View Full Version : NEW MEMBER: First post - want to build a cnc hot wire foam cutter

21-07-2010, 07:55 PM
My name is keith and I fly radio controlled aircraft some of my exploits on http://www.rckeith.co.uk

I want to build a cnc foam cutter and I've seen some good stuff on the net but most of it is USA based.

It seems to me the biggest challenge is the motors and electronics. I earn my living from computers so that side of it is easy for me and I started as a motor mechanic many years ago so and can tackle most building projects. I've seen this board and stepper motor on ebay http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/4-Axis-TB6560-Driver-NEMA23-Stepper-Motor-1-3Nm-CNC-Kit-/270538511279?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_ToysGames_RadioControlled_JN&hash=item3efd5a13af#ht_6942wt_911 and wonder if any one has used these before and are they any good.

Thanks for any advice


21-07-2010, 10:07 PM
Welcome Keith

The TB6560 boards off ebay are OK as long as you understand their limitations... dont believe the vendors specs...

see the following threads for more info:



John S
21-07-2010, 10:22 PM
I'd sooner go for 3 of these


one of these.


And three of these


The 25 ones.

Total 195, all UK made or supplied and some form of guarantee.
Slightly more and only three axis but far better gear.


22-07-2010, 12:19 AM
John i don't Keith needs to go that far with what he wants really. I bought all the parts to build a foam cutter before starting myself. Keith as i was going to base my original build on the same machine for exactly what you are doing The cheap driver should be fine as i have two here myself and used them on a much bigger machine. You can get the draw slides as a multi pack buy from Screw Fix, i would use ACME 12 X 3 instead of the threaded rod they suggest as it will give you the higher speeds. At the end of the day you are cutting foam not a hard dense material so no need for all the extra expense. If i may even suggest you look at belts as well as you could even loose some of the motors by linking each side, use one motor for each plain. By the time you get that Obeche over you foam should look a treat.

22-07-2010, 12:29 AM
cutting down on the motors will only be good for straight sections not tapered..............Sorry was not thinking that one through..Doh!

22-07-2010, 10:02 AM
Thanks guys for all your advice.

I will be doing tapered wings so I really need 4 -axis.


10-12-2010, 09:54 AM
just come across this site...I have built a 4 axis machine for foam cutting using the stepper driver board you mention... it seems to work reasonably well.. I've also written some code for a hot wire controller based on Arduino 1280 mega and some simple wire heater electronics (optoisolator , power FET and some resistors on veroboard). I have versions that work with Jedicut a (and hence probably GMFC) and a different one that works with TJZOIDE. Currently looking to use profili 2 , devfus foam (from Stefano Durante) as design tools/G code creators and Mach3 as the table drive programme. Again it all seems to work quite well. Glad to share the detail and give what help I can if you're interested. I live in South Wales (just).

regards JH

10-12-2010, 11:52 AM

Thanks for you post. There's no subsitute for experience as they say. My CNC foam cutter is on hold, but I hope to get back on it in the new year. VC10 project is all consumming at the moment http://www.rckeith.co.uk/vc10 Do you have any pictures it would be nice to see some. Are you a RC flyer?


10-12-2010, 12:27 PM
well when you do get back to the CNC black magic... if you need any advice..your welcome...for what its worth I'll take some pictures tonight ..its based on stuff from EBay mainly axis-cnc ..and yes I'm an RC addict...wondered if you'd seen Dr Blacks VC10...still waiting for the Tornado from GAD myself

regards JH

10-12-2010, 01:08 PM
Yes I have seen Mike Black's VC10, he's a good friend. Paid him a visit in July while on holiday in Norfolk mainly to see his VC10. Got the inspiration after seeing Mike's CNC machines to build my own. So its Mike's fault. Look forward to your pics. My plan is build Lancaster wings and Fuselage's with the cutter using XPS foam. I have a Priory model lanc, its in bits after a speed controller failure. I have new parts from Priory models to rebuild it with brushless motors but I'd like to build my own version as well.

Regards keith

11-12-2010, 01:43 PM
can you send me your email address and I'll send you the foam cutter pictures directly?

regards JH

11-12-2010, 11:23 PM

I sent you a PM with my email