Styrofoam cutters are simple tools for handling materials that are easy to work with. You don’t need complicated training or large sums of money to make your styrofoam or other fusible plastics projects a reality.
When it comes to styrofoam cutters, a lot depends on the purpose for which you need the tools. The abundance of different tools for processing the same material speaks to the versatility of this tool.
The Best Cutter For Styrofoam
The working surface is made of a durable, non-stick aluminum co-cured compound that’s imprinted with an easy-to-read grid and protractor. The solid aluminum over-arm has a 13¾” throat and is 6″ high. Adjustable temperature, up to 390 degrees, allows you to compensate for different types and thicknesses of foam and to precisely control your cutting speed.
How To Work Hercules Hot Wire Foam Cutter Table?
Buyer’s guide for the styrofoam cutter
This review and guide provide information on some best styrofoam cutters for beginners you can find.
There are quite a few manufacturers of styrofoam cutters for beginners on the market, and the prices vary greatly. From a pure price point of view, the type of styrofoam cutter for beginners can be priced from $24 to $139.
The Best Styrofoam Cutter For The Money
All our reviews are based exclusively on expert judgments or practical experience with most of the styrofoam cutter for beginners we have tested. We strive to make our guide as independent and as detailed as possible.
Styrofoam Cutters In Comparison
RoMech Foam Cutter
Sealed trimming edge
3 tools in 1. Heat up quickly, the tube will be reached 150℃ within 10 seconds. It cuts the styrofoam smooth and fast, seals the edges clean, and leaves no debris. You can cut the form board or foam block from any angle and craft it into your desired shape. This foam cutting tool is made of high-quality metal. Having longer service life. It is an indispensable tool for foam cutting and engraving.
WINONS Hot Knife Foam Cutter
Easy replacement of nozzles
It comes with a UL-approved power supply and a secure power switch for safety purposes as the tips heat up quite fast. Easily replaceable nozzles overheat protection, equipped with a stand to place the heated needle for safety and convenience.
Guritta Electric Hot Foam Cutter Kit
High heating temperature
4w electric hot foam cutter kit. Temperature tailored specially for polystyrene foam cutting, carving, and write words on the foam. The cutter heats up quickly with preheat time in 3s, and it can reach as high as 300-400oC. It cuts the Styrofoam smooth and fast, seals the edges clean, and leaves no debris. Multipurpose hot wire foam cutting tool with convenient quick-change tips 2 changeable tips: hot wire tip, and cutting tip.
What Is A Styrofoam Cutter?
A styrofoam cutter, also known as a thermal saw, is an electronic device that can cut low melting point materials such as styrofoam.
What Are The Types Of Styrofoam Cutters?
Styrofoam cutters are used in many areas and therefore sometimes have completely different designs. The type of styrofoam cutter that is right for you depends entirely on the type of work you want to do with it.
There are several styrofoam cutters:
- Pocket device
A very easy-to-use device. Small, the pocket-sized device is easy to carry around. Not suitable for precision work.
- Tabletop unit
Easy enough to handle, the tabletop unit is comfortable to place on the surface. Not suitable for big jobs.
- Cutter for insulation boards
Great for precision work in the construction industry. Has rather bulky handling. Not all insulation board cutters are suitable for making circular cuts.
What should you look for when buying the styrofoam cutter?
Styrofoam cutter refers to many tools that come in different sizes and designs depending on the application. You can decide which device will be the most suitable for your project, using the following criteria.
When buying should pay attention to the following:
Some people may find this point superfluous, while others need it. There is no doubt that many tool manufacturers develop and produce thermal saws. Which brand you end up choosing depends on your personal preferences.
Thermal saws are electrical devices and must be safe, otherwise, you may be left with damage in the event of an accident.
Thermosaws are electrical devices and must be safe or you could be left with damage in the event of an accident.
Large devices are used for large components, but for small jobs, they are cumbersome and, at worst, not even suitable for your own project. Foam cutting devices usually come in different sizes, adapted to the appropriate application.
Verify which device best suits your needs by comparing the length and depth of the cut to the parts you are working on.
- Cutting depth
Thicker pieces of material can pose problems for small thermal saws. To ensure a clean-cut, make sure that the depth of the cut of the cutter is at least as deep as the thickness of the material being cut.
