How to Make Your Own Hot Wire Cutter

Wire on a white background.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-25
What You'll Need
Plywood or hardwood
Power supply
Nickel chrome wire
2 small bolts with 4 nuts
Wing nuts
Saw or jig saw
Electric tape

A hot wire cutter is a tool used to cut Styrofoam. Making your own hot wire cutter is simple enough and you do not require intricate or complicated equipment to make one. A hot wire cutter works by heating the wire until it can vaporize foam.

Step 1 - Draw the Frame

First, you need to cut your frame accordingly. Cut the plywood or hardwood in any size you like. You can also cut the wood in any shape you want. However, for ease of use cut out a U-shape frame instead.

Draw a rectangle on your plywood or hardwood. Shape the letter U inside the rectangle. It is important that the U-shape is measured correctly to get a uniformly shaped frame.

Step 2 - Cut the Frames

Once you are done drawing the frame on your wood you can start cutting. With your jigsaw or hand saw, cut the frame shape on your plywood. After cutting the U-shape frame, smooth out the lines by using the sandpaper. Drill two holes at the end of each arm. This is where you will place your bolts that will hold the wire.

Step 3 - Connect the Wires

Cut the plug off your power supply and pull the wires apart. Each wire will hold one bolt. Strip off at least 1 inch (25mm) of insulation of the wire and wrap the copper wire around the bolt. Make sure that the copper wire is securely in place.

Step 4 - Fit the Bolts to the Frame

After you are done connecting the wire to the bolts, you can now fit the bolts on to your frame. Place the bolts in the hole you drilled on the frame. One bolt should be placed in each hole. Screw a nut down to clamp the supply wire between the nut and the frame. Check to see if the power supply wire is tightly in place. You may need to screw in another nut just to make sure that the power supply wire is tightly in place.

Step 5 - Fit the Cutting Wire

Cut the nickel-chrome wire depending on the width of the mouth of your frame. Leave a few inches of allowance for securing the wire in the bolt.

After cutting the chrome wire, fasten one end to one bolt. Wind the excess wire around the bolt and secure it using a wing nut. Before wrapping the other end of the wire to the other bolt, squeeze the arm of your frame slightly. This is to make sure that your cutting wire is tight after you have bolted the second end of the cutting wire. You can now wrap the other end of the cutting wire to the second bolt securing it with a wing nut.

Step 6 - Secure the Power Supply Wire

To make your hot wire cutter look nice and neat, flip your frame and tape the loose power supply wire along the frame.