Jump to content




Posted Image

The 2018 OO Wishlist is now live - please read the Guide pages here before voting.


Photo
* * * * * 27 votes

A Guide to using the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

silhouette cameo cutter cutting structures coaches tools software Silhouette portrait styrene robo cutter




  • Please log in to reply
2299 replies to this topic

Poll: A Guide to using the Silhouette Cameo Cutter (686 member(s) have cast votes)

Do you currently own a cutting machine?

  1. Voted Yes (238 votes [34.69%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 34.69%

  2. Voted No, but I want to in the next 12 months (192 votes [27.99%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 27.99%

  3. No, I have no plans to buy one (65 votes [9.48%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 9.48%

  4. Voted I'm undecided at the moment (191 votes [27.84%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 27.84%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#51 Arthur

Arthur

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,236 posts
  • LocationSalford Lad in the Forest of Dean.

Posted 29 November 2013 - 11:50

For thicker sheet, would it be possible to do the first cut, flip the sheet over and recut a mirror image on the reverse side. It would require totally accurate registration.



#52 Ron Heggs

Ron Heggs

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,120 posts
  • LocationJalon, Spain

Posted 29 November 2013 - 11:53

From simple to simples  :o

 

This is the bridge, as it was in 1944 - Demolished in 1973 -

 

http://images.manche...ue&refirn=78785



#53 katwigan

katwigan

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 141 posts

Posted 29 November 2013 - 12:02

That's pretty impressive work there Ron, haven't quite got that size or complexity, however I have about 30 of these to produce to go around the larger gasometer of the two that will feature in Wigan Gasworks.

IMGP0412.JPG

These are made up of two seperate sections forming the lattice and a top and bottom plate all cut from approx. 0.012" card.

IMGP0411.JPG

JCL - do you write this sort of article for a living? so professional, so clear and descriptive. Hope nobody minds us jumping in here and there :blackeye: 

Kev T


  • Like x 3
  • Craftsmanship/Clever x 1
  • Agree x 1

#54 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 29 November 2013 - 13:13

Not at all :) Kev, from time to time I used to write computer manuals. I'm very aware that I'm putting these instructions up as I write them, hence me saying that if when following them they don't make sense then give me a shout. If you look back to the first page, I did the latticework on the bridge in exactly the same way.

Hi Ron, with regards to your bridge, wow! There's no reason why you can't cut it. Though in my experience, I've found that you need a .5mm gap between cuts. Your vertical panelling "struts" in the two widest parts on the bridge arches would have to reflect this. How wide is each vertical? If they are really narrow, and you if you do need to laminate two layers of them together, would it be easier to cut them off and then use plastic strip?

My first thought regarding cutting would be to just cut that section on the two layers as a test and see how you get on. Then you'll know if you can line up the vertical ribs to your satisfaction, and that's key, it has to be to your satisfaction, not someone else's; unless it's a commission of course!

With regards to the length, if you decide to do them on one piece, then you need a mat that's long enough. Maybe Mikes idea but cut a 12"x24" mat to 8.5"x24" would do the job. People with Portraits, you can cut longer than 12" can't you?

I think that this leads me nicely to the following:

1. this machine obviously does have some limitations. One thing you need to do is recognize when you should use the machine and when you ought to use plastic strip.

2. On the other hand, the machine gives you the freedom to more easily try new things. An example would be the coach sides. If, like me, you'd never created one before, how many of you would hand cut a whole coach side just to test some gluing and painting ideas? I know I wouldn't have. With your design created though, and not withstanding the price of styrene, you could cut an extra side or two to use for practicing new techniques as simply as you can cut one.

3. We've talked a lot about styrene output, but plastic sheet can be expensive, so I tend to test fit by prototyping in card first to keep the costs down. Yes it's a different medium that cuts differently, but for checking I haven't done something stupid in the cutting plan the card is ideal

I'll leave others with vastly more experience to talk about gluing up. :)

Edited by JCL, 29 November 2013 - 13:19 .

