Styrofoam Cutter Guide: Products, Manufacturers, Machines & Simple Designs

A  Styrofoam cutter is especially designed to cut and shape Styrofoam, an all-too-familiar material which is commonly used for commercial products and even decorative items for home improvement.

Styrofoam is used in food containers like cups and takeout boxes as well as in packaging – these can be seen every day.  Little is known though that Styrofoam has a host of other uses in architecture, construction and in certain forms of art and design. It is a highly versatile material. It can hold water, absorb shock, block out sound, and insulate an item from heat.  Light-weight, Styrofoam is used to protect products when manufacturers ship items from one location to another.  Because it is flexible and multi-featured, regular people can certainly find lots of uses for the Styrofoam for their home improvement projects and decorative items.

There’s just one little problem: cutting and shaping Styrofoam is difficult. Using a knife or paper cutter cannot achieve the ideal clean and straight edges.  What people get with unspecialized equipment are rough edges and unwanted Styrofoam crumbles.  This is where specialized Styrofoam cutter products come in.

Samples of Styrofoam Cutters

Companies which make Styrofoam cutters have made them in various sizes and types for different job scales. Obviously, commercial manufacturers use a larger heavy-duty Styrofoam cutter machine ideal for mass production. But for smaller jobs, there are Styrofoam cutter products best for home or office use.

The Proxxon Thermocut 12/E Hot Wire Cutter

The Proxxon Thermocut 12/E Hot Wire Cutter is one such product. It was designed for the free modeling of Styrofoam, which means people can shape Styrofoam into any form they like with the help of this tool.

Unlike a mechanical sharp-edge cutter, a hotwire cutter is an electric tool which cuts Styrofoam at varying temperatures. The temperature – ranging from 300-660 degrees ºF –can be easily adjusted at the turn of the knob and can be switch on and off with a trigger. According to the manufacturer, the heating time is one second.

To keep the wire firmly in place while cutting at any desired angle, the Proxxon Thermocut 12/E Hot Wire Cutter features a top pivotal fixture for stability.  The bottom wire fixture is extendable to as long as 7.9 inches or 200 millimeters. The cutting wire meanwhile is 11.4 inches x 20 gauge or 285 x 0.85 millimeters in size.  This package comes with five shapeable cutting wires.

On top of the above technical details, users of the Proxxon Thermocut 12/E Hot Wire Cutter must remember the voltage requirement which is 12v, 60w, 50/60Hz.

The Proxxon Hotwire Cutter Thermocut

Great as the free hand hot wire cutter though, there is something better for hobbyists, designers, architects – those who use the Styrofoam and the Styrofoam cutter more often.  The Hotwire Cutter Thermocut also by Proxxon is not only a cutting machine, it comes with a board or working table for laying the material.  It is a very simple design for a styrofoam cutter actually.  Although it is bulkier than the Proxxon Thermocut 12/E Hot Wire Cutter being 15-3/8" x 11" (390x280mm) in size, it offers more features and greater working stability thus making this type more suitable for frequent use.

With the Proxxon Hotwire Cutter Thermocut, work pieces are easier to push around because the surface is made of Alu Corbond.  Like many other types of cutting boards, the surface is printed with a grid and protractor to guide the user in measuring the areas to be cut. Based on the Proxxon official website, other features of this Styrofoam cutter include: solid aluminum over arm; lockable feed bar/fence for angle cuts; and a holder and wire spool, which may be adjusted to allow miter cutting.  The wires are 0.008" x 98 Ft in size.

This equipment also cuts with the help of heat so it comes with a LED indicator to remind the user that the devise is turned on.  The hotwire if accidentally touched can lead to cuts and burns.  Just like its hand held counterpart, it can easily be switched on and off and the temperature can be adjusted from 210 - 390 ºF.  The voltage requirement for this equipment is 110-120V AC, 60 Hz.

FloraCraft Styrofoam Accessories Styro Cutter Tool

Those who do not want such bulky equipment may prefer a Styrofoam cutter, which may have fewer features but is easier to carry around.  Styrofoam cutter manufacturers do make Styrofoam cutter in different styles to provide the market more options.

The Flora Craft Styrofoam Accessories Styro Cutter Tool is great for those rare occasions that window or wall displays for events.   Its design makes it easy to hold and control, and thus be used to form custom shaped. Unlike the more heavy-duty hotwire cutters, this one is cordless and is convenient to bring just about anywhere.

The size of this equipment is its inherent advantage; it is also cheaper (if not the cheapest among all) than the previously mentioned Styrofoam cutter products, however it does present several disadvantages.  First, this is not suitable for those who constantly make item models out of Styrofoam (hobbyists, artists, architect and so on).  Second, there have been some complaints online regarding its quality. Several disappointed users say this hotwire cutter stopped working after several uses. It just wouldn’t heat up anymore.  While the design of the equipment seems to make it a good purchase, the maker isn’t the most reliable in terms of quality.

Buying Styrofoam Cutters

Regardless of the job scale, it shouldn’t be too hard to find a Styrofoam cutter online. Styrofoam cutter manufacturers include Proxxon, Demand Products, Woodland Scenics, Floracraft and others.  Their products can be purchased either straight from the website or in other accredited online stores. The important thing is to always check the reliability of the manufacturer.

As an additional tip – and this is especially true for beginners – it is also wise to check out videos showing how the equipment is operated.  This is will help users identify which Styrofoam cutter machine is actually easy to use.

With the help of the Styrofoam cutter, just about anyone can say goodbye to messy crumbles during the reshaping and modeling of this very useful material.

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