A hot wire cnc foam cutter is an awesome tool to have for model aeroplanes. It enables you to cut out any aerofoil shape from a CAD design accurately. The machine consists of a Nichrome wire which is heated by passing current through it, and two towers which move relative to each other defining the shape of the cut. The 2D CAD design is turned into G-code which then drives the machine in four independent axes to create complex contours like tapered wings. The machine is easy to build, with most customers being able to assemble and start cutting on the same day.
There are a few different software programs available for producing the G-code for the machine. Jedicut is one of the best in that it can do CAD/CAM and also act as a machine controller. It does have a few bugs and errors but is still very capable, especially for hot wire cutting. It has a number of features which are useful like an ability to do sweep wings and also compensate for the kerf left by the cutting wire.
Foam Crafting Precision: Unleashing the Power of Hot Wire CNC Foam Cutters
The other software is WingGCodeGenerator which runs on Python and integrates with LinuxCNC. It is very simple to use and supports many airfoils and can also layer wings on the same piece of foam to save material.
The basic machine comes with a standard Nichrome cutting wire coil which will last for around 8-10 hours of cutting depending on the parameters set by the operator. It is possible to upgrade to a higher quality wire which will increase cutting speed and quality and will also extend the life of the wire.