  • Informative/Useful x 2
  • Thanks x 1
  • Like x 1

#55 Ron Heggs

Ron Heggs

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,120 posts
  • LocationJalon, Spain

Posted 29 November 2013 - 13:37

Hi, JCL

 

All good commonsense - only cut what is practical and fill in with strip

 

The majority of the vertical bars are 1mm and wider. However, the vertical bars in the triangular sections are only 0.5mm wide. These can be omitted and replaced by strip

 

The first trial build for the CLC Bridge was done in card before the final build in styrene. This enabled the methodology to be checked and proved, and using recycled low cost materials

 

Ron


  • Like x 2

#56 Ron Heggs

Ron Heggs

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,120 posts
  • LocationJalon, Spain

Posted 29 November 2013 - 13:51

That's pretty impressive work there Ron, haven't quite got that size or complexity, however I have about 30 of these to produce to go around the larger gasometer of the two that will feature in Wigan Gasworks.

attachicon.gifIMGP0412.JPG

These are made up of two seperate sections forming the lattice and a top and bottom plate all cut from approx. 0.012" card.

attachicon.gifIMGP0411.JPG

JCL - do you write this sort of article for a living? so professional, so clear and descriptive. Hope nobody minds us jumping in here and there :blackeye: 

Kev T

Hi, Kev

 

Your constructions are just what I was hoping to do to complete the Castlefield Viaduct which employs hundreds of similarly constructed trusses, albeit in styrene

 

IMG_0533.JPG

 

Ron


  • Like x 3
  • Thanks x 1
  • Craftsmanship/Clever x 1

#57 pete_mcfarlane

pete_mcfarlane

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,063 posts

Posted 29 November 2013 - 14:46

I'm tempted to get one of these for a spot of 4mm scale coach construction. Hand cutting panelling overlays is time consuming!

 

A slightly thick question - how long do the blades last? I suppose the real question here is 'should I buy a spare blade with the machine?'.



#58 uax6

uax6

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,752 posts
  • LocationIn the signalbox!

Posted 29 November 2013 - 15:18

Going from a conversation with Jason while we were trying out some odds and ends he mentioned somewhere around 4 sheets of plasticard. Now you can get a replacement after market ally holder which takes <much> cheaper blades. see this blog, which gives links to the ebay vendor of the said tool. The replies all seem very positive about it. http://ligayatg.blog...ade-holder.html

 

 

 

I also think that you will be able to resharpen the blades on an oilstone as you can remove them. $17 for 6 knives and $25 for the holder, a steal over the cost of the OEM blades!

 

I've asked SHMBO to buy that holder (with the 45* blades) and a set of 60* blades for chrissy.....

 

Andy G


Edited by uax6, 29 November 2013 - 15:20 .

  • Agree x 1

#59 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 29 November 2013 - 15:26

Hi Ron, the beauty us that you can try a section before you build. The cutter will certainly help with what you want to achieve. I'd say the 1mm parts are good! and while you could cut the .5mm ones, laminating those bits will be difficult yo say the least.

Thus is something to think about - when is a rectangle not a rectangle? When it's four lines. When the the cutter cuts a rectangle, the blade is plunged into the material which is then moved along to cut the first line. The direction of the blade changes as it goes around the corner, and then continues until the second side is cut. This continues until your shape is done. At this point the blade is raised.

The problem is that, as the blade went around the corner, it was fighting had resistance of the material. Normally this doesn't matter, but for very fine work, you might think that this produces a cut that is less accurate than what you need. An alternative in these situations is to create the rectangle using four lines drawn in a rectangular shape. When you do this, the blade will be raised at the end of each line and will turn as it's going back in, so there is less resistance. Looking at your bridge, hopefully you will also make a lot of use of groups to speed things up and ensure consistency.

I've just had a look at your thread, wow, you do amazing work! I can't wait to see how you get on!

