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Time To Knuckle Down On Stenciling
20 replies to this topic
Posted 04 June 2012 - 06:39 PM
The Silhouette Cameo arrived this afternoon.
It has a larger footprint that I thought. That mat is 24" squared so figure right at 21".
Surprised me there. Need to find a place for it.
I've already picked up different papers ranging from tissue to dividers. Once I get the software installed, I'm going to likely waste the first blade putting it through the motions.
I didn't choose cameo for the cute girl in the logo, no matter what you say! Until I took pictures I never realized what that was in the 'O.' Bummer there, don't want anyone thinking I bought a sissy machine so I better airbrush that out.
I wanted a home/hobby/craft cutter that was small, but large enough to cut decent width. The Silhouette advertises 12".
Inside the front cover it reads:
The cutting mat provided measures 12" X 12".
Second, I wanted something powerful enough to cut different materials. The cutting force of the Silhouette is 210gf. It is on the low end of the machines I looked at, but still enough to cut vinyl, card stock, and magnet paper.
And I needed something with decent cutting resolution. Cutting resolution is hard to find on these machines due to the software used, the cutting speed, distance traveled from one cut to the next, the sharpness of the blades, etc.
The big characteristic of Graphtec cutters is accuracy. The mechanical resolution is quoted as .0254mm, (1/1000th of an inch per step) with a repeatability factor of .0127mm (.005 inch per step). That little 'per step' is one more factor involving the stepper motors used and the carriage system.
I'm not a mechanical engineer. And the best I understand is mechanically the machine is capable of cutting a line every 1/1000th of an inch, within 1/5000 of an inch, where it was plotted. Since there is a number of factors, the best answer I could get is, "capable of cutting a 2mm circle." Not sure I could read a tenth of a mm without a mic anyway.
With Silhouette you can import online graphics and modify them, or design your own in the Silhouette Studio software for printing or cutting. There is also third party software that support with Make The Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot. Inkscape is a free design software.
Cricut is tied to aftersale cartridges. And the Criqut Design Studio does NOT allow you to import free fonts and images. It will ONLY work with the cartridges in the ProvoCraft library. Third party software will void your warranty. If you want to design items with the carts (prepackaged designs) you already have, then CDS is the right tool for you.
Make the Cut states on the home page their software no longer supports Cricut.
Sure Cuts A Lot says Version 1 and 2 will support Cricut but the company will no longer support Version 1 and 2 as of December 31, 2011. And Version 1 and 2 will only work with certain versions of the firmware in the Cricut machine.
Looking at that, Cricut is not a viable option in designing your own fishing lure patterns or stencils.
Other cutters I looked at by price range:
CraftROBO Pro 15” cutter $1,095, great reviews, includes ROBO Master software. (funny note: Amazon lists new at $1095. Used machines are $1250?!?)
Black Cat Cougar 13” cutter with 950g/f costs $700 - $800. Great reviews. Likely the best hobby/ craft cutter on the market. Will work with Make the Cut and Sure Cuts A Lot software.
Roland Stika 12” cutter, $700 - $800 Cut Studio software; considered professional grade hobby machine
Bosskut Gazelle (500 gf) says will import PDF and SVG files for about $500. You can import .ai files, .wpc files, .plt files, .jpeg files, .pdf files, .svg files and .bmp files.
KNK Zing 14” cutter (750 gf) with Make the Cut software for $399. You can import other file formats into MTC for cutting, such as AI, SVG, PDF, SCUT, and EPS.
Xyron Wishblade $399 – additional $100 for software patch to run under Win7
Pazzles, 12” cutter, claims more than 1000g/f . $399. Will import SVG files. Adobe Illustrator/Corel Draw/Inkscape/Microsoft Visio (some reviews claim this features is only available after a $99 upgrade)
Cartwells eCraft starts about $200 claims matless cutting but advise the use of a stabilizer (piece of cardboard under the cutting). Uses eCraft Design Studio which will import custom SVG files.
Another Graphtec machine to consider is the $209 Silhouette SD which cuts an 8.5" width. You'll find refurbished ones listed under Craft and Hobby -> Vinyl Cutters on the USCutter homepage. The site says, "The Graphtec Silhouette SD is the latest version of the CraftROBO. And Silhouette Studio is the latest software released by Graphtec.
Prices are subject to change. I don't represent any of the manufacturers and have not verified the information on their web site is true and correct. I can say I got I asked for through USCutter and can't wait to get it set up.
