Hot Knives and Foam Cutters Buying Guide

Hot Knives and Foam Cutters Buying Guide

When trying to choose hot knives and foam cutters, there is a lot you need to know and understand. First of all, what are these tools and when might you use them?

If you do a lot of crafting or creating with foam, you know it can be a frustrating, messy process to get your cuts exactly right. If you try to use a kitchen knife or even other types of blades, you will likely end up unhappy with the end result.

Or when cutting and trimming synthetic fabrics, you probably notice a lot of tearing and shredding. Getting a nice clean cut can be a real challenge!

Enter: the hot knife. A helpful tool for making clean cuts that don’t cause unraveling in synthetics like fabric, rope, or webbing, these tools are very useful. They use heat at a high intensity to seal the edges of the material as you cut. A hot knife is primarily designed for cutting EPS foam and Styrofoam in industrial and commercial environments.

A hot knife uses high heat to cut and heat-seal the edges of foam. It is designed for no-dust cutting of non-pressed expanded polystyrene (EPS) and extruded polystyrene (XPS) foam and other polystyrene-based materials for industrial and commercial uses.

How a hot knife cutter works:

This foam cutter has a power controller to adjust the blade temperature in seconds and needs little to no force to cut through foam easily. The hand-held model allows comfortable “free hand” cutting in a wider range of positions compared to the model with a stationary stand. Some hot knife cutters designed to cut and seal the ends of ropes, nets, and synthetic materials have computerized controls (CNC ) that can set the length of each piece as well as the quantity to cut.

Online, you may see tutorials for how to hack a knife and make it a hot knife. This cannot be recommended, because using an improper tool can easily result in an injury. If you are looking to use a hot knife or a foam cutter, you should seek out quality tools and research them properly before purchasing.

What is a Hot Wire CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Foam Cutter?

The hot wire CNC foam cutter is a computer- controlled machine for a fast, accurate and relatively inexpensive way of creating various products out of polystyrene-based materials. Hot wire CNC foam cutting machines have unique product software to create display letters, signboards, labels for indoor and outdoor ads, decor elements and other products made out of foam.

How hot wire CNC cutter works:

The hot wire melts through the foam along the designed cutting line, leaving a smooth edge. No need to worry about dust. Computer control makes this cutter effective in creating consistently- shaped and quality foam products.

To improve your overall foam cutting process, we suggest using one of our high quality hot knife products. They come in many different styles to improve your crafting experience, and most models are actually pretty friendly on your budget and easy enough to find! They offer an experience for crafting and cutting that can’t be beat.

If you have been considering using one of these tools but aren’t sure, we have some suggestions to help you decide, and we will take a look at our products so you can explore the best one for you!

Here are a few advantages that using hot knives and foam cutters can offer that will benefit your work:

  • They are safe and speed up your time spent on a project
  • They are multipurpose and can be useful for many types of projects
  • They cut cleanly through different materials, surfaces and thicknesses
  • They offer reduced mess
  • They are not noisy

Before you purchase, here are some things to keep in mind: there are many different types of products on offer that have different features, adjustability, size, capability, and of course varying price points.

It might be tempting to upgrade to the biggest, fanciest tool you can find! However, we suggest you consider what you will use most often based on the type of projects you work on rather than going for the most sophisticated offering and finding yourself avoiding the tool or not taking advantage of its many features. Generic options are probably good enough for a hobby crafter seeking their first hot cutting tool.

Make sure you consider the specifics of the tool’s heating features. How long does it take to heat up? Does it stay hot for long? These are important factors to keep in mind when buying. If you do a lot of large projects with a lot of cutting involved, you will want efficiency in your heating elements to assist with your workflow.

If you only plan to use a hot knife or foam cutter a few times or on smaller projects, consider a handheld. You might need to think about where you physically perform your work too in case access to a special plug is important. If you buy online from varying websites, make sure you consider the potential need for an adapter if your plugs don’t match.

If you are more experienced, the features on fancier models will have specific benefits like longer lasting heat, more adjustable settings, tip variety and more. Not necessary for beginners but nice to have for the experienced among us!

Know what type of material you’ll be working with before purchasing. Some products are better designed for certain types of fabric or foam, and the options vary from one tool model to the next. Overall, it’s important to be specific about exactly why you’re using this!

Furthermore, there may be additional safety precautions you should take like wearing gloves, glasses, or a respirator mask to protect your eyes and airways.

What are the specifics of cutting wires?

Cutting wires are most commonly made of a material called NiChrome wire. NiChrome wire is used for both hand-held and CNC polystyrene foam cutting machines. This material is a top choice because of its ability to heat fast, resist corrosion and oxidation at a high temp, and it is not likely to melt while remaining strong.

Titanium Alloy Wire is another option. These materials tend to be a little more expensive because they don’t break as often. In fact they can last 5-6 times longer than NiChrome wire because of the ability it has to resist stretching at very high temperatures. This Titanium Alloy Wire is what’s recommended for use in more professional machines that will offer improved cutting quality and faster speed.

Can we say which is the very best hot knife or foam cutter to purchase? It really depends on the project since each is designed for a specific use to meet a specific individual need. If you do a lot of variable work, it’s likely you will need more than one!

Ready to dive into the product offerings? Take a look:

For Styrofoam: Hot Wire Styrofoam Foam Cutting Machine

The Hot Wire Styrofoam cutting device consists of a thin, taut metal wire, usually nichrome, titanium or stainless steel that is electrically heated to the specified temperature.

JM-120H Hot Knife Cutter Cutting Machine

This is an automated cutting machine that incorporates computerized controls to set the piece length and number of pieces to cut. All cutting data is retained even when the machine is turned off.

It is able to cut a wide variety of materials such as:

  • Strip tapes
  • Ribbon tape
  • Bag band
  • Small webbing

The machine also includes these features:

  • High Accuracy
  • Easy operation
  • Automatically stops cutting when there is no more material.

Engel Hotknife 110 Volt

This little fabric cutter is ideal for cutting ropes, nets, and synthetic materials up to 17mm while simultaneously sealing the end at the same time. It heats up in less than 10 seconds! It's incredibly simple to use; it fits easily in your hands and heat emitted can be controlled by how strongly you hold the trigger.

New-Tech 8" Hotknife Cutter (110V)

The New-Tech 8" Hotknife Cutter (110V) is designed to separate and cut lengths of foam, rope, webbing, bands, or synthetic fabrics (i.e. acrylic, nylon, polyester, etc.) and cords that would unravel when cut with scissors. The hot cutting blade cuts quickly and precisely and provides a clean, sealed edge. The New-tec he is trigger-operated and heats up in 4–6 seconds. A great tool for cruisers, the Edge Hotknife has a max power draw of 200 watts and will easily run off of 110 volt.

JM-120LR Auto-belt Loop Cutter (cold & hot) Cutting Machine

This is an automated cutting machine that incorporates computerized controls to set the piece length and number of pieces to cut. All cutting data is retained even when the machine is turned off.

It is able to cut a wide variety of materials such as:

  • Belt Loop
  • Bag Band
  • Shrink Tube
  • String
  • Elastic Bands
  • Plastic Zippers

We also offer a wide range of accessories like drills, blades and replacement blades, bench mounts and more!

Don’t wait! Now that you know everything you need to know about buying hot knives and foam cutters, check out our website and purchase the right tool for you today!