I got the new hot wire ice cutter mostly finished and in testable condition the other night. Unfortunately I am still missing one part needed for the power supply, but I was able to perform an initial test with a much weaker power supply from last year. Since the new device uses a very short length of low gauge wire (compared to the gear cutters of last year), it draws much more current. I hope to take advantage of this with a new power supply in the neighborhood of 1500 Watts for faster cutting, but for now I have to use my old power supply at very low voltage to prevent overheating of the transformer. It works, very slowly.
The device is made mostly of plywood with a 24 inch square piece of HDPE for the work surface, 19 AWG nichrome for the cutting wire, and assorted hardware. It should support the wire with enough tension to keep it reasonably straight while ice is pushed against it. So far I've cranked it up to 20 pounds of tension, but I think it will handle twice that. The cutting angle is adjustable to 45 degrees to either side. I still need to add an adjustable fence and rulers for the fence position and cutting angle.