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Discussion Starter #1
Can anyone recommend a decent hot wire cutter? I am new to all of this foam carving and at this early stage I am afraid to invest in something that is almost $300
 

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Not sure how big of a project you are talking about but I use the crafter tools from Hot Wire Foam Factory to make my tombstones and various other foam props: Crafters Tools They also have more industrial tools if you are looking for something more substantial but I have been able to achieve what I want with the less expensive crafters tools.
Hope that helps!
 

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Can anyone recommend a decent hot wire cutter? I am new to all of this foam carving and at this early stage I am afraid to invest in something that is almost $300
I was also looking to purchase one for an upcoming project that's going to require a lot of carving. These are some of the products I found. It seems that Amazon had a bunch of different types available:
 

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Ok.

I've made my own with guitar string and transformers,I've bought the one from Habor Freight, I've bough one from Michaels, I've used a soldering iron with hot knife modifications, and for Christmas, I got the $250 industrial kit from hot wire foam factory.

The homemade ones worked really well, but all were based on a bow or table design which were cumbersome to make the cuts I need to make.

The harbor freight knife works pretty good for small projects.
Give it a minute to warm up, and don't force the cut, let the knife do the work, and it cuts through the 2" pink/blue foam with relative ease. If you're going to make a couple tombstones, this thing will do the job just fine.

It does tend to get a little residue on the blade that needs to get cleaned off. I kept a piece of cardboard on hand to kinda wipe it off between cuts and it worked great.

If you're new to working with foam, this is a nice entry level to get you a feel for it and get some projects going.

The michaels knife was similar to this:
I really cannot recommend this tool for any practical use. It did technically WORK, but it was a patient game of waiting for that little thing to work it's way through the cuts.

The soldering iron/woodburning kits work well for engraving, but that's about it.

The hot wire industrial kit...


OH MY LORD WHY HAVE I WASTED MY TIME WITH THOSE OTHER KNIVES! My project this year was DIFFERENT. I had a boatload of 8" foam to cut. This thing, plug it in, turn it to half power, pull the trigger and it FLIES through the foam. Practically no warm up needed, and I actually release the trigger about a second before I finish the cut to speed the cooling down. It's residue is a charred remains type rather than the sticky goo of the harbor freight knife. Comes with a wire brush to clean it off.

The blade DOES get hot, and thus soft, however, easy to bend out of shape. This makes some of the loop attachments tricky to utilize even on the coolest setting. And...if you aren't going to be doing a LOT of foam, the price is probably too much of a hinderance.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ok.

I've made my own with guitar string and transformers,I've bought the one from Habor Freight, I've bough one from Michaels, I've used a soldering iron with hot knife modifications, and for Christmas, I got the $250 industrial kit from hot wire foam factory.

The homemade ones worked really well, but all were based on a bow or table design which were cumbersome to make the cuts I need to make.

The harbor freight knife works pretty good for small projects.
Give it a minute to warm up, and don't force the cut, let the knife do the work, and it cuts through the 2" pink/blue foam with relative ease. If you're going to make a couple tombstones, this thing will do the job just fine.

It does tend to get a little residue on the blade that needs to get cleaned off. I kept a piece of cardboard on hand to kinda wipe it off between cuts and it worked great.

If you're new to working with foam, this is a nice entry level to get you a feel for it and get some projects going.

The michaels knife was similar to this:
I really cannot recommend this tool for any practical use. It did technically WORK, but it was a patient game of waiting for that little thing to work it's way through the cuts.

The soldering iron/woodburning kits work well for engraving, but that's about it.

The hot wire industrial kit...


OH MY LORD WHY HAVE I WASTED MY TIME WITH THOSE OTHER KNIVES! My project this year was DIFFERENT. I had a boatload of 8" foam to cut. This thing, plug it in, turn it to half power, pull the trigger and it FLIES through the foam. Practically no warm up needed, and I actually release the trigger about a second before I finish the cut to speed the cooling down. It's residue is a charred remains type rather than the sticky goo of the harbor freight knife. Comes with a wire brush to clean it off.

The blade DOES get hot, and thus soft, however, easy to bend out of shape. This makes some of the loop attachments tricky to utilize even on the coolest setting. And...if you aren't going to be doing a LOT of foam, the price is probably too much of a hinderance.
Thank you so much for taking the time to give me all of that info, I really appreciate it......... :)
 

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Ok.

I've made my own with guitar string and transformers,I've bought the one from Habor Freight, I've bough one from Michaels, I've used a soldering iron with hot knife modifications, and for Christmas, I got the $250 industrial kit from hot wire foam factory.

The homemade ones worked really well, but all were based on a bow or table design which were cumbersome to make the cuts I need to make.

The harbor freight knife works pretty good for small projects.
Give it a minute to warm up, and don't force the cut, let the knife do the work, and it cuts through the 2" pink/blue foam with relative ease. If you're going to make a couple tombstones, this thing will do the job just fine.

It does tend to get a little residue on the blade that needs to get cleaned off. I kept a piece of cardboard on hand to kinda wipe it off between cuts and it worked great.

If you're new to working with foam, this is a nice entry level to get you a feel for it and get some projects going.

The michaels knife was similar to this:
I really cannot recommend this tool for any practical use. It did technically WORK, but it was a patient game of waiting for that little thing to work it's way through the cuts.

The soldering iron/woodburning kits work well for engraving, but that's about it.

The hot wire industrial kit...


OH MY LORD WHY HAVE I WASTED MY TIME WITH THOSE OTHER KNIVES! My project this year was DIFFERENT. I had a boatload of 8" foam to cut. This thing, plug it in, turn it to half power, pull the trigger and it FLIES through the foam. Practically no warm up needed, and I actually release the trigger about a second before I finish the cut to speed the cooling down. It's residue is a charred remains type rather than the sticky goo of the harbor freight knife. Comes with a wire brush to clean it off.

The blade DOES get hot, and thus soft, however, easy to bend out of shape. This makes some of the loop attachments tricky to utilize even on the coolest setting. And...if you aren't going to be doing a LOT of foam, the price is probably too much of a hinderance.
Nice info.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I apologize if I already asked but do you wear a mask while cutting foam with hot tools? If so can you give me any recommendations?
 
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