- Length of cut
If large pieces need to be cut straight through to the desired shape, long cutting lengths are necessary. Lines can be cut in the material along the cutting wire with equal precision.
If you need to cut large pieces of material in straight lines for your job, make sure that the cut length of the unit is long enough for your project.
Thermal saws require a lot of currents (amps) for their low-voltage (volts) heating wire. If the unit is going to run with regular household electricity, the transformer must first reduce the voltage.
Be sure to purchase a model with a short-circuit-proof transformer to avoid possible accidents. Especially when more watts of power is to be achieved, safety should not be neglected.
Cutting foam with your own hands can end up with a huge amount of crumbled granules on the floor and an edge with a chaotic outline. Or an even, precise cut with a minimum of naughty and sticky to everything in a row ball. It all depends on the chosen tool and the method of cutting the material.
We will consider traditional and not very ways to cut foam plastic at home with maximum accuracy and minimal waste.
Properties of Styrofoam
Small foam granules of foam plastic are 98% composed of air. This explains the lightness of the material. The popularity of expanded polystyrene is due to its many positive properties:
- has a low thermal conductivity;
- good sound insulator;
- resistant to mold and mildew;
- does not ignite;
In detail, the characteristics of foam plastic we have considered in this article. So let’s move on to how to cut foam plastic and what tool to choose for this purpose.
Preparation of materials and tools
When preparing a tool for cutting foam sheets, it is necessary to take into account their thickness and density. The result of the work depends on this. It is important that the length of the cutting blade was greater than the thickness of the thermal insulator. Accordingly, for thin sheets, you can take a sharp knife, but for thick sheets, you will need a tool more serious.
The cutter will be blunted by the foam quickly. Therefore, during the work, it is necessary to check its sharpness and sharpen it in time.
It is necessary to pay attention not only to the quality of the knife but also to the material itself. When buying foam, it is important to choose reliable sellers. Look at the appearance of the insulator. For example, a sheet that has burned out in the sun will quickly deteriorate. When it is cut, it will crumble with terrible force and will not be useful. To avoid this and other such surprises, it is better to buy foam plastic from manufacturers. The volume of production is demand-oriented, so the material does not lie around for years in a warehouse in the open sun. Yes, and the correct ways to store insulation manufacturer is known.
Mechanical methods of cutting foam plastic
In this group, we have included all kinds of cutting foam sheets that do not require the use of thermal tools. The work process of this group of tools has a common algorithm:
- Lay the plate on a flat, stable surface. It is important not to let the sheet “walk” when cutting.
- Make a marking with a marker on a ruler.
- Lightly heat the blade of the knife and cut along the marked line.
- Thick sheets can be cut from both sides. The main thing is that the marked lines on opposite sides are exactly opposite each other. In the end, the cut piece of Styrofoam should be broken off with a sharp movement.
Cutting with a knife
One of the most accessible tools for cutting foam plastic is a knife. You can use different ones, but there are general requirements for the tool – the blade must be sharp and longer than the thickness of the foam plastic.
Segmental knife. It is convenient to use – quiet, cheap and fast. But a stationery knife is good for cutting soft thin sheets (up to 40 mm). It is very difficult to maintain an even cutting line on thick foam plastic.
An ordinary knife. Suitable for cutting thicker and harder sheets of insulation material. You can heat the sharp blade of the tool, and then the knife will go like butter.
If you have many sheets to cut, it is better to sharpen the knife from time to time.
Cutting with a hand saw
For cutting sheets of EPS you can use a hacksaw of any type. The work algorithm is similar to that described above. But the teeth of the hand saw should be as shallow as possible, as it will not work to cut the foam, so that it does not crumble, a large tooth.
The blade of the hacksaw should work smoothly, without jerks, so that the number of “sticky” crumbs was minimal.
Cutting with a string
To cut foam plastic as evenly as possible, it is better to use a string. The process requires patience, time, participation of two people. But the result is worth the effort.
To the ends of a thin wire (with a diameter of up to 0.5 mm) it is necessary to attach handles. Cutting a sheet of thermal insulator with such a tool reminds of working with a hand saw “Druzhba”. Two people stand on different sides of the material and accurately “saw” it along the planned line.
