Monthly Archives: Tuesday August 1st, 2006

Project StyroFoamRobot

cutter in full view

This is the first prototype of a robotic StyrofoamTM cutter. With an hot wire it cuts a variety of 2D and 3D shapes out of StyroporTM or StyrodurTM.

The machine was built as proof-of-concept in a student project within 4 months in summer 2006 by 4 engineers-to-be at the TU-Berlin, Department of Electronics and Medical Signal Processing.

The structure consists of XY-Axes which hold an heated wire. Beneath, raw material is attached to a rotary table. An old A3 dot-matrix printer makes up the horizontal axis. Both, the vertical and the rotational axis are made of fischertechnikTM.

detail of the StyroFoamRobot cutter

The StyroFoamRobot in detail.

A user software allows to load arbitrary 3D models in STL format. Alternatively, one can easily create shapes using the integrated contour editor. Based on the digital object representation the software generates a sequence of commands which are executed by a micro-controller (M68k by Freescale) to control the stepper motors accordingly.

The software and all documents created for the project such as source code and schematics were archived as project on There are also some images and screenshots as well es a final project report (in german).