Now we get to see what trouble I can get into trying to cut fishing lure stencils.
Posted 05 June 2012 - 10:49 AM
Figure it is one of those ideas I start and don't know where it will end.
Might as well share what I learn in case someone else comes along thinking the same thing.
Couple of minor glitches.
Win7 tries to install drivers for the cutter.
The solution is to go to the Silhouette site and download the updated software which no longer requires additional drivers. Of course, there is no way of knowing that until you have installed the software on the CD that came with the machine. The download install/updates right over it.
The studio software can't work with SVG files without the upgrade. I missed that. Seems these SVG files are pretty important stuff when doing graphics.
SVG stands for Scalable Vector which allows the graphic to be made larger or smaller without pixilation like a BMP. Same format allows you to change the icons on your desktop without them becoming distorted. Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw can work with them. I don't have those. Inkscape is free, I can download that.
It's not as big a deal as it sounds. You can import BMP/JPG/PNG, etc graphics and use the tracer tools to make it scalable.
Overall I like the studio software so far. I may find it is more complicated than necessary.
By the end of the day I hope to have a couple a bags of confetti.
Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:14 PM
Still learning the ins/outs of this machine. There is nothing hard about cutting with it. Fairly straight forward.
So far the biggest challenge is sizing to fit the project.
The top pattern was cut 3" in 65 pound charcoal paper.
Fairly strong paper but you must take care when removing it from the cutting mat.
Reduced pattern to 2 1/2", cut in the same paper and it is even more delicate. Yep. I got in a hurry.
But vinyl should hold together better.
Making patterns is not hard once you understand grouping. And vectors. These could be cut smaller.
So far the limits seem to be your imagination.
Cutting airbrush stencils is one use.
Using the cutouts to texture lures is another possibility.
Using a printer to print a design and using the cutter to cut it would yield a precise fit.
Learn to design and cut stencils seems to be enough at the moment.
Posted 10 June 2012 - 12:14 PM
Real strong point is the design software. Took one of the sheets of lure lip patterns, cut them out in the software.
Then cut them in half int he software, mirrored the images and......
You see the result.
Can't see why this would work for design lure bodies too.
The one drawback is stenciling contoured bodies.
Coutouring a stencil in any one direction, over the body, across the body works great.
Trying to stencil compound contours isn't so easy. A lure body like this requires some cuts to get a tight fit......
Posted 10 June 2012 - 02:38 PM
As far as I know the only way to make a form fitting stencil for a lure body with multiple contours is to use a vacuum former. Most of us are satisfied to make stencils for separate body parts. One for kill spots....another for gills.....another for lateral lines.....etc.
If you plan on painting multiple baits for sale, and uniformity is a must, then you should check the archives for threads on building a vacuum former. The only drawback is that your stencil cutting machine will be of no use to you when cutting openings for the various body parts on a vacuum formed stencil.
Edited by RayburnGuy, 10 June 2012 - 02:40 PM.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 07:48 AM
Have you tried the 3-5mil laminating sheets.......office depots, etc.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 11:02 AM
It won't do the form fitting stencils like the vacuum former thing. And you make a good point on the different things used on a lure, Ben. You'd have to make several vacuum formed stencils for those as well.
Selling lures would be too much like work Ben! Like a lot of these guys have, once you start doing something you enjoy for hire, it becomes a chore. I don't want to lose the fun part. LOL
I'm wrong to say this machine will not make compound contours. It does have the laser registration used for contour cutting. I've read bits and pieces in various places about it, but haven't seen a full blown article on it.
What I wanted to do was wrap a lure, flatten it, scan it and take it into the software to draw a pattern for cutting: You can see it took some doing to wrap the lure....
I could cut flaps to do that, but can't put all the details on a single stencil anyway.
I'll plead still learning the software which isn't that hard. Right out of the box anyone can cut the installed graphics or download one from several thousand ready to cut designs. I've cut decals with very delicate letters testing how tight it can cut. Cut one that said Believe in Yourself for my son. When I finished weeding, it read Believe in Your elf. Being a gamer he thought that was cute.
