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Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

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Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

Old 10-02-2008, 12:37 PM
  #276  
critterhunter
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)


ORIGINAL: Fisher

calvio,

Like Saucerguy notes, there is no reason to worry about your prop hitting the ground on landing with the SO. The only props I have broken were trashed when I hit the ground with power on. Using the SO as an AP platform is a perfect match. This plane will fly very slowly and you can handle plenty of extra weight and drag. The Aiptek 5 in 1 camera works great and the FlycamOne 2 would work great as well.

I have built the SO with both one and two aileron setups. The single aileron works just fine. Using two may give you better control in very slow high alpha flying but it is marginal. No matter what you do with the ailerons you will not get a very fast roll rate out of this plane but it loops like no tomorrow.

Do you have a pic of your F-22 to post. Or a link to a thread?

Cheers,
Could not agree more than the plane would be great for AP and that is can handle a lot of extra weight. Heck, a few of my builds were 27 to 31 ounces or so and still flew well. The large control surfaces, like you said, also help it to handle well at very slow speeds. I increase my elevator/aileron sizes and on one aileron it will roll pretty darn good. In fact, right now I think my last single aileron So rolled better than my current dual aierlon So, but that is probably due to my v-stabs being bigger on this latest build which fight your roll.
Old 10-02-2008, 12:53 PM
  #277  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)


ORIGINAL: critterhunter


ORIGINAL: calvino

EPS = packing foam stuff, ive managed to make up a hot-wire tool, now to get the foam and make a Soo , im still considering 2 servo aelerons, i think will retire the slow stick as an 'ap" (potential) plane and make the Soo one, do you guys think its a good idea to put gear on the soo, or no? i guess the prop (if the right size) won't hit the ground, so you could embed tires into the fuse and make it take off....
You don't need landing gear unless you want to do take offs, or just raise the motor mount like I did on my last build to have the prop clear the ground so you can rise off grass without landing gear.
ooh, good idea, i am in the process of working on a Gene bond blu-beagle as a front yard flier, so need to get my hands on some EPS, any clue whats the minimum (SAFE) area to fly a Soo in?
Old 10-03-2008, 10:46 AM
  #278  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

Never got around to taking a picture of my streamlined Stryker in it's latest form, so I guess the "after" picture of it will have to do. It was a pretty bird.

About three weeks ago I was flying it at my friend's farm when a bad launch caused me to lose orientation on it. Needless to say, going to WOT to try to salvage things didn't help. It rocketed into the woods and was lost for a few weeks. We had found the lipo and canopy right away but couldn't find the plane. I knew it must have hit hard because the lipo has never broken free of the two velcro loops, despite previous hard hits. I'm glad it did, however, because that kept the lipo from going bad.

The strong winds a few weeks ago had brought the plane to the ground where it could be found by my friend Dave. When I picked it up the damage confirmed that it had a major impact. This bird is built like a tank, with a carbon tube from nose to tail crossing one that goes from wing tip to wing tip. It also has some carbon in the front end and a ply bottom where the battery chamber is.

You can see in the photo that the carbon tube broke through at one of the wing tips, a decent chunk of the front of the few was lost, and the fins were completely destroyed. One of the servos is also stripped but the motor, a Go Brushless triple stator with a custom wind is fine. The extra heat sink of the ESC at mid body was already missing before this wreck.

I'm not sure if I'll fix this body or not, since it has had major damage in the past and was already getting heavy. Still, I just might repair her for more life.
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:53 AM
  #279  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

Here's fair warning: If you don't like to look at dead animals then don't look at the below photos.

Saturday night I headed out to my Uncle's in Columbia Station to do some deer hunting. Bow season opened the prior Saturday and I use a crossbow. My Uncle only has about 4 and 1/2 acreas, much of which is just a really long and narrow back yard. I don't have permission to hunt the large body of woods behind it so I'm forced to lure the deer in with bait piles, this time using pears I got from my neighbor's trees. Baiting for deer is legal in Ohio.

Anyway, I was sitting in my stand at around 5:45PM, roughly an hour before dark, when I heard a noise to my left. I looked over and saw a little yearling doe come out of the left corner of his yard and make it's way past me directly under my stand. I wasn't going to shoot her since she was little with a lot of life (and size) ahead of her.

