Hot Wire Cutting

What is the Hot Wire Foam Cutter?

A Hot Wire Foam Cutter is a tool used to cut polystyrene foam and similar materials. The device consists of a thin, taut metal wire, which is heated to approximately 200°C. As the wire is passed through the material to be cut, the radiant heat from the wire vaporises the material just in advance of contact. The depth of the cut is limited only by the wire length.

Why use the Hot Wire Foam Cutter?

FabLab’s Styrocut hot wire foam cutter can create clean cuts along styrofoam and polystyrene foam incredibly quickly and without the mess of using a blade. It is ideal for architectural sketch models or prototyping.


  • A copy of the detailed Standard Operating Procedure is secured to the bench-top next to each machine. This contains important safety information as well as diagrammatic instructions.
  • This machine can be used by anyone who has completed the Level 01 – Safety Induction (Online). If you are not confident using the machine, please ask a staff member to demonstrate its usage.
  • Please clean your offcuts into the provided bins.


The Hot Wire Foam Cutter is free to use by all students and staff who have completed their Level 01 Safety Induction (Online).

To use the Hot Wire Foam Cutter you must complete the following:


Do I have to book to use the Hot Wire Foam Cutter?

No, the hot wire foam cutters are located in the Forbo Model Making Space and free to use without booking by all students who have completed their Level 01 Safety Induction (Online).

What angle should the wire be adjusted to?

The wire should generally be adjusted to be perpendicular (90°) to the table surface. The angle can be set by using the 90° buffer on the top arm of the wire cutter. An alternative angle can be set by holding a protractor against the wire.

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