Introduction: CNC Styrocutting

Christoph Rafoth, Head of the Digital Workshop, introduced us to the use of the CNC Styrocut machine. The machine has two spatial axes and a rotary axis and uses a hot wire to cut geometric shapes out of solid foam blocks. The materials to be processed include Styrofoam (EPS), Styrodur as well as PLA foams and soft PU foams.
To begin with, we cut an EPS block to the correct dimensions using the manual control. A connected computer generated the necessary instructions for the CNC machine in G-code format. Using another program, we converted a 3D model of a chicken into instructions for the cutter.
Due to structural limitations of the wire movement, it is not possible to fully reproduce the model, unlike 3D printing, as certain lower edges cannot be reached by the wire. The alignment of the object in relation to the machine axes plays a decisive role in the final result. The entire process took around 30 minutes.
Finally, two students removed the chicken model from the excess EPS snippets.

text by:Bruno Bleschke