As I watched her enter the woods at the right corner of his yard I was thinking that she looked nervous, often a sign that a buck may be following. Just when I had that thought I heard a noise from the way she came and looked over to see a large buck with a decent rack enter the yard.

I'm mainly a meat hunter so I'm not real big on trying to get a large rack, but I had promised myself that this year I'd try to take a buck with a slightly larger rack than my prior kills, which are modest at best. This rack looked slightly bigger and, more importantly, he had a big body with plenty of meat for my freezer.

He pasted in front of my stand by about 15 yards but didn't present a still shot for me to feel comfortable with. I was fairly certain he'd stop at my pears in the other corner anyway, and sure enough he stoppped at about 20 yards out and began feeding on them. When he lowered his head I raised my bow and looked into the scope, having to wait for about five minutes before he gave me a good angle that should give me a kill shot through his heart and lungs.

When I shot him he ran back the way he came. I could see that the arrow went all the way through but not out the other side, but looked to be a good shot. I gave him about an hour to die before I trailed him, going to get my neighbor to help me. We followed the blood trail for a good 200 yards or so using flash lights. There was plenty of blood but this deer traveled further than he should with a lung or heart hit, so I decided to back out until morning to continue to follow it, not wanting to kick him up.

Anyway, next morning we resume the blood trail and find him probably 80 yards from where we stopped the night before. Turns out his rack is MUCH bigger than I thought. He's a typical 8, with a 9 point and a possible 10th if I can hang a ring on it (standard test). After I gutted him we found that we were near the backyard of a house. I asked the owner for permission to drive back there with my car to get him and he was fine with it. Thank God, because dragging him even that far was major labor. He's got a huge body.

Strapped him to the hood of my car and hosed my out. You can't imagine the looks we got on the road taking him to check in and then to the butcher. Several people took pictures while driving with a camera phone. I'm just glad we didn't cause somebody to wreck.

I'm not getting the head mounted as pictures and a skull/horn to hang on my wall is good enough for me. Tonight he'll be sleeping in my freezer.
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Old 10-06-2008, 08:56 AM
  #280  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)


ORIGINAL: calvino


ORIGINAL: critterhunter


ORIGINAL: calvino

EPS = packing foam stuff, ive managed to make up a hot-wire tool, now to get the foam and make a Soo , im still considering 2 servo aelerons, i think will retire the slow stick as an 'ap" (potential) plane and make the Soo one, do you guys think its a good idea to put gear on the soo, or no? i guess the prop (if the right size) won't hit the ground, so you could embed tires into the fuse and make it take off....
You don't need landing gear unless you want to do take offs, or just raise the motor mount like I did on my last build to have the prop clear the ground so you can rise off grass without landing gear.
ooh, good idea, i am in the process of working on a Gene bond blu-beagle as a front yard flier, so need to get my hands on some EPS, any clue whats the minimum (SAFE) area to fly a Soo in?
The So will launch and land in a pretty small area, like smaller than a baseball field, provided you keep the weight down. It's large control surfaces (I make mine even larger) and clark-y airfoil provide good control at almost stall speeds.
Old 10-06-2008, 12:34 PM
  #281  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

cool, now to find time to make one, i am considering making a "1/2" soo that is well 1/2 the size of the regular soo and using it as a front yard flier (maybe), mm, looks like you got a bunch of meals eh
Old 10-07-2008, 09:19 AM
  #282  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

That'll be a cool looking bird and should do well in a front yard. Post pictures on the build and completion!
Old 10-07-2008, 11:12 AM
  #283  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

lol, when time allows yes, step #1 go find some foam (free) i may try using some crappy knockoff aero ace electronics to power it, but well see
Old 10-12-2008, 12:31 PM
  #284  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

Calvino,

A small SO is something I have been toying with for a while and a really large one too. Go for it! I would love to see your new mini-so in action.

critter,

Congratulations on your success. (warning, if you do not want to hear other opinions on transport of game please discontinue reading). While I commend your commitment to waiting for a good shot (which is a lot harder done than said) I might offer that transporting deer or other game animals tied to the roof or hood of your vehicle is exactly the sort of thing that sets off anti hunters and can lead to further restrictions in the future. You and I are in the minority in this country and there is more and more pressure to ban or restrict hunting. If at all possible transporting game in the bed of a truck with a tarp over it may seem to be overkill (sorry for the pun) but helps to improve the image of hunting in the eyes of the ignorant folks eating their cheese burger and saying that hunting is cruel.