Pete, I was talking to someone the other day, an we think a blade will last about four coaches. About £3 per coach.
  • Informative/Useful x 2
  • Thanks x 1
  • Like x 1

#60 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 29 November 2013 - 15:39

Hi Andy,

Yep,, it seems that the 45 degree does the heavy lifting, and the 60 degree does the fine work and the really thick stuff. I'm going to hint to my wife too as I've read those blades might also do a better job as well as being cheaper. They will need some setting up by the looks of it, and check the warranty of your machine before using it in case something did go wrong. If you're happy with the risk then it certainly seems like the better way to go. The blade is pretty small Andy, it'll be interesting to see if it can be sharpened!

While I'm here, I've picked up a pen holder to put a scribing tool in, I'm hoping that this will do two things - cut down the cost of scribing styrene for matchboard coaches, etc, and produce thicker scribed lines. I could have hollowed out an old blade to do this, but I'm hoping that, as we are looking at fine tolerances, the pen holder will allow me to locate the scribed more accurately. We'll see.

Cheers

Jason

Edited by JCL, 29 November 2013 - 19:01 .

  • Informative/Useful x 1

#61 MikeTrice

MikeTrice

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,609 posts

Posted 29 November 2013 - 18:12

Out of interest, I ordered a Portrait from Yolo Wednesday evening. Delivered today using free postage.

 

I have lots of ideas I want to try out but for the moment JCL, am content to let you continue your excellent tutorial. No pressure then ;-)



#62 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 29 November 2013 - 19:58

Splitting out the elements

Now I’ll have to separate out the elements based on what material you are going to use for them and what actions you are going to perform on them. On this project, when we start the cutter we will be doing the following:

  1. Scoring the panels in .020” styrene
  2. Cutting the scored sides in .020” styrene
  3. Cutting the details in .010” styrene

So, based on the information above, and assuming you are done editing, save the file three times with the following names:

  • Coal Office 020 score v1.studio
  • Coal Office 020 cut v1.studio
  • Coal Office 010 cut v1.studio

To ensure that each file only contains the correct elements to be cut or scored, you should now do the following:

  1. In the Coal Office 010 cut v1.studio file that should still be open as it was saved last, delete the office and score lines from this file. You can move the doors and windows to the left hand side as they won't be scored.
  2. For the door, I make a second duplicate. In the first duplicate I delete everything but the door frame, in the second duplicate I delete only the inside of the door frame. This should give me two shapes that have the same outer dimensions. I do the same with the window.
  3. Open Coal Office 020 score v1.studio and delete all of the red lines. Do not move any of these elements because they need to line up with the cut lines in the next step.
  4. Open Coal Office 020 cut v1.studio and delete all of the green lines and the details (door frames, doors, etc). You should only have the office walls visible. Do not move any of these elements as, again, they need to line up with the score lines.
  5. Save all of the files.

Once all of the parts are split out, you should have the image below. To recap, the red lines are cut-lines, the green lines are score lines. The end result of the splitting out will be this.

That’s three different stages. It is critical that the scored lines are cut in exactly the right place for when we come to cut the sides out. As long as you don’t move the score and shed elements around from now on you will be ok.

 

Again, I didn't include the roof, so you may have the roof in your cutting diagram.

 

splitting out.jpg

 

An alternative to the above is to have the .020" scorelines and .020" cut lines in the same file. You could then run the cutter to score all the score lines and cut lines at the same time, then delete the score lines, change the settings from score to cut and run the file again. This means that it isn't imperative that you don't move things around. On the downside, if you want to make multiple copies on different sheets of styrene you'll have to add the scorelines back in afterward. I hope that makes sense.

 

Cutting

 

Please remember the conversation we had earlier. Until you know your machine’s quirks, it is better to undercut than overcut. One way to test your settings is to use a bit of the spare plastic or card that you will be using for the shed, and click on the test button on the cut window. This will draw a triangle inside a square. If it’s not quite right, adjust your settings and try again.

 

If you are happy, we can start cutting. The settings that work for me are as follows:

  • Scoring: Speed 1, Thickness 5, Cutting mat and double cut have ticks in them, blade setting 5
  • Cutting (.020” and .010” styrene) : Speed  1, Thickness 33, Cutting mat and double cut have ticks in them, blade setting 10

I tend to set the speed to 1 as I would rather have a more accurate cut than a quick cut. If you go faster the blade will take shortcuts on the corners. If I was scoring a series of straight parallel lines I would consider upping the speed as there are no corners.

