Activity: How to use the hot wire foam cutter!

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Hot Wire Foam Cutter
DaBL's Hot Wire Foam Cutter Station

The Hot Wire Foam Cutter is a custom piece of equipment created by the DaBL staff to very rapidly produce a three-dimensional object. As the name suggests, this machine uses a hot wire to manually cut a piece of foam stock as a subtractive manufacturing technique. Some applications for this process include but are not limited to making a very rough prototype for a project or a proof of concept.


  1. Hot wire foam cutter
  2. Foam
  3. Imagination

Cutting foam

Before you begin, ensure that nothing is in direct contact with the wire as it will get VERY HOT. Next, place your foot on the pedal located on the floor. Press and hold your foot on the pedal in order to heat up the wire. Note that the wire will not heat up unless you hold your foot on the pedal. It only takes a few seconds for the wire to get hot when on and subsequently cool when off. Once hot, drag your foam through the wire to cut and create your desired shape. Sophisticated cutting techniques can manipulate the foam to make curved surfaces and patterns. Be careful NOT to touch the wire with any part of your body while touching especially if you value that part of your body.