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Plotter Cutter Tests - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Jul 29th, 2012 10:34 pm
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Angusog
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Zing Plotter Cutter Tests i have been playing with the last few days

very happy with the way the cutter works, good clean cut, precise and the most important repeatable



this is cut and still attached to the cutting mat



outside removed from the mat, still on the steep learning curve for the software that comes with the cutter, but it is comming together.



three copies cut out of photo paper to be laminated to give me the thickness required for the walls of the signal box.



Here you can see the lamination sitting on top of one another very precise all exactly the same. very pleased with this try have had a few failures, not due to the cutter, but me rushing into trying it out and getting it cut. this signal box is just an experiment to see ifi can get it to work , the plan is to use Scalescene kits and use the cutter to cut them out, giving me a good clean cut accuracy and above all a square cut, still have to find out how to get the scalescenes pages into the software for the cutter to be able to see the outline, not having much luck with that but I am sure I'll get there.

As I said the above is cut from HP Matte photo paper, I have cut 1.5mm card and that turned out reasonably well, but concern over how long the blade would last, made me go the laminate route, at $15.00 each blades are not cheap, but blurb says they should last around 6 months cutting craft card.

will update this post as i learn more from using the software attached to my cutter.




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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 10:19 am
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It certainly gives a good clean result Angus but I suspect you'll need to build quite a few structures to justify the cost - unless you're thinking of going commercial :roll::roll::roll:

There's a company in York, UK, who seem to make a living out of models - laser cut and  mainly "architectural" but also now offering bits and pieces for model railways.

Thinking about it, I presume "laser cut" means the "normal" blade is guided by a laser and not the sort of laser James Bond encountered in the film Goldfinger .........................:hmm



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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 10:46 am
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Peter, one kit I have was done like James Bond - heat applied perfectly straight & narrow & it almost goes all the way through the timber



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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 11:25 am
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Angusog
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Aye lots of dollars , but for quickness and accuracy I couldn't come close peter, and i believe they do use lasers as in goldfinger, to do the wooden kits, I think thats why they are dark on the edges, from burning, hobby ones are available for a price 1k+ if i remember right. i need lots of buildings fro my layout and maybe later on if i can master the software i could sell a few to get a few pennies back, i could always give up model trains and do scrap-booking, very simple designs for cutting sell for $2. but somehow i don't think i will :)

as a by note tried to assemble the signal box, back to the drawing board i think folding the 2 ends in De-laminated  the layers. i think i need to separate them, tried mitreing the inside that wasn't so successful. still was only an experiment to begin with will try again  and see what i can do with separate parts.

Thanks for the comments guys


Robert



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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 03:39 pm
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With that level of accuracy Robert (sorry, I called you "Angus" last time :oops::oops: - at least it wasn't "Og" :roll:), you could mauybe make each lamination narrower by the thickness of each and have a multi-step joint - if you understand what I mean.  That would give you acres of gluing area and the joint could be covered with the covering papers going round the corner. :roll::roll:



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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 08:57 pm
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Angusog
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I think I know what you mean Peter, stepping each layer in by the paper thicknes to give me what I would call a stepped mitre, each corner fitting in to its opposite edge. thats do-able without too much hassle , would require that i make 3 layers each slightly different in size. In photo 1 you can see the de-lamination on the middle of the last 6 window section, not a big deal can be sorted, also I think if I left it to dry properly might help a bit to



In the next photo I have attached some Random Ashlar from Scalescenes, makes a big difference from the white card I think i could have a passable model with some work.



what do you guys think


Robert

ps Peter don't matter what you call me angus, ang, Robert, hey you seems to work too :)



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 Posted: Mon Jul 30th, 2012 09:57 pm
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:mutley:mutley:mutley

I see where you mean about the delamination Robert.  I thought, from your earlier post, that it was on the corner.  As it is, there doesn't seem to be any need to do the "stepped mitre" joint (as you so accurately named it. :thumbs).

You've suggested you tried to assemble it before the glue was properly dry so waiting longer would almost certainly overcome the problem - particularly if you left the panels under some kind of weight whilst they dried.  I use some old hardbacked books I dug up from the attic.  The glossy dustcovers don't seem to stick to PVA much and the old books are things like "The Children's Encyclopaedia of Panzer Tanks" etc. etc..........(but I'm sure you don't need to use Panzers as a press ! :lol::lol::cheers



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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2013 09:07 am
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Hi Robert:

Can I ask you some things about your Zing cutter. I am considering getting one because my partner is very into card craft and the cutter she has at the moment (a Cricut) won't allow her to cut anything other than their own shapes. I'm just wondering if it could be used for cutting out railway building shapes.

Did you get the'Make the Cut' software with the machine?

How did you get on with your experiments with Scalescenes paper, will the pixel trace in MTC work with that?

How did you get on with the corner joints?

I think you said that it would cut 1.5mm card is that thick enough to be used on its own? Perhaps with some reinforcement at the corners etc.

I've seen a video on Youtube of it cutting balsa wood, have you tried that and how did you get on?

Last question and probably the most important one, can you use your own CAD drawings in the software to create a cutting file? In other words will the software recognise a DXF file?

Sorry to be a pest asking all these questions and it does seem an expensive alternative to a craft knife but it will be dual purpose in our case.

Thanks.

Regards

Chris





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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2013 09:33 am
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The blurb says that it will cut 'craft plastic'.
Any idea what craft plastic is?
If it's styrene, I have a huge use for it!