 

Before we cut, a quick note about cleaning the blade. The blade is housed in a cartridge and must be kept free of debris, otherwise it won’t rotate properly, and the cut lines will not be as accurate. To do this, take the blade cartridge, unscrew the white cover at the bottom, and blow any dust out of the way. Do this after each cut.

 

taping.jpg

 

Assuming the cutter is plugged into the computer and switched on, to cut:

  1. The mat is a sticky surface that attracts crumbs, hair, styrene debris etc., so remove any that you see.
  2. Lay the .020” styrene onto the cutting mat, making sure it’s aligned correctly.
  3. Use your hands to smooth the card down. Feel over the whole sheet. If there are any bumps in the card take the styrene back off and remove the debris that’s causing it before trying again.
  4. Use tape to tape it down (I use medical tape as it’s thicker than Scotch tape and easier to peel off. I  put two pieces of tape on each side and one at the top, allowing the tape to cover about 1/8th“of the mat sides.
  5. Push the mat up to the Cameo so that it’s as far left as possible and square.
  6. Press the “Enter” button to allow the mat to feed into the cutter.
  7. Make sure you are looking at Coal Office 020 score v1.studio
  8. Type in the settings for scoring.
  9. Click on the cut button.

Wait for the cutter to finish. Don’t click the eject button on the machine!

 

After the last score line has been made:

  1. Open, or click on the tab for Coal Office 020 cut v1.studio.
  2. Make sure the cut settings are dialed in.
  3. Press the cut button.
  4. Press the cut button again for good measure.
  5. Click on the Enter button on the machine when done.

Because you didn’t press eject, the Studio software will create the wall edge cuts in perfect registration with the scored panel lines. It still surprised me when this happens. When the machine has finished, carefully remove the plastic from the mat. This can be difficult if the mat is new, so run a blunt old Stanley knife blade or some other thin underneath it at a shallow angle to gently pry it off.

 

Then, to create the details, open the file called Coal Office 010 cut v1.studio.

  1. Put some .010” styrene into the cutter and tape it down.
  2. Dial in the correct cut settings.
  3. Press the cut button.
  4. Definitely press the cut button a second time.
  5. Lift the styrene off the backing mat.

The .010” styrene will probably not be cut through the first time, you will need to run it at least once more to make sure the parts come away.  Again, if this is the case, don’t press the “Enter” button on the machine to eject before running the cut command again. If you do, then you’re finished!

 

_JCL2743.jpg

 

 

A Few Notes about Cutting

  • Make sure that there is plenty of room in front of and behind the cutter. You don't want the cutting mat to butt up against something and be unable to move.
  • I always score before cutting to remove the possibility of the pieces sliding around.
  • I check things more than once. It's cheaper to double check than to use another sheet of styrene because you've had to put the first in the bin. I still get it wrong on occasion.
  • I always tape the styrene down. It's no effort and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. This is especially true of smaller pieces of styrene.
  • Don't leave the tape on the mat in your excitement at getting something cool to cut properly. If you leave it and pull it off later you might find that it lifts the glue (hmm, might? think "will").
  • The "Undo" command is your friend.
  • You can save the settings that you find work for you using the "+" button below the settings list in the cut settings window.
  • You might find that your cutter doesn't cut absolutely in alignment with the zero of your mat. Mine doesn't, so there is a small bit of tape that shows me were zero is so I don't waste styrene.

 

Cleaning up

 

When you are done with the cutter, you may find you still have to pop out the window panes with the flat of a blade or on occasion lightly go around them with a scalpel. With the .020” styrene it’ll be a case of snapping the pieces from the styrene as if you’d scored the lines yourself. You may still need to sand or file a bit.

 

You could open out the score lines for the panels if you like with a compass or similar. To give them a better definition.