152ndStreetBaits, I'll have to pick up some laminating sheets. I've cut vinyl, 65 lb charcoal paper, shelf paper. Still have gift wrap, dividers, and a boatload of other stuff to be tested. The presets for cutting include 80 lb card stock, transparency film, magnet paper and fabric.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 01:10 PM
I know how you feel about keeping this a hobby Gary. By keeping it a hobby I can spend as much time experimenting and trying new things as time and money will allow. If I were to do it as a business then it would be all about deadlines and profit margins. I've worked more than enough 80 to 100 hour weeks in my life. Now it's my time and I plan on enjoying it as much as possible.
Posted 11 June 2012 - 01:31 PM
The transparency film is probably the same as laminating sheets.
Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:54 AM
Now I want one! I have a hard time posting pictures, I can't imagine the nightmare that would cause!
Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:54 PM
Congrats on the new machine garyo1954-
I noticed in reading this post that you didn't include the file format that could be of help. .dxf files can be imported into (rather opened) in Silhoutte SD software. I draw many of my models of lures in google sketchup and the use a plugin to export as a .dxf. From there I can import into Silhoutte software. In my case I tweak the files more in illustrator which can import/export .dxf files. Feel free to PM me if you need assistance on files. I create digital die cut files for a living in the scrapbook/paper craft community.
Posted 19 June 2012 - 02:18 AM
Thank you gomezn.
These really are nice machines with a lot of potential. Being new and learning something new every time I open studio, I'm overly cautious about things I say. Family and graduation, and life in general, keeps me from playing with it more than I do. It's done more boyfriend loves girlfriend, hearts, and names in vinyl and cool paper than actual fishing stuff.
One of the biggest advantages personally has been learning the different file types and the programs that use them. I downloaded Inkscape and Make the Cut. Two very nice programs. After looking at all these programs and getting an understanding of what and how this machine works, I keep getting the urge to drag out the cnc router and set it up again.
The cnc blew the fan, and blew the replacement burning up the hard drive the second time. For that and various reasons it got set aside. But this actually give me a basic understanding of how the cnc works.
Today was the first time I tried to cut something more rigid than vinyl. This is a notebook divider. I used the setting for 80 lb cardstock. Its the first time the blade has been on any setting higher than 1 and you can see how it cute the body patterns.
The reason there are four patterns is I scanned the sketches into the computer, took those into studio, cut them in half, and mirrored each half.
Then I chose the one I liked. It is the easiest way I could get good symmetry.
I did stay outside 1/8 inch to leave room for rounding the body.
I apologize if it seems I'm not keeping up with this thread, but I'm a newbie. LOL
On the other hand, I found a rigid material, that is reusable, and will not stick to the lure. And I now know how to duplicate the pattern of the body as many times as I need adding various parts of one design, or even several different designs for the same body style.
A few times I wished I could just put a basic tutorial together, but I've yet to find this particular use for these machines is being discussed anywhere. I'd be happy with feedback from anybody on it.
Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:38 AM
Uploaded a frog I finished using a stencil made by the Cameo.
This morning someone asked if I could personalize a lure.
So I played with it. Came up with a stencil with lettering 1/4" high by 1/2" wide.
Looks like this on the lure.....
Better than trying to decipher my handwriting, I'd say.
Maybe I should just put my email on them.
When I lose them, they pull the log ashore in South America, they could email me!
Hope everyone is having a great summer!
Posted 13 July 2012 - 03:16 PM
I have played with these for years. The big trick is to steo up to one that will export directly from adobe in the the machine software. They work ok for limited runs like making your own stencils etc when they are new but the force put onto the material by the cutting blade will soon throw the machine out of tollarence. at forst you can tighten things up untill the bearing giv way then you will find that things just dont look like you have drawn them. Unlike standard vinyl cutters that cut thin mterial with a backing these machines also require the user to attach the material to be cut to a backing pad for cutting. I was useing a 3m spray adhisive then cleaning it off with acetone. also the material i found that worked best was some clear thick stuff from officemax. I actualy have one on these machines sitting on my shelf think i paid around 1500 for it and its junk to me but mabey someone out there wants it for say $100 you pay shipping. attached is a pic of some stuff im doing with our new 3d lasers...
Posted 13 July 2012 - 08:38 PM
Your pictures show do good work. But I think most everyone here is aware of the videos on how they can make their own molded stencils with a vacuum cleaner and a hair dryer. A tutorial and/or video link was posted in the original thread.
Still, you and Rod do excellent work.
Silhouette Cameo comes with it's own studio software. It is self contained. Simple design and cut interface. There is no need to step up to Adobe or illustrator. Just open Silouette Studio, design and cut. Yes, it is that simple.
