I quite often get asked can I supply CNC Foam Cutters as a kit. For several reasons, I can’t produce a self-assembly kit. So are there any kits you can purchase?
Yes, there are a few Hot Wire CNC Foam Cutters you can buy so lets take a look what’s currently available
Windy Hill Hobbies
A good friend Nathan in the USA has been testing a new design for Martin of Windy Hill Hobbies. I was so impressed with the design that I asked Nathan if Martin would be interested in providing some details of the kit. Kindly Martin has and it’s now available to order.
The WindyHillHobbies Hotwire CNC Cutter Kit has a cutting area of approximately 40”x40”x12” (1000mmx1000mmx300mm). The design uses a pre-tensioned hotwire bow which makes the CNC smaller and easier to build. We can also use Nema17 motors and don’t depend on complex wire tension mechanisms. The hot wire bow is oversized which enables quite extreme tapered cuts.
The Kit includes all the hardware components to build the CNC frame. The brackets are 3D printed PLA. Additional components listed below must be purchased separately.
- 4x Nema 17 Stepper Motors (Amazon)
- 1x Arduino CNC Shield Kit (Amazon)
- 1x Hotwire Bow (see manual for instructions on how to build it)
- Nichrome wire (Amazon)
- 40”x40” MDF/Plywood sheet (HomeDepot)
- Extension Cables (Amazon)
- Medium CA Glue (Amazon)
- Power Supply (Amazon)
The full machine can be assembled in approximately 2 hours. Please check out this video to see the machine in action
Martin recommends the following software:
- DevWing Foam to design foam wings
- DevCNC Foam to run the CNC machine
- DevFoam Pro to cut any kind of shapes
Alternative CNC Controller and Software
Martin recommends the software above and I fully endorse that, I use them myself apart from DevFoam Pro.
But you can use the software and hardware I use for my design on this website. This can save you some money because the software is free. The DevCad software is excellent but if you are just getting started it just may push your budget too far. Upgrade as your skill progress and you reach the limitation of the free software.
This is another excellent design but takes a bit more building. All parts are laser cut and uses drawer slider like my design. Full details here https://www.vortex-rc.com/product/4-axis-diy-hot-wire-cnc-for-rc-hobbyists-aeromodellers-and-designers/
- 750MM X/Z Axis movement
- 440 MM Y/A Axis Movement
- Accuracy: 0.1MM
Vortex-RC recommends Mach3 but you can use the same electronics as my design or the same as the Windy Hill Hobbies machine
Here’s a video showing the machine working
These machines are quite expensive and probably not really for the hobbyist but they do provide a complete solution with all the hardware and software. So if you can afford it then check them out https://www.foamlinx.com/
If you have been looking for a CNC Foam Cutter to build that model you’ve been wanting then I hope this posting will help you out. As you can see there aren’t a plethora of offerings for foam cutters like CNC routers.
The options listed here are very good and you will still need to assemble the machine but not as much as building from scratch. If you are on a limited budget then I would suggest my design which can be built for as little as $200 but if that’s too much work then Martins or Vortex-RC may be the answer.
I haven’t used any of these machines so please do your research and make an informed decision. I have no affiliation with any of these companies and the opinions expressed are my own based on several years of foam cutting and making many models and mistakes.
Do check out the builder gallery while you are here. Many builders send me pictures and some use a lot of 3d printed part. Have a look in the Builders Gallery