Again, Congratulations on your success.

Fisher
Old 10-14-2008, 04:59 PM
  #285  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

ok. mini "soo' update, friends power system (real real cheap aeroace knockoff) doesn't have enough thrust to make it fly , so i will keep my eyes out for a "mini XPV" by "jacks pacific" (i think) which should have more than enough "oomph" to move it along if you have a "cessna 210" you could gut it for the electronics, and make them work on a 'mini soo' with dihedral on the wings or elevator and aeleron[8D]
Old 10-16-2008, 09:34 AM
  #286  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

hey guys, new to the whole electric thing, had nitros ever since I was flying. Come to the conclusion electric is better in so many ways. Worked with foam a little, think Ill make a bow and try my luck. I am building a HOB FW-190 park flyer and want to make the wing from sheeted foam. So I can cut the shape of the wing from the foam, then used the outside and inside ribs as guildes on either end right? Also, curious about voltage/amps. I have a car battery charger as someone suggested but it has 3 positions, 3,8, and 50 amps start charge settings I believe. What size/gauge wire should I use. Want to pick the wire up today, any advice would be great, or, id someone has another power idea that would be great as well. Do you guys run any type of carbonfiber or any other type of re-enforcement spar inside your wings? Also unsure about foam, Love to work with the owens corrning pink foam, is it similar to the blue foam sheets? It weighs more then the white foam, And I like the owens foam for the fact it seems much easier to sand. How do you guys sand the white stuff, there is the white stuff that the disposable coolers are made out of and then a type made up with much larger foam balls, and its super light. If you are able to cut lightning holes into a model is it ok to use the pink stuff. Im a little new to all this haha sorry

Thanks
Pete
Old 10-20-2008, 08:46 AM
  #287  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

I figured you guys would find this of interest. A neighbor has been building a trike off and on for a couple of years as parts and money allows. It's got a chevy engine in it. I think it's at least a 390 or larger but forget. Ford rear end. Chevy tranny. Motorcycle front wheel with heavy re-enforcements. He's got all the receipts from the various places and people he's got parts from so that he can get a title for it and it'll be road legal.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:49 AM
  #288  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

I was given some cast iron parts to convert an oil drum to a wood burner. I cleaned them up and painted them and the 30 gallon barrel I used with high temp paint. The vent pipe is ready to be installed but it just dry fitted in the picture. I got sick of forking out the money for fuel to use with my space heater, while I can get wood for free. This should keep my garage warm and toasty while I'm working on winter projects.
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Old 10-20-2008, 08:54 AM
  #289  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)


ORIGINAL: Fisher

Calvino,

A small SO is something I have been toying with for a while and a really large one too. Go for it! I would love to see your new mini-so in action.

critter,

Congratulations on your success. (warning, if you do not want to hear other opinions on transport of game please discontinue reading). While I commend your commitment to waiting for a good shot (which is a lot harder done than said) I might offer that transporting deer or other game animals tied to the roof or hood of your vehicle is exactly the sort of thing that sets off anti hunters and can lead to further restrictions in the future. You and I are in the minority in this country and there is more and more pressure to ban or restrict hunting. If at all possible transporting game in the bed of a truck with a tarp over it may seem to be overkill (sorry for the pun) but helps to improve the image of hunting in the eyes of the ignorant folks eating their cheese burger and saying that hunting is cruel.

Again, Congratulations on your success.