 

That’s it, after this it’s fettling, gluing, detailing and painting – the hard bit! ;)

 

In the image below, the roof was made of ScaleScenes tiles, but you could easily use the cutter to cut your own - plain or fancy, and the sign was done in Photoshop. I quickly painted it the other day for this tutorial, guttering etc still to come. Or, if I didn't like the paint job, I could always cut another one.

 

As an aside, the cutter will allow you to import an image, print it in your printer, then load it into the cutter and cut accurately around it. I'll cover that soon.

 

_JCL2747.jpg

 

Next time I'll talk about cutter maintenance.


Edited by JCL, 29 November 2013 - 20:00 .

  • Like x 6
  • Craftsmanship/Clever x 6
  • Informative/Useful x 2

#63 MikeTrice

MikeTrice

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,609 posts

Posted 30 November 2013 - 22:45

Well, I have created my artwork in Inkscape (which has the benefit of layers and more accurate drawing). I had read that it was possible to export the Inkscape drawing as  a cutter file, which results in a .dxf file extension. Silhouette Studio can then open the .dxf file. What became clear is that there are problems exporting some curves so you are limited to what drawing tools are used. My artwork is for a fully panelled coach with curved corners to the panelling so not a lot got exported correctly. I recognise I could upgrade to Studio Designer edition (which opens .svg files that Inkscape creates) but would then lose layer control and there would still be no guarantee the curves would convert correctly.

 

Hopefully all is not lost as it seems it is possible to cut directly from Inkscape using the cutter driver. Have not installed the driver yet, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will work.



#64 allan downes

allan downes

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,355 posts
  • LocationImmingham

Posted 30 November 2013 - 23:20

Apart from being very impressed by both the excellent tutorial and what the machine is capable of, I can see that it would be invaluable for cutting out the intricate paneling for say coach sides where accuracy would be more beneficial than speed but I just cannot see how it would be of benefit for large and complicated building construction for example - I just get the impression that by the time you have set everything up and made all the repeat cutting operations,  you could have the building built in half the time by the traditional methods - and just as accurate.

 

Just my thoughts on it and nothing more.

 

Cheers.

Allan



#65 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 01 December 2013 - 02:15

Hi mike, I think, if you like using Inkscape, instead of buying Studio paid for edition, it might be worth looking at CutWizard. The company that wrote it are British, and seem to be quick to answer questions if you have them, I think they even have a support number. Their details are on the first page. Definitely have a look at the trial first though before spending money.

Hi Allan, it's a valid point, and I'm pleased you've made it. One of the aims of the tutorials was to provide enough information to allow people to decide whether or not the machine would be useful to them, and I think that it's worked for a lot them. :)

Cheers

Jason

Edited by JCL, 01 December 2013 - 03:06 .

  • Like x 1

#66 allan downes

allan downes

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,355 posts
  • LocationImmingham

Posted 01 December 2013 - 11:12


Hi Allan, it's a valid point, and I'm pleased you've made it. One of the aims of the tutorials was to provide enough information to allow people to decide whether or not the machine would be useful to them, and I think that it's worked for a lot them. :)

Cheers

Jason

 

And it was also very kind of you to take the time to introduce this cutter, not many people would have been prepared go to all the trouble you obviously have in compiling a tutorial - admiral of you to say the least and I'm sure many will benefit from it.

 

Now where's my Stanley knife ....!

 

Cheers.

Allan.


  • Like x 2
  • Agree x 1

#67 MikeTrice

MikeTrice

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,609 posts

Posted 01 December 2013 - 14:52



I'm sure many will benefit from it.

 

Well I am. My first attempt in 10thou plasticard. Artwork in Inkscape printed using the Silhouette Portrait printer driver that come with the machine. I had to use post it notes to hold the panel reasonably flat to photograph it.

 

IMG_4372s.JPG

 

5p coin for comparison.


Edited by MikeTrice, 01 December 2013 - 14:53 .

  • Craftsmanship/Clever x 9
  • Like x 2

#68 uax6

uax6

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,752 posts
  • LocationIn the signalbox!

