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Jun 26, 2004, 01:45 PM
Thread OP

I want to make a hot wire cutter but...

I want to make a hot wire cutter but I do not have any steal leader or nicrome wire. I do have loads of copper wire that is 1/3 of a mm thick. I also have a 12v and 6v 4amp transformer. Can I make a hot wire cutter out of this without blowing my power source.
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Jun 26, 2004, 01:54 PM
Crash Master
Gene Bond's Avatar
You should not use copper.

I'm succesfully using some craft store wire. 25 gusge 'Bright Wire' (uncoated) by Fibre Craft. I got it at Michael's or Hobby Lobby (craft store) Seems to like about 2.5-3A. ~ 6V/ft...
Jun 26, 2004, 02:16 PM
Registered User
What about guitar string!!
Jun 26, 2004, 02:34 PM
Thread OP
Ok went around the houseand found some more possible wire.

I found some wire for fake plants, dont ask me what is is, not copper tho. about 1 mm thick, give or take.
I also found some stainless steel fishing leader that is covered in plastic, I could strip it, about 1/2 to 3/4 mm thick.

I do have some guitar string but I would hate to have to take it off. It's kind of special if you know what I mean.

Jun 26, 2004, 04:43 PM
Thread OP
I need to know and quick

Jun 26, 2004, 04:50 PM
Registered User
How about speaker wire most times you get both copper and the silver kind try the silver one but twist a couple strands together..
Jun 26, 2004, 06:07 PM
Thread OP
I hooked up the steel wire and burnt the heck out of my fingers and left a realy bad smell.

so much for that idea

Jun 26, 2004, 08:05 PM
lift off
hi. i use one strand of bycicle brake or shift cable. strip about 24 inchs from the full cable,it has 10 or 12 strands, stretch the single stand between your cutter arms and use the 6 volt setting on the charger.i've cut numerous wings fuselages works great. have fun, overland. P.S. you'll have to lock one end in a vise and pull a bar of some sort the length of it several times to remove the kinks.
Jun 26, 2004, 08:08 PM
Registered User
Very good reply on the "put the wire in a vise and yank it.. done that one justbe carefull the plyers don't let go durring the yank and you pop yourself on the nose
Jun 26, 2004, 08:10 PM
Registered User
To figure out if any wire is ok, you just need to measure its resistance. And you can calculate the current. Do you have a multimeter? Material is one factor. Copper is 88X less resistance than nichrome. Lets say a nichrome cutter pulls 2 amps, then copper would pull 176 amps. Something is going to fry. The other factor is the wire diameter. Every time you double the area, the current doubles. The nichrome wire that I use is the same size as the copper wire you described. So you should stay away from any wire that is too much thicker.

I once used the wire form an old aquarium heater. Think it's nichrome.

Question? Why can't you get some nichrome from your local hobby store. Its very cheap.

Did you check out this thread? There is some discussion of wire at the end:

Of the choices you mentioned above I would go with the SS fishing leader.
What are you using for a power supply?
Last edited by Kwok_Yu; Jun 26, 2004 at 08:27 PM.
Jun 26, 2004, 08:15 PM
Registered User
Wow!! again.. Kowk even I will take this info to heed.. Very good stuff as I am about to do the same. make a cutter and pattern's for flying wings or whatever pop's into mind...

keep this thread going with the laguage that is in here right now.. it's simple enough for anyone to understand if you don't ask....

and you you come up with something cool pictures baby pictures....
Jun 26, 2004, 08:34 PM
Thread OP
Is the steal leader suposed to glow bright orange when you heat it up???

I got a picture of my transformer. I don't think I need an amp meter, can't I just look at the little thing thats on there, It says

Direct current Amperes

then it says 0-6 amperes. and 0 thru 2 and 1/2 is green and also labled full.
2 and 1/2 thru 6 amperes is in red and says low.

Should't I be able to tell, because if it is in red it is drawing to much and may fry right???

Jun 26, 2004, 09:05 PM
Micro Brushless crazy
Uttam1's Avatar
For Nicrome wire, Open a WIRE WOUND potentiometer, you'll find some wire wrappd onto a thin strip of bakalite, unwind it and use it! I've been doing this for years. I use a 50ohm, 5watt Potentiometer, but you'll have to experiment there, buy a few of the low resistance high wattage ones and find out for yourself which one works best for you.

Jun 27, 2004, 01:30 AM
Registered User
[Is the steal leader suposed to glow bright orange when you heat it up???]
Don't know, because I have never used steel. I can tell you that my nichrome doesn't show any color at all, and it is plenty hot. Nichrome does glow when it is in an aquarium heater, but it is hooked up directly to the house ac.

I was suggesting that you use a ohm meter to measure restistance, to convience you to stick with nichrome or SS. Also you can size you powersupply this way. Some people use a wall adapter wirh only 1amp to play with and onboard meter. It's all a matter of how compicated you want to make it. I certainly didn't bother. Just hooked it up and worked fine. But then I was sure I had the right wire. I wasn't worried about the power supply. It should have a fuse. And the thin wire should fry first.

That's the same type of power supply I am using. Try the low setting first, that's what I use. Make sure you know the rating of each setting. Mind is 2 amps and 6 amps. So for me I should switch to high, if I am pulling more than 2 amps. It's not just a matter of green and red. Yours should not go above 4 amps. I you need to fine control of the power, try a dimmer switch from the hardware store.

You still haven't answered why you can't spend a few dollars for nichrome or the correct diameter SS? Should be about 1/64 inch diameter. My philosophy is that it is ok to save money, but nothing is free. Then you need to do a few calculations, buy a multimeter, and stuff like that.

Glad you are interested. I try to explain things so people can understand. Hope this is the case, but maybe I write too much.
Last edited by Kwok_Yu; Jun 27, 2004 at 01:59 AM.
Jun 27, 2004, 01:56 AM
Dismembered Member...
arx_n_sparx's Avatar
I use Sig control line wire (.018") on my big bow (4&1/2 ft). Others use braided SS fishing leader (~.020) or (real) aircraft safety wire (again, .020 SS solid). Nichrome does not take tension well!!! My big bow is tight - I'd say between the D and G strings on yer guitar when plucked, so I don't have to worry about wire lag....


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