Fisher
Well, I would have much rather used my truck but I've got to get plates for it this week. I had brought a tarp and planned to throw the deer in the back but I decided that risking my sister's wrath (it's her car) was worse than risking upsetting anti-hunters. Besides, the far left never seems to be shy about getting in the face of others with their views...And I'm sick of walking on egg shells not to offend somebody. I think the right needs to grow some b*lls and start voicing their opinions strongly. Nobody seems to want to do that these days. Believe me, I would have much rather put the deer in the bed of my truck if only because it would have been much easier to transport.
Old 10-20-2008, 09:05 AM
  #290  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)


ORIGINAL: CastorTroy2150

hey guys, new to the whole electric thing, had nitros ever since I was flying. Come to the conclusion electric is better in so many ways. Worked with foam a little, think Ill make a bow and try my luck. I am building a HOB FW-190 park flyer and want to make the wing from sheeted foam. So I can cut the shape of the wing from the foam, then used the outside and inside ribs as guildes on either end right? Also, curious about voltage/amps. I have a car battery charger as someone suggested but it has 3 positions, 3,8, and 50 amps start charge settings I believe. What size/gauge wire should I use. Want to pick the wire up today, any advice would be great, or, id someone has another power idea that would be great as well. Do you guys run any type of carbonfiber or any other type of re-enforcement spar inside your wings? Also unsure about foam, Love to work with the owens corrning pink foam, is it similar to the blue foam sheets? It weighs more then the white foam, And I like the owens foam for the fact it seems much easier to sand. How do you guys sand the white stuff, there is the white stuff that the disposable coolers are made out of and then a type made up with much larger foam balls, and its super light. If you are able to cut lightning holes into a model is it ok to use the pink stuff. Im a little new to all this haha sorry

Thanks
Pete
Welcome! Check the first few pages for wire diameter and such. 50 amps at 12V should work fine for a 40" bow or so without even using a dimmer. Using the ribs to guide your cut should work well. I like to put a carbon tube in my wings but it isn't a must. Extreme strapping tape (office max) from tip to tip top and bottom will do. The pink and blue foams are very similar and much stronger/smoother than the white that most home improvement stores sell, but they are a bit heavier. Sanding even the white is easy with a sanding block or orbital sander. I've used real fine and real gritty sandpaper. Either will work. You don't need to cut lighening holes in the foam unless you feel the plane is getting heavier than you want. Hope this helps and post pictures!
Old 10-20-2008, 06:09 PM
  #291  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

Be sure to practice on a lot of scrap so that you get the feel for it before committing to virgin foam, it takes a little practice to get it right, and don't sweat it if you find yourself sanding a bit more on your first few planes.

I fly nitro and electric, each has their advantages and disadvantages. With nitro, for people that have not delved in that area, there is much to be said about the feel and power to weight ratio they tend to deliver. The plane itself is designed differently with those due to the vibration, you tend to get longer flights with it then electrics and refueling all day long maximizes your stick time at the field. It's drawback, it's very messy and you have to dial in the carb, which can take a little bit of time to do now and then. Electrics on the other hand, there is no mess, but you gotta stay much more on top of things with battery care or they will quickly become toast. In some ways I like the quite nature of electrics, in other ways, something is missing in comparison to nitro, feel wise that I'm trying to pinpoint a word along. Both will be around forever, and it's really cool to have affordable options regardless of which way you lean towards.

Something to keep in mind for those that are moving from nitro to electric, weight is much more critical on an electric set up, a 10 pound plane would take an extremely expensive electric set up, so it's best to begin with your power system of choice to begin with, then decide how much weight it can pull by analyzing the thrust ratio.
Old 10-21-2008, 02:00 PM
  #292  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

Thanks Saucerguy, Built my bow last night, using 24 gauge wire, its pretty thin, I may go a little larger as it tends to want to flex a lot and I am unsure of how much flex it to much. 50 amps seems like it wants to snap the wire in tests. And I have found that the white foam is much easier to cut, not to mention it seems cleaner. I am really happy with the way my bow came out, it looks great, constructed from all brand new materials, only cost about 10.oo at lowes. The wood was only 1-2.00 a post, and the wire was like 2, and the spring was 1.-somthing and the eyes were about 2 as well. not bad, jsut decided I wanted a grade a new one haha had some scrap around but changed my mind. Think I will buld one of the ones Ive been seeing on here first as they seem to be a good starting plane. Would love to buils a flying wing as well soon. Does anyone have some airfoil guides to buld a flying wing? Have gotten really excited about this, tested on some scrap white and pink foam, as I mentioned I much prefer the white. It may be a bit more stout but It cuts so much more clean, i could use white and sheet with 1/16 balsa and ahve the same weight as the pink stuff haha.
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:06 PM
  #293  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

