Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Attack of the silhouette cutter

In the stash of projects for the last couple of years has been a silhouette cutting machine. It's a clever device a bit like a low-rent laser cutter. Instead of light, the tool uses a small computer-controlled blade to cut things out of sheet materials. 

Aimed at the crafting and card making markets, it's a tool that has been enthusiastically embraced by many railway modellers as it's a great way to make all sorts of things. 

Needless to say, it's not expensive, I bought one and then waited for a project. OK, I had a look and then became distracted for rather longer than I'm proud of. 

However, the need to make some windows for a building on the BRM Runcord Salt Union project layout presented me with an ideal job. I needed lots of accurate windows and chopping then out by hand wasn't going to cut it. 

So, out with the cutter. Attached to the laptop I gave it a go with some test files. It's really easy to use except for one issue. You have to put your card, plastic, paper on a stick backing sheet before it goes into the machine. I did this, but when peeling the results off, they stuck so well they tore. 

Looking this up on the web, the solution is to pat the glue surface with a towel. Do this often enough and you remove enough glue so the cut material can be removed intact. Obviously how much sticky needs to be removed depends on the material. Paper is fragile, Plastikard less so. 

Anyway, I completed my project, and then made a video about it. 


Alec said...

Hi. I use a cricut maker and found with the standard blade like yours it would cut straight through 10 thou plastic card using the setting for acetate. Using the low tack mat they could be removed without damage.

James Finister said...

As you know there is a stack of information about these on RMweb. I did find that things which helped included buying different backing sheets and blades, and altering the cutting order. Ages ago I cut out the pieces for your Pug based MW conversion on mine. I wonder which box that is in...

Dave Smit said...

A really useful thread on RMWeb regarding these cutters