Posted 01 December 2013 - 16:06

Following on from Mikes post here is some of Jason and I's attempts at HR coach parts. HE was guiding me and we were experimenting with odds and ends.

 

Firstly the ends, heres the panelling:

DSC06020.JPG

 

And after laminating onto the end blank:

DSC06022.JPG

 

The way I laminated them was to line up the top edge (as this was the easiest place to line up) and added a small amount of plasticweld with a 00 brush. Then I brushed a little under each bead and stuck it down as striaght as I could (they are very thin and can move about). When they were all stuck, I turned it face down and pressed down on it for a minute or so, and jobs a good 'un.

 

Here's part of a reject side:

DSC06026.JPG

As you can see it has cut very well, and you can see the scoring we put on it to represent the replacement panels that this coach received during it's life. I can't remember what score setting Jason used (for he cut them on his machine, as I'm still waiting for mine!) but it needs going over with a compass point or something to make it more defined. This shot might show that detail better:

DSC06027.JPG

 

Now these two shots show the top layer panelling (which on this coach sits below the waist, as it is of Scottish panelling design (or three-layer) in much the same way Gresley stock is). this is a very fine lacework and frankly I would have a hope of cutting anything like this by hand!

DSC06031.JPG

DSC06033.JPG

 

Some parts have got some slight curvature to the panel edges where there should be striaght lines, but it isn't bad enough for me to scrap the side, it's still a 100 times better than I could do with a knife.

 

I also had some HR tender side frames cut, these I'm going to laminated together:

DSC06019.JPG

 

So very interesting so far, I'm still waiting for my machine to arrive though, and I also feel that there is going to be some experimenting to come too, especially with the Ally blade holder and the differnt angle blades.....

 

Andy G

 


  • Craftsmanship/Clever x 4
  • Like x 3
  • Informative/Useful x 2

#69 allan downes

allan downes

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,355 posts
  • LocationImmingham

Posted 01 December 2013 - 16:39

Following on from Mikes post here is some of Jason and I's attempts at HR coach parts. HE was guiding me and we were experimenting with odds and ends.

 

Firstly the ends, heres the panelling:

attachicon.gifDSC06020.JPG

 

And after laminating onto the end blank:

attachicon.gifDSC06022.JPG

 

The way I laminated them was to line up the top edge (as this was the easiest place to line up) and added a small amount of plasticweld with a 00 brush. Then I brushed a little under each bead and stuck it down as striaght as I could (they are very thin and can move about). When they were all stuck, I turned it face down and pressed down on it for a minute or so, and jobs a good 'un.

 

Here's part of a reject side:

attachicon.gifDSC06026.JPG

As you can see it has cut very well, and you can see the scoring we put on it to represent the replacement panels that this coach received during it's life. I can't remember what score setting Jason used (for he cut them on his machine, as I'm still waiting for mine!) but it needs going over with a compass point or something to make it more defined. This shot might show that detail better:

attachicon.gifDSC06027.JPG

 

Now these two shots show the top layer panelling (which on this coach sits below the waist, as it is of Scottish panelling design (or three-layer) in much the same way Gresley stock is). this is a very fine lacework and frankly I would have a hope of cutting anything like this by hand!

attachicon.gifDSC06031.JPG

attachicon.gifDSC06033.JPG

 

Some parts have got some slight curvature to the panel edges where there should be striaght lines, but it isn't bad enough for me to scrap the side, it's still a 100 times better than I could do with a knife.

 

I also had some HR tender side frames cut, these I'm going to laminated together:

attachicon.gifDSC06019.JPG

 

So very interesting so far, I'm still waiting for my machine to arrive though, and I also feel that there is going to be some experimenting to come too, especially with the Ally blade holder and the differnt angle blades.....

 

Andy G

 

Most impressive Andy G, and I certainly wouldn't like to cut them out freehand either !

 

Super stuff, most definitely a breakthrough in coach building - got anything for castles there ....?

 

Cheers.

Allan.


  • Agree x 2

#70 uax6

uax6

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,752 posts
  • LocationIn the signalbox!

