Making a hot wire foam cutter

When presented with the unique opportunity to slice 24 4-inch styrofoam balls in half, what would you do?

After looking at one of them, I decided that there wasn’t any way in the world that I was going to cut them on the bandsaw. There’s enough sawdust in the shop as it is, without adding styrofoam dust to it.

I’d remembered seeing a hot wire foam cutter on the MAKE: blog so I went looking for how to make my own hot wire cutter. The MAKE: blog pointed to flywoodkb’s hot wire foam cutter on instructables so I started with that as my basis.

Hot wire cutter Here’s what I came up with. Visit my hot wire foam cutter set on Flickr for more pictures.

Instead of the CD case project box, I just used a three wide plastic outlet box from HD to hold the dimmer and transformer. I cut the tabs off the sides since they were just in the way. Since I had some 1-by material around, I used that to make a small bow for holding the cutting wire. Twine around the top is used to tension the wire and can be adjusted as the wire heats and lengthens.

Since I was tasked with cutting foam balls in half, I made up a jig to help hold them in place and guide the wire at the right height. It’s nothing more than two pieces of 1-by two inches in height placed at a small angle on a board. This allowed me to hold the ball in place with one hand and while the other hand held the bow so the wire would ride the 1-by material and cut a nice clean line.

Monday June 26, 2006   ·   Permalink


Cool Use for Legos

Mark Simonson shows off how he used Legos to hold film for scanning while working on scanning old typeface films.

Very neat idea. He even made up little one way stops so he could keep the film in tension.

(via Kottke)

Thursday October 14, 2004   ·   Permalink


Removing IE from Windows

Crackbaby.com has posted detailed instructions on how to remove IE from Windows. Seems that the author did such a good job, even a MS engineer contacted him about how he did it though they’ll not actually help folks to remove IE.

Pretty funny stuff.

Thanks BoingBoing for the pointer.

Thursday July 29, 2004   ·   Permalink


Creating QIF Files for Quicken

I have the need to convert some data from a simple flat file format into a form that I can import into Quicken. Here are the documents that I’ve found on Intuit’s web site that will help in the construction of a valid QIF file for importation:

Thursday July 1, 2004   ·   Permalink


Where do you want to go today?

From the Risks Digest, volume 23, issue 20

Bug in Windows-operated toilet system
Wendy M. Grossman
Sat, 21 Feb 2004 11:01:12 +0000

I was at a press conference on Thursday with PalmSource at One Aldwych, which is one of those hyper-modern London hotels. One of its features is a airplane-style vacuum-operated toilet system. One of the Palm execs told me that while they were staying at the hotel this system failed, and any time they wanted to use the bathroom or take a shower they had to call the reception desk and get escorted to the corporate headquarters in the building next door to use the facilities there. For a couple of days.

It transpires that the entire plumbing system is run by a Windows-based computer system and whatever went wrong with it was so obscure that they had to get a technician from the company that supplied it on a plane down from Scotland to fix it and reboot.

The Blue Screen of Sewage?

[There’s a “Sucker” Borne Every Evacuation! PGN]

Thursday February 26, 2004   ·   Permalink


Casey Stengel on Managing

Steven Den Beste over at USS Clueless had a number of quotes from Casey Stengel in an entry.

One of them particularly stood out to me as good advice to managers (baseball and otherwise) everywhere:

The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided.

Friday October 17, 2003   ·   Permalink


Lego My Dream Job!

If your dream job would be building models out of Legos all day, then LegoLand California is looking for you…

According to the official requirements, the “role of the master builder exists to offer design, build, repair and service functions to all models and animated features within LegoLand California and selected external locations.”

Who are they kidding?

“You get to play with toys for a living,” summed up LegoLand spokeswoman Stacey Slingerland. “It’s the greatest job in the entire world.”

The search will make a number of stops where applicants get 2,000 Legos and 45 minutes to impress the judges.

I wonder if Eric Harshbarger will be interested?

Tuesday October 14, 2003   ·   Permalink


Leg Falsies?

Well this is product that I’d never thought would exist: calf implants for wearers of lederhosen or kilts.

“Apparently kilt wearers and lederhosen wearers both worry about how their legs will look in the traditional gear, and padding allows a whole new bunch of people to embrace the clothing of their ancestors without embarrassing remarks like ‘squirrel legs’ and ‘stick insect’.

(Thanks BoingBoing!)

Wednesday September 24, 2003   ·   Permalink


Online Optical Illusions

This site has some absolutely wonderful optical illusions to view. I’m particulary taken by the rotating snakes.

(Thanks BoingBoing)

Friday September 12, 2003   ·   Permalink


SpamAssassin developers branch out: HomeAssassin

HomeAssassin from the developers of SpamAssassin. Now if they can adapt it into a CubeAssassin product to keep those pesky users away from my desk…

(Thanks JMason)

Thursday August 21, 2003   ·   Permalink


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