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
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