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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:17 AM
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houston tx
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New to foam cutting ... not happy with my rig

As the title says..I am just trying out foam cutting of wings etc.

I built a foam cutter per plans in a book ( simple bow/saw type structure with metal fishing line as the "wire".) I hooked the rig up to my 10 amp battery charger directly.

The wire barely gets warm to the touch. It would take a half hour to cut through one inch of Styrofoam. Since the battery charger works well enough to charge my boat battery...I assume that I have the wrong wire or something? The wire that I am using is single strand and is used for leader in shark or blue fishing. I have no idea of its diameter nor actual makeup.

I have a 12 v boat battery here that I could use temporarily. I also have a 5 amp (110 volt) light dimmer if I need it.

The cutting wire length is 40 inches, and the leads are another 24 inches ( 12 on each side.) I sanded the wire; wrapped it around Stainless steel screws and clamped the battery charger to those connections.

I have a BassPro shops near me. Also have a number of Ace hardware's etc; Menard's; Home Depot; Wal-Mart etc. Any specifics on what the proper wire to use would be appreciated. . Any additional ideas or help, please? rich
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:02 PM
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Mtntop's Avatar
Osburn Idaho
Joined May 2006
445 Posts
I"m currently using single strand .065, 58lb test Stainless steel leader from cabellas, 360' for @ $20. Bass will have it. Also I've heard that if you use braided it tends to not leave the usual angel hair on the cores.

Hope this helps.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 12:33 PM
Vintage Flyer
Indiana
Joined Jan 2005
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Battery chargers usually make poor power supplies.
I built a couple of my own homemade cutters, then decided to buy a Tekoa Feather Cut gravity system cutter.
Been 110% satisfied with it ever since
I have several bows and also several of the accessory cutters.
I can cut wings, fuselages, etc.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 01:00 PM
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Ward Hagaman's Avatar
San Diego
Joined Mar 2003
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With that long of a cutting wire you will need a lot of power, or a thick wire, like Mtntop suggests. I would also try the battery as a power source instead of the charger. I would use 14 gage wire with alligator clips to connect it at the ends of the 40"--you don't need to try heating up any longer than you have to. Fourty inches of wire might be a source of frustration as well, with wire lag, vibration, etc. You might consider a 30-36" wire if you can manage it.


Edit: .065 sure seems thick to me--maybe .024-.032" seems more like it.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 04:22 PM
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Western KY
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I use .018" type 302/304 stainless steel music wire from McMaster-Carr. 285' for $10.29
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 04:35 PM
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houston tx
Joined Aug 2007
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Well, Bass Pro didn't have anything near what I wanted. I went to an ACE hardware store and could only find some .58 mm (24 gauge) galvanized steel wire. What a difference the correct ( or at least more correct) wire makes. Same charger; same bow; same legth...now it cuts Styrofoam like butter. Just cut a sample.

I can see room for a lot of improvement though. It appears that the wire may be either stretching or at least turning off of the holder screws. I'll work though that. I may have to find some better stainless wire....but...at least I know what the bow can do and how the process can work. Thanks for all of your help.

So far, investment $3.50 for the wire. $2.50 for a turnbuckle and scraps of junk wood already lying around here. regards, Rich
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 05:15 PM
Vintage Flyer
Indiana
Joined Jan 2005
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Try a welding supply center.

Ask for stainless steel welding wire.
They should have various thicknesses.
I have .028,.032 and .035 wire rolls.

You really don't want to try and run power through long strands of wire.
Max should be 30 to 36 inches.
40 to 48 inches is possible, but it takes the right setup
Even though I have the Tekoa Feather Cut setup, I also have special bows I still use, that use welding wire.
The best power supply for a homemade unit is a Variac if you can find one.
Look on Ebay.
I've been doing foam for 20 years, and have made several units.
I really like the Feather Cut though, as it comes with its own power supply,
and is easy to use, folds up for out of the way storage.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 06:34 PM
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draftman1's Avatar
central CA
Joined Aug 2002
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hey Rich, I sent you a PM on the spad site
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:05 PM
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Mtntop's Avatar
Osburn Idaho
Joined May 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew0820
I use .018" type 302/304 stainless steel music wire from McMaster-Carr. 285' for $10.29
Wow! I'm waaaay oversized! Maybe thats why I never break a wire?! What came standard on the Tekoa rig?

And can someonelse verify the braided ss not leaving as much angel hair?
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:05 PM
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Xanadu's Avatar
Canada, MB, Winnipeg
Joined Nov 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richg99
Well, Bass Pro didn't have anything near what I wanted. I went to an ACE hardware store and could only find some .58 mm (24 gauge) galvanized steel wire. What a difference the correct ( or at least more correct) wire makes. Same charger; same bow; same legth...now it cuts Styrofoam like butter. Just cut a sample.

I can see room for a lot of improvement though. It appears that the wire may be either stretching or at least turning off of the holder screws. I'll work though that. I may have to find some better stainless wire....but...at least I know what the bow can do and how the process can work. Thanks for all of your help.

So far, investment $3.50 for the wire. $2.50 for a turnbuckle and scraps of junk wood already lying around here. regards, Rich
Using galvanized wire is not a good idea. It will emit poison gases when heated, DO NOT breathe the fumes!

I used stainless picture hanging wire from my local hardware store, then I found some stainless leader wire at a fishing store.
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:11 PM
Red Merle ALES
Curtis Suter's Avatar
United States, Mt, Helena
Joined Apr 2002
5,450 Posts
I've been using this for years, works flawlessly.

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...questid=154981


Curtis
Montana
www.TailwindGliders.com
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:40 PM
Vintage Flyer
Indiana
Joined Jan 2005
1,674 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by CloudyIFR
I've been using this for years, works flawlessly.

http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/te...questid=154981


Curtis
Montana
www.TailwindGliders.com
Hi Curtis,
What thickness do you use of the wire from Cabellas?
The SS welding wire I use is almost always for large scale wings, with lengths approaching 44 to 48 inches because I can put a lot of tension on .028 to .035 wire without getting any sag as it's drawn through the foam.
All my smaller stuff I use my Tekoa Feather Cut on.


Ed
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:52 PM
Vintage Flyer
Indiana
Joined Jan 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtntop
Wow! I'm waaaay oversized! Maybe thats why I never break a wire?! What came standard on the Tekoa rig?

And can someonelse verify the braided ss not leaving as much angel hair?
Tekoa comes with .018 wire
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Old Aug 26, 2009, 10:54 PM
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central CA
Joined Aug 2002
346 Posts
this is what alot of guys use. I got some and it works great. I wont use the fishing leader anymore
http://www.skykingrcproducts.com/acc.../renewire.html
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Old Aug 27, 2009, 06:55 AM
Red Merle ALES
Curtis Suter's Avatar
United States, Mt, Helena
Joined Apr 2002
5,450 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ercoupe Ed
Hi Curtis,
What thickness do you use of the wire from Cabellas?
The SS welding wire I use is almost always for large scale wings, with lengths approaching 44 to 48 inches because I can put a lot of tension on .028 to .035 wire without getting any sag as it's drawn through the foam.
All my smaller stuff I use my Tekoa Feather Cut on.


Ed
.016 for both my 20" and 36" bow. If I cut anything with a longer span I'll make up different templates and cut in smaller sections to reduce wire drag. Plus my workbench is small!

Curtis
Montana
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