A perfectly even result is achieved by heating the string in the process of cutting. It slowly melts the styrofoam, ensuring neat edges on the cuts.
Cutting Styrofoam with an angle grinder
This method does not give a perfectly flat edge to the insulator and leaves a lot of debris. But sometimes a grinder is the only possible solution. Besides, it cuts quickly and accurately enough.
You can try to make the cut more or less accurately with a grinder as well. To do this, you need to take the thinnest disc with a fine tooth. The result depends largely on the experience of the master, but often the edge still turns out torn.
Thermal methods of cutting foam
For beautifully shaped cutouts, you need a thermal tool. Only a heated blade can achieve filigree precision of the pattern. At least two ways to cut Styrofoam with a hot tool are at the disposal of masters.
But the algorithm of actions is the same:
- make a marking on a sheet of foam plastic;
- turn on the tool and wait until the cutting blade heats up;
- gently guide the cutter along the planned path.
It is easier to use a machine, but its purchase is not always justified. In the course can be used homemade thermal cutters or soldering iron.
Circular cutting machine
Machine for cutting foam is a blade (nichrome thread), with a strong tension fixed between two arcs. A mini-transformer supplies voltage to the arcs, which heats up the torch. The heated thread melts and cuts the desired lines and shapes. At the same time on the part of the master, no effort is required to press – this protects against possible errors.
Such machines are mainly used by professional companies. In order to cut foam figures at home, you can inexpensively make a machine with your own hands. But about this – a little later.
Cutting foam plastic with a soldering iron
This method is also suitable for “jewelry” cuts of foam plastic. You need to take a soldering iron 45-60 W with a thick string, which saw along the rod. The depth of the cut should be deep enough to insert the blade of the segment knife. Make a screw hole in the string to secure the cutting blade.
Warmed up from the soldering iron, the knife can cut along a straight trajectory or repeat the contour of a given pattern. But it is better to “rehearse” on some unnecessary piece of Styrofoam.
The best way is to use a special cutter for Styrofoam.
Styrofoam Cutter Price:
Styrofoam Cutter Under $50
- WINONS Hot Knife Foam Cutter
- Guritta Electric Hot Foam Cutter Kit
Styrofoam Cutter Under $100
- RoMech Foam Cutter
Styrofoam Cutter Under $200
- Hercules Hot Wire Foam Cutter Table
Styrofoam cutters are often used for home use, especially when making models. Commercially, architects can’t avoid using styrofoam cutters when it comes to making styrofoam demonstration models, and even in the film industry, many props are still made from styrofoam. Thermal saws can also be useful in the construction industry.
Most new buildings today have insulation, including styrofoam. The styrofoam cutters, which were designed for use on construction sites, are adapted to make standard cuts accurately and quickly.
If you want to use styrofoam or similar materials as insulation for your home, a large insulation board cutter is recommended because it is designed to cut precise shapes quickly.
FAQs- Styrofoam Cutter
You don’t need aviation scissors to cut sheet metal in a straight line. Tin snips are better for this task – look for a pair similar to scissors. Before you start cutting, use a permanent marker and a ruler or yardstick to clearly mark the cutting area.
The power of the transformer usually depends on the thickness and length of the heating wire, as well as the expected temperature. If you want to build a cutter for polystyrene yourself, a power supply with a 12 V output and 3 amps is enough. If you decide to buy a commercially available unit, the power supply is of course already included in the product.
Styrene and carbon monoxide are two toxic substances that can be produced when Styrofoam is burned. However, normally no vapors should be produced when cutting normal Styrofoam.
It is usually sufficient to reach the melting point of the material for effective processing. If vapors do occur, it is advisable to turn down the output of the unit slightly.
Basically, anything that gives off heat can shape Styrofoam. Mechanical processing with sawing tools is also possible, but it does not give as good results because the material is often porous and brittle.
- Soldering iron.
An electrical device used for processing metals with low melting points.
- Soldering gun.
A soldering gun in the shape of a pistol. Suitable for rough work only.
- Cutter for styrofoam with your own hands
However, this is not recommended for beginners in the field of electrical engineering.
Keep in mind that all these alternatives are only partially suitable. Therefore, if you do not have any special requirements, but just want to cut polystyrene foam several times and with the same quality, it is also worth buying a suitable cutting device.