Hot Wire CNC – Cutting Expanded Polystyrene Foam

A hot wire CNC is a machine that cuts expanded or extruded polystyrene foam EPS or XPS. It uses a hot wire which is electrically charged to vaporise the material upon contact. The result is a clean, dust-free cut with superior surface finish. EPS and XPS are very common building materials used in insulation, architectural shapes, facades, props, signs and exhibits.

hot wire CNC  can be used for cutting a range of 3D shapes, including all kinds of columns and tapered cuts. The machine can also be fitted with a turntable for cutting spheres and lathed shapes. It is also possible to make rotary cuts, all kinds of grooved and chiseled shapes, and hollow or symmetrical shapes. The machines come fully assembled with a computer + monitor, software and all the necessary hardware. Customers are able to build the machine and start using it within two hours. The software is easy to learn and most are able to get going immediately.

The controller uses Grbl, a simple and powerful open source G-code control system. It has independent jogging controls for each axis, a graph visualization tool and the ability to save macros. This allows you to create a drawing and then load it to the machine so that the correct part is cut every time, eliminating costly production errors and saving valuable time.

There are several different CAD/CAM and machine controllers that can be used with our machines. The most popular is Jedicut, which can be used for CAD/CAM and as the machine controller. It is relatively easy to set up and has a lot of features, but requires an old PC with the parallel port interface. There are alternatives, however, such as Fabcut, which is free to use and integrates with LinuxCNC.

For advanced users, it is possible to develop your own software for a specific application. One example is WingG-code generator, a program which generates g-code to cut model aeroplane wings. It runs on python 2.7 and can be integrated with LinuxCNC. It is free to use and supports layering wings on the same piece of foam to save material, washout and gantry length. It also has a database of airfoils and can import new ones.

All the machines can be upgraded with an additional cutting wire to double the output at extra cost. They also come with a custom-made, highest quality Titanium Alloy Wire NiCr, which is more stretch resistant than standard NiCr and breaks less often. This is available on all units 1.3 meter wide and wider.

For larger units, we can offer a pneumatic wire tensioning which results in much higher cutting speeds and better cutting quality. This is an optional extra on all 1.3 meter wide and wider machines. For the widest series machines, we can supply a second cutting wire doubling the capacity.

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