Studio Foam Cutting Booths
There are several standalone booths scattered throughout the department studios that are specifically for polystyrene foam
cutting. They have special filters installed to remove fumes before the air is released back into the room.
These are simple to use, but there are a few details that users must keep in mind, to keep these booths safe and functioning.
These are currently the only safe indoor space for hot wire foam cutting.
attempt to foam cut in any other indoor space
(without explicit approval of a separate setup and instruction from shop and/or Facilities management). NEVER in the spray booth.
The exposed wiring/hot wire is an extremely dangerous fire hazard around fumes/flammable liquids. This is why they are never
allowed in the 3-402 spray booth (check Spray Booth
page for details).
To use a foam cutting booth:
turn the power strip on (will be fastened to the left side of the booth - make sure the filter and foam cutter are both plugged into
the power strip)
Check the power switch on the foam cutter inside the booth - make sure you hear the filter fan humming (the acrylic booths also
have lights that should be plugged in, and will switch on with the power)
Gently test a bit of scrap foam against the wire to make sure it is ready to cut (they heat up instantaneously)
If the wire is not pulled tight and straight, it needs to be adjusted. Make sure the booth power is OFF before working on the wire.
Be careful to keep the wire spooled cleanly - don't let it
kink or knot up.
Be very careful not to over-loosen any of the set screws (no parts on these machines ever need to be
cranked hard at all - that's a sign that something is being done incorrectly). If they come loose they're
likely to get lost (these parts can't always be replaced).
Some of the set screws are easily loosened/tightened by hands; others may need a hex key for easy handling.
Check with Archshops if the necessary tool isn't in the booth with the machine (there are also hex keys in the wrench flat file drawer in
We keep spare wire spools - let us know when one is empty. These spools should last for quite a while - be careful with them so
we don't run out too quickly. Reordering Manix or Proxxon-specific spools takes a bit of time. Other brands won't necessarily fit with these
These foam cutters come with sliding bevel gauges and clamping fences - they are, unfortunately, easy to take apart, and it's easy to
lose pieces. PLEASE do not take apart any of these tools, or leave bits scattered- keep them assembled and usable.
If a booth is missing these parts, it's because
they've already been disassembled and lost - The manufacturers don't sell replacements.
You can, however, make your own jigs for finer control during foam cutting, in cases where these are needed and unavailable.
Air volume takes time to be pulled through filters - do not turn the booth off immediately after cutting. Leave it running for a few minutes to make sure
all the fumes have been filtered out before turning off the power. On that note, never cut without making sure the filter is powered on.