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drdmh

Cutting Vacuum Stencils

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So, I got set up with a vacuum stencil maker and made a couple for each bait I paint.  When i went to dremel out the designs, I failed miserably.  It was awful.  I see some of these guys on youtube moving around with their end mill bit like it's there job.  I don't have the touch apparently.  Anyone else find an acceptable option minus the exacto knife?  I'd like to get a craw, tiger stripe, and lateral line stencils made but every one I try to make fails miserably.  Please help.

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The hot knife (exacto blade style) soldering iron bit works great!  

 

Sometimes I think it's a little too hot (melts too fast) though, so I actually prefer using the exacto knife and just heat it up with a torch ever so often. I prefer to have a little resistance when I cut for more control, but not melt away all the material (which leaves additional mess to trim up).

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I notice that you want to do tiger stripes. Try to do them by hand, not being perfect is just fine too. Just do them to your taste.

The questions I really can't answer because I like the exacto knife with a sharpie to do the out lining of a pattern. Of course this is for plastic bodies. For wooden bodies the vacuum style just really can't be use over and over again (the way I do it). I still do the same but in a two dimension stencil, unless I'm try to do something special. The reason is, I may not be able to use it again.

Give it a try,

Dale

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I use 2d stencils cut with an exacto knife as of right now. It turns out alright but for consistency from side to side, I'd like something a bit more repeatable. The scientific side of me really shines through sometimes. I appreciate your input though. This site has been priceless in this pursuit.

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I was referring to the tiger design. IMO, nothing like lines etc are perfect in nature. Each (fish) has a different look, however over the grand scheme of nature, a fish is perfect as far as its self in general.

That's what I meant about hand painting that scheme. I'm not a assembly line with baits. Each has its own characteristics, although will look like it species at the end. Overall I like painting baits in its natural scheme.

In other words, "non perfection is perfection".

Take Care,

Dale

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I'm in complete agreement with you Dave. My B.S. is in zoology. Animals have been a key part of my life since I was aware of my surroundings. Nothing in nature has a straight line or is symmetrical. Unfortunately, when dealing with other fisherman and the baits they're used to, that understanding isn't readily available. Even in this art form, I like to be the same side to side. I have drawn on lines and patterns by hand when it comes to smaller baits. It works well and looks nice. When I'm painting 15 fire tigers for a guy, I'd like to have something easily repeatable and in a relatively short amount of time.

Dave and dale I should say. Too many D names in one thread.

-Dane

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DRDMH, I feel your stencil making pain. A couple of years ago, my experience was the same as yours and I gave up on vacuum form stencils. Recently, I decided to give it another go. After trying all the methods describe throughout this thread, I settled on the Xacto knife method for cutting stencils. Local hobby shop recommend the Excel Double honed blades as they are a better quality blade. He warned me that I would use a lot of them, and I do. After cutting, then I use the knife, sandpaper, Dremel sanding disks and a Dremel cutting bit to further shape and smooth out the stencil.

It's a slow painstaking process and there is a lot of trial and error, but for me it's worth all the effort. I was looking for a "silver bullet" method of just draw, cut and use, and I didn't find it.

I'm happy with my process and waiting to get more Petg sheets delivered so I can knock out some more.

Added photo of the Fire Tiger template I made for a six oz jig.

David

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Edited by dpalinsk
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Hot knife is definitely the ticket. hand draw your design onto the stencil with a fine point permanent marker. then let the hot knife get as hot as possible. I usually wait for a while and test out how hot it is by trying to cut a piece of scrap. this hot knife works well and is inexpensive:  http://www.michaels.com/walnut-hollow-professional-hotknife/10389558.html

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Hot knife is definitely the ticket. hand draw your design onto the stencil with a fine point permanent marker. then let the hot knife get as hot as possible. I usually wait for a while and test out how hot it is by trying to cut a piece of scrap. this hot knife works well and is inexpensive:  http://www.michaels.com/walnut-hollow-professional-hotknife/10389558.html

 

Do you need to wear a respirator when you're using it?

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They just opened up a michael's in bismarck and I have yet to check out their stuff.  Hobby Lobby has a pretty good selection of createx paint but that's about it.  I think I'll be picking up that hot knife today.  Thanks again for the input everyone.

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