one dwelling can be performed with a manual tool. The wire for influencing the foam is used on a special stand, previously prepared. The design consists of nichrome wire, easily made by hand. The connection diagram consists of two fasteners, a tension weight and a mains supply. In cases where production volumes are increased, special foam processing machines are used.

FRP 01

The simple design allows the device to be modified for various shapes and sizes of foam blanks. Various types of foam cutting attachments allow a number of actions to be carried out. Implemented the ability to cut running parts, shaped elements, insulation boards and signboards.

The cutting is performed by the machine through the connection to the CNC. The cutting program is supplied with various settings.. it is important to check the functionality, reliability of the design before buying.

Srp “Kontur”

There are modifications of machines for the production of elements of various shapes. The machine for cutting polystyrene foam is operated manually, has a simple design, rich functionality. Power consumption is not high, the components are collapsible, which allows you not to worry about transportation.

The main difference between market models and hand-made ones is the safety tests carried out, the reliability of parts.

Homemade Hot Wire Foam and Styrofoam Cutter (Complete Easy Tutorial)

Styrofoam cutting

In construction and finishing works, foam plastic rightfully takes its rightful place. Its heat-insulating and noise-absorbing characteristics make it possible to use it in the decoration of facades, summer cottages, industrial enterprises. The structure of the material consists of foamed particles that fill the gas cavity during molding. The cost of the material is not high, it can be used in any field of activity, volumetric letters on advertising, information boards, etc.

DIY nichrome cutter

Making your own hands implies the presence of certain tools. In order to properly assemble a tool for cutting foam, you will need:

The device can be mobile or table-mounted. The frame is made of wood, the wire is set at a height of 10-15 cm, on the adjusting screws. The screws that secure the nichrome wire must be of a suitable length to adjust the height to the required level. A weight is suspended from one side of the screw to tighten the wire for a straight cut level.

The impact of the current leads to the splitting of the wire, the foam is easily exposed to temperature influences. The edges are sealed to prevent decay of the material structure. Cutting the foam begins after the appearance of a red tint on the wire, there is no need to bring the incandescence to a high level, in these cases the cut width will be too large.

When performing the procedure, you should use personal protective equipment, a mask, gloves. During melting processing, toxic fumes are released.

Cutting is done indoors with good ventilation or outdoors.