fredag den 11. december 2015

Poor man's styrofoam cutter

Hi everybody. Still working on my DJI s900 and the next post will be posted soon hopefully, but for the time being I have another little project to share.

Two months ago I bouhgt a small Blade Nano QX. An eighteen grams leight and 14cm long & wide Quadcopter. Partly for praticing in my flat and partly for another small project next year, where I will  give a two hours evening lecture about Multicopters in german "Volkshochschule".
(Volkshochschule is some kind of public adult education center in Germany.)
But back to the Nano QX. It is a nice little quad an I wanted to try to use it for some special surprise on a company party. and this surprise is where I needed a styrofoam cutter for. You will see at the end of the post what it is for. :)

So let's start with the poor man's hot wire cutter.
You will need the following:
  • Some thin copper wire
  • Two bigger screws or nails
  • Something to hold the screws/nails (I used my small vise)
  • Your solder iron

Additionally I used some more wire and two 1.5 liter water bottles for tensioning the hot copper wire which you will see on the pictures.

So how is the setup for the "hot-wire-styrofoam-cutter":
  • clamp the two screws into the vise
  • wrap the copper wire around the first screw
  • wrap it two to three times around the tip of your solder iron
  • wrap the open end around the second screw
What you will get from this is a setup that looks hopefully something like this:

 As you can see on the picture I have wrapped some more wire around the neck of the 1.5 liter bottles and used these bottles as weights to tension the hot copper wire.
Here is another overview of this simple setup:

And a detailed view of the tip of my cheap solder iron:

Only thing you need to do now is heat up your iron as much as you can (I set mine to 450 degree Celcius). Your copper wire will, of course, get hot. And it will have several temperature regions with which you will need to experiment at cutting your styrofoam. 

Cutting will then look something like this:

The cutted styrofoam has some really decent edges and is not frayed in any way (falling appart into many small bubbles of styrofoam; like when you try to cut with a knife). Sometimes there a small and thin plastic fibres sticking on the cutted foam edges, but you can just pull them of.

So what can you do now with this setup?
I glued some printed paper on a 10mm styrofoam board from the local hardware store, cut it with my poor man's styrofoam cutter and the result looks like this:

Quite some nice and clean edgeds!
Stick this onto a Nano QX (or the quadcopter of your choice ;) ) and start to fly:


I think this looks really nice in flight and has a really nice effect when there is a small Smart vehicle flying around your flat ;)

OK, the readers with a sharp eye will write now that this is no paper/styrofoam-sandwich on this QX. And yes this is just the two printed paper pages glued together in that video, but only paper was to soft and sluggish during flight and lead to crashing the Nano QX over and over again.
I will post the final video of the flight with the paper/styrofoam snadwich here when it is finished. But until then I wish you mich fun with cutting styrofoam. :)

All the best!