Sunday, August 11, 2013

DIY Handheld Hot Wire Cutter

Here's how I put together a quick-and-easy handheld hot wire cutter.  I started with a coping saw, removing the sawblade.  I ordered some 28 gauge nichrome wire from ebay.
I loosened the handle, and wrapped the nichrome wire around both ends of the sawblade mounts, pulling it tight.  Screwing the handle tight brings the wire tension to the perfect amount.
I split an old extension cord and crimped an alligator clamp to each half.
Attaching the wires to the power supply.
I had a couple of scrounged old power supplies sitting around.  I had hoped to find an old printer power supply that was about 30V, but I only had a 12V and 9V.  I put these together  in parallel.  It was just enough power for the small cuts I needed to do.
This was in service of the noodle copter, and I needed to cut some circular fittings on the end of the foam pool noodles.  I used a 2 inch hole saw to cut a template in some 1/8'' ply.  It was just about perfect.
Here's a cut off end.  The wire was just hot enough for a clean cut.
Here's the prototype body, with the pool noodle arms glued together with Beacon Foam-Tac.

I'm still hunting around for a better power supply.

I'm going to try cutting out some flat wing surfaces by clamping the coping saw in the jaws of a Black and Decker Workmate.

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