SpecCNC AeroForm

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Complete CNC Hotwire Foam Cutter Based on Propeller 1

If you’ve ever built a model plane from balsa wood and Monokote or spent days browsing the Tower Hobbies catalog while considering their “layaway plan” then this load-and-cut machine would’ve been beyond your wildest dreams!

This is another inspiring Propeller 1 Multicore Microcontroller project from Paul Voss – one which makes us look forward to summer, hobbies and outdoor activities. The AeroForm is a complete CNC hotwire foamcutter that brings professional aeronautics capability to schools, businesses, clubs, and home workshops. We have one of Paul’s SpecCNC AeroForm cutters in the Parallax office in Rocklin, California and I had to put it in a box and pack it up because it was so much fun. Some details:

  •  Ready-to-run machine assembles in a few simple steps
  •  Simple and versatile push-button operation – no computer or special software required
  •  Rapidly make wings, stabilizers, and other aircraft parts from inexpensive foam board
  •  Set chord, taper, sweep, washout, and even add custom spar channels
  •  Choose from dozens of performance airfoils or use your own coordinates on the SD card
  •  Use the miter function to cut accurate angles for dihedrals, winglets, and assembly
  •  Use the manual lathe function to cut approximate nose cones
  •  Set cutter offset, feedrate, and heater power for different foam types (EPS, XPS, EPP)
  •  Finished parts up to 24″ x 12″ x 4″ are easily assembled into much larger models
  •  High-quality made in USA from solid wood, stainless hardware, and custom electronics

And you may be asking: can I buy one of these? Yes! Paul’s SpecCNC AeroForm web site provides purchasing details. Be patient with him if you’re going to make a request – not only is he busy with the MASKproject above, he’s a full-time professor and must sort through the inquiries to make sure they’re within his production and support capabilities. It’s quite common for already-productive engineers to limit their ability to meet demand they can handle.

After you cut out the parts, you can simply glue them together and make an incredible glider. Below is a picture of the Stratolaunch, an unpowered glider. With some glue and wooden dowels, the foam can quickly be attached to a fuselage.

Paul has also created R/C versions flown with brushless motors and LiPo power packs.

Let these projects be an inspiration for ideas of your own!

Ken Gracey and the Parallax Team

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[…] Paul Voss, a Professor from Smith College and an inventive engineer, has two interesting applications using the Propeller 1.  The first is a timely test fixture he made for the MITMedia Labs MASK Project: N95 Alternative Face Mask project. The second is something we’d all like to have when the COVID-19 pandemic has eased – the SpecCNC AeroForm Complete CNC Hotwire Foamcutter. […]


Awesome project!
Are there any other sources about that on Parallax Forums?


I agree Nikos! This is an amazing project.

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