Posted 01 December 2013 - 16:46

A Grounded coach body perhaps? ;-} or how about cutting all those arrow slits?

 

There are other uses (even after gaskets!) for this machine. Look at individual parts. Take Colin Parks 4SUB he is building at the minute. He has to put a rain strip above each door. They are made from 5 thou plasticard, with notches either end to fit into a recess he made in the shell. Now Ihave no idea how many doors a 4SUB has, but given 10 minutes to draw it on the PC, the cutter can turn out all you need in less time that it would take you to cut enough for the side of one coach.

 

Think od wagon strapping: That can have some really odd shapes, so now you can draw it (at many times full size) and get the machine to cut it out.

 

Andy G (off to do a bit more to another coach side drawing!)



#71 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 01 December 2013 - 16:59

Mike's done some great cutouts, and it looks like the Silhouette driver is a goer, which is great. With regards to the issue Mike had with rounded corners, it appears that Inkscape is at fault. I tried saving his SVG file as a DXF in Corel Draw and Silhouette opened them properly. I then did the same with Inkscape, and Silhouette showed the windows with square corners. I then tried to open the Inkscape generated DXF file in Inkscape itself and the corners were still square.

 

The best solution is Mike's, which is to use the Silhouette driver, which means you don't need the DXF files at all. If you use Corel Draw then it *shouldn't* be an issue, it'll be interesting to see if anyone uses that software.

 

Andy, I think I'll be installing the new knife before I cut any more, but after seeing Mikes cutouts, another play with the beading might be necessary.

 

cheers

 

Jason


  • Informative/Useful x 2

#72 uax6

uax6

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,752 posts
  • LocationIn the signalbox!

Posted 01 December 2013 - 18:52

I forgot to mention about the tender side frames that the outside edge of them is only 4 lines! I scanned a drawing of the tender and cropped it down to the side frames only. Then after making sure it was level (Do this on every drawing you trace, it makes life sooo much easier!) I drew the top line. Dead easy (I use studio) hold the shift key down and draw the line with the line tool. Holding the shift key down gives you a line that is dead striaght.

The I drew the two lines at the ends (same method).

I then dropped in some guide lines for the bottom edge, and the bottoms of the hornguides. (I use a different colour to you draw the main lines with) Now I drew a line along the bottom edge of the frame. Double click on that line (when you have changed to the pointer) and you get lots of dots. You can place these where you want the curves to start and finish, and then pressing the 'make curve' box on the right hand toolbox a lovely curve appears. I did this for all the curves on this line.

 

The cutouts were done with the rounded corner boox tool. When the box has been drawn you can click on the edge and the corner dots appear in one corner. Adjust these to get the curve you desire.

 

Andy G


  • Like x 1

#73 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 01 December 2013 - 19:50

Maintenance

There are a few things that you can do to maintain your machine to keep it running well.

 

Dust and chads

 

While you are cutting your machine will be creating bits of dust and small off-cuts. If you leave them there then they can affect the cutting accuracy and quality. As a photographer I bought a lens cleaner. Mine is a large bulb shaped like a rocket called at Giotto pocket rocket that can really make some wind, but there are loads of different types out there. Of course, you could also give it a blow. :)

 

Clean out the blade cartridge

 

The process of cutting will generally create dust. This is as true of styrene as it is of card. If the blade starts cutting badly it could be a sign that it is gummed up with debris. To check this, take it out of the cutter head and turn it upside down. If it looks like it needs a clean, unscrew the white disk that the blade pokes through and blow hard or dust with a soft paint brush until the debris has gone. Be really careful with it. I've got to the point where I clean out the blade after each cutting process just to be sure.

