Welcome to my CNC foam cutting page

This is a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) foam cutting machine. This means that I no longer have to make templates to cut foam wing cores as I have done in the past. The airfoil plot will be saved to a notebook which sends signals to a driver board connected to the printer port. The driver board circuit will then control 4 stepper motors and move the hot wire across the foam. This technology is very similar to a printer/plotter connected to a computer, but of simpler construction. Later I will incorporate the CNC foam cutter to a typical XYZ CNC Table where it can route parts to make 3 dimensional objects.

Making this machine was quite expensive! But I do hope will save money in the long run. I guess I could cut foam wings for the airplane hobby and re-coop the cost on the foam cutting machine. Let me know if you have any projects in mind.

Here is a short specification on my foam cutter

X-Axis travel = 28" (711mm)  maximum root core length
Y-Axis travel = 18" (457mm) maximum thickness ( I have yet to see a root core of 18 inches, unless I am flying in one)

Currently the foam cutter is on a 60 inch wide table, which translates to wing panels of 50 inches  (1270mm).

I have purchase the controller board from Tal Barnea (California) at FoamLinx and the software from Gilles Muller (France). Without these very important individuals; it will be like reinventing the wheel, in which I have no time for.

Here are some pictures of my CNC foam cutter.


Built from a broken Video Multiplier box the controller board, power supply and a couple of fans fits nicely inside. I used serial DB9 for connections to the stepper motors.


I am using a high grade Thomson stainless steel shafts and IGUS Drylin bearings for linear movements. I found this to be a very stable and precise platform. Slightly over built but it will incorporate attachments for a Z platform that will hold a ROTO ZIP cutting tool that will ultimately make parts.


Sample cut using EPP foam

Here are some important links I have collected while venturing in this CNC - Hobby.

Tal Barnea at FoamLinx  (CNC electronics and parts)      http://www.8linx.com/cnc/cnc.htm 

Gilles Muller (CNC foam cutting software)      http://gm.cnc.free.fr/index_en.html

HobbyCNC  (CNC parts and info)      http://www.hobbycnc.com

IGUS (Linear Motion Devices)      http://www.igus.com

Thomson (Linear Motion Devices)     http://www.thomsonindustries.com/default.htm

Industrial Metal Supply (Sunland California)     http://www.imsmetals.com