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  1. #1
    Neuer Benutzer
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    50

    Nichrome ribbon wire question

    I am asked by a client to cut out a profile in eps polystyrene. I don't know much about hotwire cutting, only experiments years ago with very fine wire. The best way to do this looks like attaching a profile of bent Nichrome wire to my cnc and running along the foamboard but the is conjecture on my part.

    The outline of the profile i'm trying to cut out is roughly the shape of half a cog, i.e. semi circle and four teeth. The length of wire required to form the shape is about 20cm, or 8 inches in length.

    From looking at examples of hand held hotwire cutters its looks like they use ribbon wire instead of round wire, i'm guessing as that profile is less likely to bend? I bought some round 19 gauge nichrome wire, which my 50v/5amp bench top supply can't heat hot enough.

    My question is can anyone suggest a gauge of ribbon wire or even round wire I should be looking at to hold its profile where 8 inches of wire are required to pass through the foam in a single pass?

    Any thoughts welcome

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1640

    Re: Nichrome ribbon wire question

    Your not set up now for hot wire cutting and have never done it before.... this is something I would pass on. Unless he has an order for say 500 of the same.
    Retired Master Electrician, HVAC/R Commercial. FLA Saturn 2 4x4 CNC Router

  3. #3
    Neuer Benutzer
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    50

    Re: Nichrome ribbon wire question

    Quote Originally Posted by wmgeorge View Post
    Your not set up now for hot wire cutting and have never done it before.... this is something I would pass on. Unless he has an order for say 500 of the same.
    Correct I am not currently set up for hot wire cutting but I do CNC mill a lot of PUR and EPS foamboard in 3 and 4 axis. I'm looking to add hotwire to my list of processes and this seems like a good opportunity to investigate how to do that. I mostly do small batch work but annually it adds up to hundreds of parts so worth me looking at hot wire cutting seriously. I'm also pretty over polystyrene particles everywhere in the workshop, hot wire cutting looks a lot less messy in comparision.

    After upgrading my fume extraction I see no reason I cant add an attachment to my cnc which will allow me to carve bespoke profiles, such as domestic and architecural cornice detailing and in this particular request a cut out for a musical instrument case. I see ads for 200w hand held hot wire cuttings with attachments for making up your own wire profiles, looks promising!

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    1640

    Re: Nichrome ribbon wire question

    Well your going to need some type of heavy duty variable power supply as your wire length may vary. I would just stick with standard round wire. I saw a write up on doing hot wire CNC but can't remember where.
    Retired Master Electrician, HVAC/R Commercial. FLA Saturn 2 4x4 CNC Router

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    10430

    Re: Nichrome ribbon wire question

    Quote Originally Posted by marbles View Post
    I am asked by a client to cut out a profile in eps polystyrene. I don't know much about hotwire cutting, only experiments years ago with very fine wire. The best way to do this looks like attaching a profile of bent Nichrome wire to my cnc and running along the foamboard but the is conjecture on my part.

    The outline of the profile i'm trying to cut out is roughly the shape of half a cog, i.e. semi circle and four teeth. The length of wire required to form the shape is about 20cm, or 8 inches in length.

    From looking at examples of hand held hotwire cutters its looks like they use ribbon wire instead of round wire, i'm guessing as that profile is less likely to bend? I bought some round 19 gauge nichrome wire, which my 50v/5amp bench top supply can't heat hot enough.

    My question is can anyone suggest a gauge of ribbon wire or even round wire I should be looking at to hold its profile where 8 inches of wire are required to pass through the foam in a single pass?

    Any thoughts welcome
    You don't bend the wire to the shape of the profile, that is what a CNC is for the axes move around the wire and cut out the shape you want, or the wire moves and the block is stationery both ways work and is easy to do the wire used is normally no over .6mm dia, look on YouTube for some simple ways to use your cnc machine as a Hot Wire cutter
    Mactec54

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