I jsut cut my jigs for the fuse, and the wing, so I will be able to go and get my faom tonight and begin. I will make the tailfeathers out of solid balsa and the plane will be glassed or sheeted one of the two. Will cut the cowl jigs as well. The rest will need to be hand shaped. After the kit is complete and test flown I will show pics and a video of it flying. At that point, which could be further down the road, I will be offering kits if anyone is interested. And not these big expensive out of the sky priced kits. These will be very affordable and include everything but the electronics and motor/mount and battery. Basically an ARF parts cut, I will be installing .10 sized retracts on mine so that would be an option as well. I was thinking it would cost me about 50.00 to consrtuct one kit, with rods and hardware, no sheeting. I would sell for 70.00ish plus shipping. It would be a great kit, and cheap. We will see how it all goes. Should have a fuse and wing cut ready to show pics sometime tonight.
Old 10-21-2008, 11:12 PM
  #294  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)




ORIGINAL: CastorTroy2150

I jsut cut my jigs for the fuse, and the wing, so I will be able to go and get my faom tonight and begin. I will make the tailfeathers out of solid balsa and the plane will be glassed or sheeted one of the two. Will cut the cowl jigs as well. The rest will need to be hand shaped. After the kit is complete and test flown I will show pics and a video of it flying. At that point, which could be further down the road, I will be offering kits if anyone is interested. And not these big expensive out of the sky priced kits. These will be very affordable and include everything but the electronics and motor/mount and battery. Basically an ARF parts cut, I will be installing .10 sized retracts on mine so that would be an option as well. I was thinking it would cost me about 50.00 to consrtuct one kit, with rods and hardware, no sheeting. I would sell for 70.00ish plus shipping. It would be a great kit, and cheap. We will see how it all goes. Should have a fuse and wing cut ready to show pics sometime tonight.
Those are wise pieces of advice, lol.

I also found lighter fluid and a match also fix these kind of problems permanently as well. It's using a thermal coupler heat exchange system which eliminates the carbon footprint in the process. With thick metal parts, unfortunately you have to upgrade to a 3000 degree kiln, which some people still don't keep in their field kit these days unfortunately.
Old 10-22-2008, 08:40 PM
  #295  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

I get a 404 Not Found error on the link for the plans in the first post in this thread.
[:@]
Old 10-22-2008, 10:39 PM
  #296  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

http://grosj.tripod.com/radiocontrol/plane.html
Old 10-22-2008, 11:38 PM
  #297  
VeeAte
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

Thanks Saucerguy.
[8D]
Old 10-23-2008, 09:10 AM
  #298  
critterhunter
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)


