Working Through Getting the Electrics Laid Out

Hot Wire Foam Cutter Electrical Components Box

I’ve been working on sourcing the electrical parts of the Hot Wire Foam Cutter project and getting them all laid out in the electrical compartment. The goal is to keep the box as small as possible, just large enough to contain all the components.

Hot Wire Foam Cutter Top View

There are a lot of parts to get into the box. There’s the main variable autotransformer, main transformer, voltmeter power supply, power switch, voltage selector switch, output power posts, auxiliary power output posts, power busses, fuse holder, etc. I’m pretty sure it will all fit into the box as it is, my main concern is how to design and attach the hot wire arm.

I’ve included a small image of the electrical box in this post to give an idea of how the components are getting crowded. It’ll work out, designing in 3D allows me to be more efficient and get all the build dimensions exact. It’s gong to be really awesome to have this thing operational.

Modeling Components with Fusion 360

Hot Wire Foam Cutter (underside – v9 unfinished).

I’m using Autodesk Fusion 360 to model the Hot Wire Foam Cutter I’m building. Usually I use Sketchup to design my projects. Sketchup is simple and straightforward which makes it quick to model all the parts and then make build drawings with its included Layout application.

But there are a few reasons I’m shifting to Fusion 360:

  1. Fusion 360 is free for me to use; Autodesk has made the full-featured software free for hobbyists like me to use.
  2. I need to use software that goes from concept (3D CAD) to production (CAM) in order to use my CNC Router; Fusion 360 does that extremely well.
  3. The projects I’ve been designing require me to outsource many of the parts to fabricators; they all use Autodesk software and Fusion 360 allows me to be compatible with their workflows.
  4. To be honest, Fusion 360 does 2D drawings much better way than Sketchup with Layout. It cuts down on the time it takes me to go from design to building.
  5. It has more materials and renders more elegant images of my models. When I show them to people it’s much more impressive and requires less imagination on their part to understand the concepts I’m presenting.

Here is a model (with a comparison photo) I made in Fusion 360 of the main transformer for the Hot Wire Foam Cutter.

Photo of Main Transformer.

Model of Main Transformer.