You can also download Inkscape for free, or Make The Cut, or Sure Cuts A Lot or Signblazer and make designs in those as well.
This machine will cut standard vinyl with its own backing and no additional cutting mat.
It will cut material like 80 lb card stock, fabric, magnet paper, and other materials with a cutting mat.
The Cameo has a cutter with 10 depth settings and I've yet to have it passed 3. And that is cutting 80 lb card stock.
If you have any doubts, please watch a few youtube videos listed under Silhouette Cameo. And do what I did: Discuss it with USCutters. I chose this machine after talking to them about their MH and SD series. And it was on their recommendation I chose this one as a hobby machine, not a production model.
I'm still using the original cutting mat with no problems. There are instructions on the net how to clean your mat to make it like new. It's not like you need a new mat every project. Or every day, or week, or month. Some people have made their own mats from transparency film. But replacement cutting mats, when they are needed, are $12 - $15 at wal-mart.
Same with replacement blades. $10 - $15 depending on where you get them. And you're not going to need new blades every project, every week, month, etc. Unless somebody abuses this machine, it will last. But like any other tool, you have to use it properly.
Now, at one point, I thought about cutting a design, taping over it and using the vacuum method to see if it could produce a molded stencil. I didn't get around to that because this machine is not a once dimensional machine.
I've cut names, hearts, angels, pixies, fairies, window decals, fold up 3D projects, even standard adhesive backed vinyl for mailboxes.
And If you watch the videos on youtube, you will see people download images, take them directly into studio, trace them, make a copy they can resize, cut as a silhouette, or make stencils of each individual piece and airbrush the entire picture from stencils. This machine is simple enough and has enough uses to be used by every member of the family. That's coming from a single guy whose siblings and friends have found more uses for it than intended when I bought it.
Again, you and Rob do excellent work. But for me, and the hobbyists like me, who don't buy the standard sized pre-cut lures, a machine like this offers the chance to design and cut an original stencil that we can resize and cut to fit whatever lure we are working on. Yes, I can design, or import, a 3" pattern in Silhouette studio and shrink it to 1.5" or smaller, or larger, on the fly and cut it immediately.
Now, the original thread was a discussion by people who cut their own bodies, like I do, brainstorming on an easy way to cut stencils to match the bodies they cut. This machine does that very well. You can make a design, duplicate it, mirror it, resize it, and cut it using just the software that comes with the machine. It connects to your computer and is as simple to operate as a printer.
The question was, "Would it work?"
The answer is "Yes, it does."
And I haven't seen the need to post pages and pages of stencils to show how well it works.
I will be more than happy to answer any questions you have, but please before you make unfounded statements that are simply untrue due to not being familiar with the machine or the software that runs it, ASK.
Lastly, you and Rob do excellent work, but what you offer does not meet my needs.
Edited by garyo1954, 13 July 2012 - 08:39 PM.
Posted 13 July 2012 - 08:56 PM
Yes they do work but only for a while and videos put up on the net im sure are showing newer machines. These are all the same as a basic vinyl cutter with one exception..they have a stronger relay to push the pen down and larger stepper motors.
the issue is the bearings on these machines just dont hold upto the force needed to cut even .10 mill material.
But again ive only been useing these for six yrs or so and replaced many parts on them so what do i know but that being said i used the hell out of the machines and put more hours on one in a month than you will in a lifetime so it may work well for you. If you want another one email me its 100 bucks with the sign cut software that will import adobe..take care
Posted 13 July 2012 - 10:23 PM
It appears you bought a hobby machine to do a commercial job. That has never worked for me either. My CNC router is setting idle. Burnt two fans and a hard drive using it for purposes it was never intended. I put 305s on the x,y, and z axis to make sure that wouldn't happen. But bad stuff happens when our machine can't handle our intent. My fault I burnt it up.
I don't know what machine you have, but it is not a Silhouette Cameo. The Cameo was released in the Fall 2011.
I don't know where you get the idea this machine won't cut material .10 mil material.
I cut .16 millimeter/4mil card stock easily.
Do you mean 10 mil or .10 millimeter?
Edited by garyo1954, 13 July 2012 - 10:28 PM.
Posted 13 July 2012 - 11:48 PM
Like I said I have a silhouette cameo, its collecting dust on my shelf....goodluck!