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This page presents the assignments for week 17 of Fab Academy 2020: “Mechanical Design” and “Machine Design”.

To do list:


Week 17 "hero shot":

Figure 0: Foam cutting machine

Table of Contents

Group assignment

This week I worked with Jonah on machine design.

I was interested in the design of a foam cutting machine to be able to cut wing section for my final project.

Besides, Jonah already made a nice Instructables on how to make a hot wire machine

Trying modular kit

I first wanted to reproduce Nadya Peek modular foam cutter, but then realise that we cannot easly machine metal at the Fab Lab.

So I wanted to try her cardboard kit version of the foam cutting machine to build the machine.

The design are available on this page

Laser cutting the cardboard part

frame part

frame parts
Laser cutting the parts was easy and fast.

Folding the cardboard parts

Here the two-fold cardboard available at the Lab didn't reacted well to the folding.

It seems nice

wait, no...
We then decided to stop testing this cardboard module to manage time well.

If there is some time left I will try to make other test with tri-fold cardboard.

First design

I used OpenSCAD to design a foam cutting machine from scratch with inspiration from the modular cardboard kit machines of Nadya Peek.

Second design

Given the time frame for this week and following Jonah advises we adapt design around already existing parts of a machine.


So we first check the parts we could use from old unused machine at the Fab Lab Digiscope.

Scavenged ultimaker 3D printer

Scavenged motors

Belt and axis

3D printing

We use the 3D printer to make stiff and custom frame parts.

3D printed parts

3D printed and scavenged parts

Assembling the frame

3D printed parts and actuators

Screw worm frame

Belt frame parts and assembled

All modules

Foam cutting machine


We use a pre made controller board for the nema motors.

Electronic board

Connected to the modules

User interface

We used Chilipeppr for the user interface.


Module with belt motion test

Module with worm screw motion test

All modules

3D model visualization

A 3D model visualization is available here!

Cutting Foam!

Wing rib cutting (10 times faster)

Chilipeppr interface (10 times faster)