Sunday, November 5, 2017

Woodworking for Wargmaers: Proxxon Wire Cutter Straight Edge Guide, post 14

If you use Extruded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) for terrain making then adding a Proxxon Hot Wire Cutter to you tool inventory is a must.  However, even really good tools can be improved and I decided to add a 90 degree cutting guide to improve the accuracy of my cuts.  Total time to build this tool / jig was 45 minutes excluding glue drying time.

 Why do this?  The miter gauge that comes with the tool is ok but isn't that precise.  It's also really low (only 1/2 inch high so larger pieces can shift when passing through the wire.  If the face was higher this wouldn't happen.

The gauge also doesn't stay square as the far ends veers off.  A straight edge guide that doesn't stay straight isn't that helpful.  If you click on the picture you can see how the gauge wanders off to the left.  It's set at 90 degrees but just doesn't hold that well.

 Here are all the parts I needed - 2. 5.5 x 12 inch sheets and two 45 degree angles all cut from MDF.  Remember when cutting MDF it's imperative to wear a face mask.  The material release super-fine dust which isn't that good on the ole lungs.  The last piece is a guide cutting to fit the channel along the side of the Proxxon.  It's about 3/8 of an inch.  I may mine out of a basswood strip - it took some sanding to get a cut fit.

Glue up is pretty easy - glue the two sides together and add the 45 angles as support.  It's really important to make sure the face plate is at a 90 degree angle.  Wood glue will be enough to hold these pieces in place.

 Once the main assemble is dry, its time to add the guide rail.  I added a few pieces of paper to raise the profile of the rail and then added a thin line of wood glue.  When cutting the guide to shift also err on the too wide side and then sand into place.  If you cut it too thin you have to start over.

 Carefully but the guide fence on top of the rail and ensure it's square.  It pays to invest in a top quality machinists square as you don't want to be off.  Once I was sure the fence was square I added a drop of super glue at each corner to hold the rail in place while the wood glue dried.

I also added a handle at the last minute to help with uses.  It was just a scrap piece of 1x2.
 An action shot - cutting perfect 1/2 wide 4 inch squares.
I made 10 perfect squares from some scrap EPS in less than 3 minutes.  This guide improves both accuracy and efficiency.  I wonder what I'll be doing with those squares?

I got his idea for a you tuber named Jeremy Pillipow who has a channel called Black Magic Craft and demonstrates how to make terrain to role playing games.  I've learned a lot for that channel and recommend it highly.  The specific episode that discusses a proton guide is here

You can also buy laser cut guides for the Proxxon tool from a EU based company called "Shifting Lands"  It looks like shipping to the states is pretty expensive but his tools look amazing.

I plan on making a 45 degree guide with the remaining MDF but that's a project for another day.

Let me know what you think.


TamsinP said...

A very handy device :)

Service Ration Distribution (Hobby) said...

Useful looking piece of kit. Good modification. It only takes a slight modification to make a good tool great. Thanks for posting.

Daniel Davis said...

Solid guide, thank you.

What keeps the guide from slipping? Do you just hold it? Or is the channel piece of wood tight enough that it just holds tight enough?

jmilesr said...

The channel guide has a fairly tight fit but to ensure it stays in place I just lightly pouch the guide forward which holds it in position