Build a Zen Toolworks Foam Cutter Kit Frame for Under $5

The Zen Toolworks hot foam cutter kit is itself well-built, however, building the frame for it is left up to you.  If you prefer though, you can just use my design.  It should be very cheap, at whatever you can get a 2 x 4 for and some nails or wood screws.  You’ll also need some drill bits and a saw.  The following video shows everything being set up:

3 of these 2×4 pieces are around 13 inches in length, the other is 3 1/2 inches.  The shorter piece acts as a spacer so that the arms can be angled into the space between the legs.

To begin with, the shorter piece is attached on the same side that you will put your arm bases.  Nails could also be used, but I chose to use wood screws since they were available.  I predrilled the two connecting holes, and set them in an angular line so that I could do the opposite on both the legs, guaranteeing that the screws wouldn’t intersect each other.  The screws need to be flush either by countersinking the hole with a larger bit than the head or possibly by overtightening.

Zen Toolworks foam wire cutter base being assembledOnce this is done, attach the legs on either side in a similar manner, making sure everything stays perfectly perpendicular.  Drill a couple of holes for the included M5 screws that your pivots will attach to, then counterbore the opposite side with a bit large enough to get the needed nuts into it.  I didn’t attach the other side’s nuts, and things seem to hold decently, but for a really secure wire, you can attach the other side in a similar manner.  Screw everything in, and attach the wire per these ZTW instructions, and your frame is done!

Zen Toolworks foam wire cutter assembledAs for powering the unit, Zen includes a variable voltage controller like the one included with their spindle assembly.  This can vary your power if you want to use the same supply as your ZTW spindle.  If you’d rather have a totally independent unit, or you don’t have a CNC router (supprisingly, most people don’t), you can also use a 12 VDC power supply (I used this one).  I just hooked mine directly up to the wire for now, but you should also be able to use the voltage controller with it.  This might be a good time to mention that I made an “enclosure” for my controller a while ago that can be easily made on your router if you don’t just want it dangling in space.

So happy cutting!  If you’ve never tried this kind of device before, I think you’ll be quite impressed.  It seems the wire gets quite hot, so, obviously, be sure to turn it off when you’re not around!  Also, I haven’t yet tried it but as easily as it can cut foam, it can’t feel good on your fingers.  Use caution, and possibly some gloves!  For my review of this unit, check out this post.


  1. Zen Toolworks Hot Foam Wire Cutter Kit | JCOPRO.NET - pingback on April 17, 2012 at 8:34 pm
  2. Top Really Cheap Projects to Make from - pingback on January 16, 2013 at 6:21 am

Trackbacks and Pingbacks: