What can Foamcube do ?

5 axes of freedom

Foamcube is a 4 axes or 5 axes (styro) Foam cutter that can cut complex 3-dimensional shapes out of foam in a few simple steps. It is robust enough to run large commercial productions, while the controls are very intuitive and miles ahead of the alternatives on the market that cost 5 to 10 times as much. It features two independent towers, each with an independent X and Y or U and V axis, combined with a rotation platform or A axis, hence the name X-Y-U-V-A machine.

Many different kinds of materials

Foamcube has an electronically controlled wire and has an extensive speedcontrol and buffering system. Because of this the cube can handle a wide range of foams and other materials that can be cut in a range from 100 to 300 degrees celcius with a razorsharp kerf as narrow as 0,25 mm.  See this post for a list of materials you can cut.

Cut tapered or offset products

Unlike other foamcutters Foamcube has true independent 4 (or 5) axes control. This means the hotwire can be angled automatically in any direction. Software automatically calculates tapers and offsets from simple 2 dimensional drawings – no need to make complicated 3D models or work with exotic design software. The workpiece can rotate on a computer controlled platform during cutting, making for some very intricate shapes.

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Make thousands of products for dozens of industries

Because Foamcube is so precise and can cut such complex shapes it is suited for many different products. Below are just a few examples of how people use Foamcube :

  • Furniture making : Large font-like shapes are cut by foamcube in high density foam and then covered with a wooden board to distribute pressure evenly. The structures get coated and are placed in public auditoriums as seating blocks
  • garden ornament casting molds : Ornaments are cut as positive shapes out of large foam blocks. Once the cut shape is pushed out of the block it leaves a negative cavity that can be filled with concrete or other materials.
  • architectural models :
  • large letters , logos and digits :
  • stage decor pieces for concerts and plays :
  • tapered colums and molds for plasterwork :
  • lost mould casting using fire or acetone :
  • be sure to visit our examples in the menu above to see some real-life projects !

In commercial & educational settings

Foamcubes are being shipped worldwide and you can find them on every continent. They are used in commercial businesses for every-day productions, and they are used by many universities around the globe as part of educational or research projects.

Built-in universal GCODE interpreter

Internally Foamcube runs on GCODE (the language of computer controlled machines like lasercutters, 3D printers, plotters, CNC routers and FOAMCUBE). Because Foamcube’s gcode-controller was programmed and built from the ground up it is perfectly tuned for 5-axis hotwire control, but it can just as easily switch to hundreds of thousands of “2-dimensional” gcode files that you may find all over the internet. Naturally Foamcube also works on virtually all gcode created with the dozens of freely available or commercial toolpath generators.

 

 

Foam hotel – architectural model

Foamcube comes in many different sizes, but every cube is capable of making models well beyond its boundary size. As an example we used a 1 cubic meter cube to create a 12 cubic meter mockup of a chinese hotel. The hotel was designed and cut by Space and Matter (Amsterdam), read more here : http://fablab013.nl/inspiratie/cnc-foam-cube-cutter-da-lang-palace-china/

The 3D model of the hotel was cut into several smaller pieces and fed into Foamcube. The entire process took about a week to put together, but the actual cutting of all the parts was done in a timespan of approx. 14 hours.

thin foam is cut by standing a sheet straight up
thin foam is cut by standing a sheet straight up
initial body is made out of rough cut blocks
initial body is made out of rough cut blocks
more detail is added
more detail is added
the small details like balcony's windows and columns are no problem for Foamcube
the small details like balcony’s windows and columns are no problem for Foamcube
final pieces were put together using simple white wood-glue and toothpicks
final pieces were put together using simple white wood-glue and toothpicks

 

Below is an image of the model as it was shipped to China. To read more about this project please go to :

http://www.spaceandmatter.nl/dalangfever/

cnc hotwire foam cutting tips

In order to get the most out of your foam cutting projects we have collected some tips and experiences straight out of the lab :

  • hotwire thickness : thicker wires can carry more current and can get hotter thus travel faster , but with more heat and speed comes more inaccuracy. Keep your wires thin and speeds low for more accurate models.
  • speeds : Denser foams need more heat or lower speeds. Thicker blocks also need a speed adjustment.
  • complex models : To create complex shapes it may be neccesary to rotate your foam blocks in incremental degrees (usually 45 or 90 degrees). Keep your blocks aligned securely and perpendicular to the hotwire for best results.
  • dirt : To cut costs many people use old insulation blocks. No problem, just be careful with any dirt on the blocks that may accumulate on your hotwire. Dirt will instantly bake on and ruin a perfect cut.
  • When you have a choice, always start cutting at the top and work your way down to the bottom of the piece.

Learn about our CNC Foamcube

We’re happy you came here to learn more about our CNC cube !

Foamcube came to life in 2013 . Since then it developed into a 5-axis computer controlled foam cutter that will allow you to create very complex foam shapes within minutes. It can be used to cut huge letters, wings, tables, chairs, columns, ornaments, stage props, art and more.

The CNC foam cube was invented and developed in-house at Fablab013 (Tilburg – the Netherlands) by Pete Scheepens. On March 25th 2015, the Foamcube project successfully got funded through a kickstarter campaign that went well beyond it’s initial goal. This allowed the Foamcube team to jump-start production and engineering and it has helped to make Foamcube available to everyone worldwide. You can now find Foam cubes on every continent at Universities, tech-shops, museums, High Schools, workshops and in your neighbors garage.

Foamcube is open source where possible and you can build the project from scratch yourself if you want to using our online assembly guide. You can also order pre-built kits directly from this website.If you don’t want to tinker with it, you can also order a custom made pre-built and pre-tested machines per your specifications here.

Our foamcutter is still actively being maintained and developed ! Exciting new features are being added all the time. Check back regularly.

Foamcube V 4.0 – Februari 2017

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Foamcube V4.2 May 2017