This is just one of several personal manufacturing projects that I have actually started working on. It is currently work in progress.

Hot Wire Milling

A hot wire mill is basically a computer controlled X/Y/Z table with a hot wire on it. When the hot wire probe comes in contact with styrofoam, it incinerates the styrofoam. With proper software, I should be able to manufacture some nifty N-scale layouts for my son

The basic overview diagaram is shown below:

Basic Hot Wire Mill Overview

The mill consists of the following components:

Base Channel
The styrofoam to be milled is inserted into the base channel. The channel has to be large enough to contain the entire piece of styrofoam. The base channel does not move.
The bridge rides on top of the base channel and moves back and forth in the X directon.
The crane rides inside the bridge and moves back and forth in the Y direction.
Hot Wire Probe
The hot wire probe rides inside of the crane assembly and moves up and down in the Z direction. The tip of the hot wire probe removes portions of the styrofoam.

Construction Issues

The entire mill is contructed out of angle aluminum and galvenized steel closet door races.

The closet door races are nomally used for hanging overlapping closet doors. The simple diagram below should convey the idea of how they work:

Overlapping Closet Door Races

Probe Frame

{The usual abrupt ending.}

Copyright (c) 1995-1997 by Wayne Gramlich All rights reserved.