Bruce Blevins’ Scale Combat
fleet includes a Ki- 43 Oscar.
Foam cutting is great, but it can create a mess when
you save the scraps that you may someday need.
The quest for new
by Don Grissom
As I was getting ready to start this year’s Combat season, I noticed that I had many issues to resolve with some of my airplanes. One was the amount
of damage on my Scale 2948 airplanes. Many needed to
be replaced, so I posted a message online about getting some
Until this past year I had gotten my airplanes from
Bulletproof Models, but the company no longer produces kits,
so my hunt began for some new airplanes. I received an email
from Bruce Blevins, who offered to cut some foam for me
until I can get set up to make my own kits in the future.
Bruce uses a CNC foam cutter that allows you to cut your
own kits using CAD designs from a computer. I have been
looking into setting up my own kit-cutting process for many
years and have most of the tools, but I have had issues with the
space needed to run the equipment.
The first things you will need to purchase are the controller
board and stepper motors. Bruce’s unit comes from Hobby
CNC. The four-axis unit comes with most of the parts you will
need to connect the computer to the foam cutter. The motors
turn a threaded rod, which moves the wire in two directions.
Both ends of the wire move, making it a four-axis design.
You will need a computer with the software to run the
machine. You normally do not need a powerful one. Some
people use a basic laptop to run the software. Bruce uses
software called TJZOIDE, specifically designed for RC foam
cutting. It has many built-in tools for designing airplanes.
Bruce uses airplane plans to help cut the design. You will
need to scan the plans into the computer to set up the design
to cut. This older software may not run on some newer
systems, so an outmoded computer should work fine.
I have seen many designs that people use for the foam
cutter. Most of them use drawer slides on either a wooden
setup or one made from metal such as what Bruce has.
You will go through plenty of foam trying to get everything
right the first few times you cut. You will need to use thicker
foam—2- or 3-inch foam—which can be hard to find in the
It is important to set up the foam cutter in a well-ventilated location. It should be where you don’t have to
move it. Any movement will require you to recalibrate and
set everything up again. Bruce mentioned that he sometimes
goes months without using the foam cutter and then has to
115 Model Aviation MAY 2014