Cutting is a process that manufacturers engage in daily. Different kinds of materials need to be cut into various shapes and sizes to be used to make finished products. Since materials usually vary in their nature and properties, different methods of cutting need to be used. For polystyrene foam and other similar materials, the best method to use is foam cutting. Here are facts regarding foam cutting wires.
This method makes use of a piece of equipment called a hot-wire foam cutter. This device is composed of a thin taut metal wire. The wire can be made of any metal, but the most commonly used metals are stainless steel and nichrome. Besides using a thin, taut wire, it is possible to use a thicker wire that is preformed into a given shape.
For the device to be able to cut through foam, it needs to be heated. Heating is done through electrical resistance and the wire usually attains temperatures of more than 200 degrees Celsius. The wire in the device is placed on the material to cut it. When this is done, the material is vaporized by the heat just before the wire makes contact with it.
Preformed wires can be made into any shape that one needs using various methods and tools. If manual methods are used, pliers may be used to shape the wires into any shape required. If the wires used need to be maintained straight, then it has to be tensioned and held tight by a frame. The wires that are used in this process should be able to maintain most of their properties at cutting temperatures.
As stated earlier, there are several kinds of materials that can be cut using this method. Some good examples include expanded polystyrene, extruded polystyrene, polymethacrylimide, flexible expanded polypropylene, and polyethylene foams. Various custom materials can also be cut using this method. These materials are used in a wide range of applications, which makes foam cutting a very important process in a wide range of industries.
Several different cutters make use of these wires. They include simple manual tables, handheld cutters, template-guided manual tables, push through slicer, and computer numerically controlled cutters. Handheld cutters are the simplest forms of cutters, which are operated by hand. The operator guides the device as it cuts through the material.
In simple manual table cutters, the wires used may be vertical or horizontal in their placement. Usually, there is a horizontal table that is used to secure the workpiece or to serve as a guide. Tables that contain vertical wire are most used by hobbyists to cut intricate shapes. On the other hand, tables that contain horizontal tables find a lot of use in construction and packaging industries.
The incorporation of CNC capabilities in foam cutting has made it possible to cut very intricate shapes easily. It is possible to achieve a high level of accuracy by using CNC systems. However, the accuracy can be affected by factors such as backlash of drive systems and stiffness of races that support end effector. The precision of the stepper motors used in the CNC machine also affects accuracy.