 

Replace the blade

 

Your blade will eventually get dull. You’ll know when this happens as the cuts won’t be as straight, and often they won’t go through the material like they used to. When this happens, and you are sure it’s not just dirty, take the blade cartridge out of the cutter head and put a new one in. Make sure the new one is set to the same blade depth number as the old one (see the video in the introduction) or you might forget to adjust it later. If you find you are using the cutter a lot consider having a backup blade on hand. There are other blade options out there, but buyer beware, as I haven’t tested them. Here’s a lady with a blog that has: http://ramblingsofab...ette-cameo.html

 

Replace the Cutting Strip

 

There is a black strip directly under the blade. If you are getting uneven cuts then it’s possible that this strip has ridges in it. This is often caused by the blade going too deeply and cutting a line into the plastic. If you rub your finger over the strip and it’s faulty, I’m afraid there’s nothing you can do except order a new one.

 

Cutting mat is too sticky

 

When new, the cutting mat is extremely sticky. This will disappear after the first few uses and will retain the same amount of stickiness for quite some time. You can avoid doing a detailed fragile design on a brand new mat, or do what I mentioned further up the thread, which is lift the design off the mat using a Stanley knife blade or similar.

 

The mat isn’t sticky enough

 

The mat may need cleaning. I drag the edge of a sharp steel ruler across it to remove dust, dog hair, and bits of stray plastic (the holes I cut into valance are extremely small!) You can also wash it with soapy water by all accounts. If none of this works, I use Goo Gone to get rid of the glue, mask around the edges, then spray a couple of times with 3M repositionable glue.

 

If you need a new mat, then apparently quilt making shops often stock suitable ones, but I've not needed one yet, and I think you don't need to unless you cut through it somehow.

 

OK, that's the main tutorial done now. I've not got access to the machine for a while, but I'll try to answer any questions I can. Also, it's great that you are all contributing to this, and people that have a machine or one on order, it'll be interesting to see how you are getting on.

 

It'll be worth trying details next and seeing what techniques can be used. I'm thinking of the following:

  • Sash windows - as per the signal box
  • Farm gates and crossing gates (including printing and cutting)  - from the Old Skool 3D thread
  • “Wrought Iron” - a new one for me. It'll be worth seeing how I get on in 4mm and/or 7mm scale.
  • Some sort of wagon with chassis

I'm not sure if I need to do the coach one because people are ahead of me already!

 

cheers

 

Jason


Edited by JCL, 01 December 2013 - 19:51 .

  • Informative/Useful x 4
  • Like x 2
  • Thanks x 1

#74 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 02 December 2013 - 02:06

Hi All

 

Here's the Silhouette file that was created during the writing of this tutorial for you to play around with. It includes the roof, and has had the detail moved from over the side walls ready to be split into three files. I've grouped the elements so hopefully you'll find the splitting easy.

 

The green lines are to be scored in .020"s styrene.

The red lines are to be cut in the same .020" styrene.

The blue lines are to be cut in .010" styrene.

 

This post has the details: http://www.rmweb.co....tter/?p=1245100

 

Click to download file from my server Again, check for viruses.

 

Attached File  Coal Office Sign.pdf   229.31KB   194 downloads

 

coal office.jpg

 

cheers

 

Jason


  • Informative/Useful x 5

#75 JCL

JCL

    Member


  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,933 posts
  • LocationVancouver Island, Canada

Posted 02 December 2013 - 06:47

Hi Mike

 

re: SVG to DXF file format conversion problem possible fix

 

I know you have a solution to the DXF format rounded corners issue, but I though I'd try something else in case it helps in some situations or with other people. When using Inkscape to convert an SVG file to a DXF file to import into Silhouette Studio, you can

  1. In Inkscape, select everything (Ctrl+A in Windows)
  2. Choose Path --> Object to Path from the menu options at the top
  3. Save as DXF
  4. Open the DXF file in Silhouette Studio
  5. Select the objects in Silhouette Studio and click on Object --> Release Compound Path to "unglue" everything.

The last step is necessary because Silhouette will often import all of the objects as one big object. This object cannot be edited, so the release compound path command splits the big object into its component parts. These component parts can be edited.

 

Hope that helps someone.

 

cheers

 

Jason


  • Informative/Useful x 4












Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: silhouette cameo, cutter, cutting, structures, coaches, tools, software, Silhouette portrait, styrene, robo cutter