ORIGINAL: CastorTroy2150

I jsut cut my jigs for the fuse, and the wing, so I will be able to go and get my faom tonight and begin. I will make the tailfeathers out of solid balsa and the plane will be glassed or sheeted one of the two. Will cut the cowl jigs as well. The rest will need to be hand shaped. After the kit is complete and test flown I will show pics and a video of it flying. At that point, which could be further down the road, I will be offering kits if anyone is interested. And not these big expensive out of the sky priced kits. These will be very affordable and include everything but the electronics and motor/mount and battery. Basically an ARF parts cut, I will be installing .10 sized retracts on mine so that would be an option as well. I was thinking it would cost me about 50.00 to consrtuct one kit, with rods and hardware, no sheeting. I would sell for 70.00ish plus shipping. It would be a great kit, and cheap. We will see how it all goes. Should have a fuse and wing cut ready to show pics sometime tonight.
Looks good. The wire will flex a good bit. Tie knots in the spring to stiffen it up as much as possible. Still, even if it does flex it's not a problem. Just cut slower so the heat of the wire does the work and not tension on the wire. You don't need wood jigs for the fuse or booms. I pitched those as they don't really help much, especially if you are using a hot wire table cutter like the one I built (pictures on the first few pages). I just trace out the outline of the part and then use the table cutter to free hand hot wire it out. I prefer to stay just outside the traced lines in case I slip and then sand to final contour. I find that even a perfectly cut wing can use some sanding to tweak things out, along with the body parts. Don't think hot wiring eliminates sanding. It just eliminates a lot of mess and much more sanding if you didn't have a hot wire cutter. I like to use an orbital sander on the wing and other parts, but if I'm trying to create a perfectly flat and straight line I use a belt sander. Hand sanding is best for curves and such. As for wire diameter/heat....You a for the most part trying to get the wire to a temperture that is slightly below the wire glowing red. This keeps it as clean as possible and cuts without drag. You can cut with lower tempertures but you'll have to move slower to avoid tearing or drag. If you need temperture control them buy a $5 light dimmer from Home Depot/Lowes. Plug that into the wall and then the charger into it.
Old 10-23-2008, 11:09 AM
  #299  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwFG58TxZ2g (and other videos) i found very helpfull as a 'tutorial' to foam cutting, get a cup of coffee ahead of time (its a little borring)
Old 10-23-2008, 06:02 PM
  #300  
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Default RE: Here's A Simple & FREE First Foam Build Plan! (Part 2)

ORIGINAL: critterhunter


ORIGINAL: CastorTroy2150

I jsut cut my jigs for the fuse, and the wing, so I will be able to go and get my faom tonight and begin. I will make the tailfeathers out of solid balsa and the plane will be glassed or sheeted one of the two. Will cut the cowl jigs as well. The rest will need to be hand shaped. After the kit is complete and test flown I will show pics and a video of it flying. At that point, which could be further down the road, I will be offering kits if anyone is interested. And not these big expensive out of the sky priced kits. These will be very affordable and include everything but the electronics and motor/mount and battery. Basically an ARF parts cut, I will be installing .10 sized retracts on mine so that would be an option as well. I was thinking it would cost me about 50.00 to consrtuct one kit, with rods and hardware, no sheeting. I would sell for 70.00ish plus shipping. It would be a great kit, and cheap. We will see how it all goes. Should have a fuse and wing cut ready to show pics sometime tonight.
Looks good. The wire will flex a good bit. Tie knots in the spring to stiffen it up as much as possible. Still, even if it does flex it's not a problem. Just cut slower so the heat of the wire does the work and not tension on the wire. You don't need wood jigs for the fuse or booms. I pitched those as they don't really help much, especially if you are using a hot wire table cutter like the one I built (pictures on the first few pages). I just trace out the outline of the part and then use the table cutter to free hand hot wire it out. I prefer to stay just outside the traced lines in case I slip and then sand to final contour. I find that even a perfectly cut wing can use some sanding to tweak things out, along with the body parts. Don't think hot wiring eliminates sanding. It just eliminates a lot of mess and much more sanding if you didn't have a hot wire cutter. I like to use an orbital sander on the wing and other parts, but if I'm trying to create a perfectly flat and straight line I use a belt sander. Hand sanding is best for curves and such. As for wire diameter/heat....You a for the most part trying to get the wire to a temperture that is slightly below the wire glowing red. This keeps it as clean as possible and cuts without drag. You can cut with lower tempertures but you'll have to move slower to avoid tearing or drag. If you need temperture control them buy a $5 light dimmer from Home Depot/Lowes. Plug that into the wall and then the charger into it.
Along my straight cuts, I'll ink in the lines on top of the foam. I have a couple of straight cutting jigs that keep the wire from veering either direction, it's basically two upside down T pieces that have a slot in the middle of them. Once the wire is in position, I'll power it up and let gravity pull it through the foam. It's much safer and easier to do then cutting those on the tablesaw, much less, less messy as well and you can technically cut through a stack of sheets at once if you were inclinded.

Well, it looks like I'm dragging out my foam cutting table, have a kit to fill in some of the gaps on that ships out on Monday and I'm itching to bust out some extra's as well, with the rc dragon, rc p40 and rc so's, partially to have some extra inventory and partially to have some extra foamies to build when I have time. I put my stick built scratch onto the side while I take care of biz, but it's also on the agenda afterwards.

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