Unfortunately it's not native for Mac but there are work arounds.
Thanks for the pics.



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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2013 11:15 am
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Hi Robert,

After reading yout thread, I went searching for a demo on the Zing Plotter Cutter and found this ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlp_u--_lvg Very impressive I must say. Not only cutting square shapes, it'll cut any shape. This demo shows the cutter cutting 2mm balsa wood !

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2013 01:34 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi Gary: Where do you reckon he got the 2mm balsa is it only available in Australia? I can only find 1.5mm or 2.5mm in the UK.

Regards

Chris

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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2013 06:25 pm
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Angusog
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Hi Chris
in answer to your reply

Did you get the'Make the Cut' software with the machine?  yes it came with the software

How did you get on with your experiments with Scalescenes paper, will the pixel trace in MTC work with that?, not very successful with that yet , the pixel trace picks up to many colours, making it difficult to pick the edge of buildings etc.

How did you get on with the corner joints?, cuts very square corners, no problem

I think you said that it would cut 1.5mm card is that thick enough to be used on its own? Perhaps with some reinforcement at the corners etc. with card that thick you have to do 2 or even 3 passes to cut through, but it will cut it

I've seen a video on You tube of it cutting balsa wood, have you tried that and how did you get on?, haven't tried the balsa trick yet

Last question and probably the most important one, can you use your own CAD drawings in the software to create a cutting file? In other words will the software recognize a DXF file?  no as far as i am aware you can only import svg/svgz, and vector files into the software, workaround would be to pixel trace the file, it seems to work well with Inkscape drawings.

hope this helps Chris.


The blurb says that it will cut 'craft plastic'.
Any idea what craft plastic is?
If it's styrene, I have a huge use for it!

I haven't tried it on craft plastic( whatever that is) but i think it would cut styrene easily enough DD.

for $500 it is very expensive, but cuts can be made very accurately, and importantly very square, the signal box i tried was a partial success, mainly in i didn't research the scale size, and made them too big, but was quite pleased with the results, had it a while now and still using the first blade, only been cutting vinyl and photo paper, my layout has been on hold for 6 months because i got a new job, so not done a lot of train work with it. Hoping to correct that soon.

hope this is of some assistance

Robert




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 Posted: Tue Mar 12th, 2013 10:10 pm
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Thanks, Robert.
Sounds very promising.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 13th, 2013 06:22 am
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Brookwood wrote: Hi Gary: Where do you reckon he got the 2mm balsa is it only available in Australia? I can only find 1.5mm or 2.5mm in the UK.

Regards

Chris


Hi Chris,

Many of our hobby shops stock balsa of all different sizes and shape, ie square, round, triangular, eliptical and flat. Even our major home/hardware store (Bunnings) stock balsa. If you have a hobby shop that specialises in RC planes and boats, they may be able to help you out, even if it is a foreign order.

Cheers, Gary.



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 Posted: Wed Mar 13th, 2013 08:59 am
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Hi Robert:
 
Thanks for your speedy response and very helpful replies. I think I’m going to give it a go. I’ll start by downloading the free trial version of MTC and have a play with that.
 
All the videos on the internet are mostly for card crafters rather than model makers but I'm a great believer in crossing boundaries.


Did you do the drawings for your signal box in MTC or another program and import it?
 
I can understand the problem with the Scalescenes paper and tracing it. I have the same difficulty with photographs in my CAD program and have to do a manual trace all the time.
 
 Can you do a manual trace in MTC or does that take too long?
 
Thanks for the information about DXF I was afraid that was going to be your answer. There are a lot of conversion programs on the Internet so I might have to try one of those.
 
Hi Gary: Thanks for the help. I’ll keep looking.


Regards


Chris
 

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 Posted: Wed Mar 13th, 2013 07:20 pm
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Angusog
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Hi Chris

All the videos on the internet are mostly for card crafters rather than model makers but I'm a great believer in crossing boundaries.

Did you do the drawings for your signal box in MTC or another program and import it?

I can understand the problem with the Scalescenes paper and tracing it. I have the same difficulty with photographs in my CAD program and have to do a manual trace all the time.

Can you do a manual trace in MTC or does that take too long?

Thanks for the information about DXF I was afraid that was going to be your answer. There are a lot of conversion programs on the Internet so I might have to try one of those.

I did the drawing in MTC. which was just rectangles, i have been meaning to try it again but haven't had time, I am sure that it can do what we want regarding card modeling, just got to adapt it to our use rather than scrapbooking.

manual trace is not possible as far as I know but they have updated MTC lately,

and as you say heap of programs to convert DXF, a free one is Inkscape.

Regards

Robert




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 Posted: Wed Mar 13th, 2013 08:17 pm
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Had a trawl through Google for this type of machine, cheapest in UK looks to be the A4 size Silhouette Portrait by Graphtec at £180 or the A3 Cameo from the same maker at £280. I guess A4 would be large enough for working in N gauge. I've got some coach sides printed on vinyl and find cutting out windows to be a PITA. Would one of these cutters do the job for me?

I think I'll watch fleabay for a few days and see if any used ones come up.:roll:




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 Posted: Thu Mar 14th, 2013 08:18 am
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Don't know if this is any good:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Graphtec-Robo-/281077375750?pt=UK_Papercraft_Tools_Accessories_2&hash=item4171846306

Note that it's being sold by a 'newbie'.



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 Posted: Thu Mar 14th, 2013 09:09 am
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Angusog
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Just a word of caution on these machines  folks, do your research, the blades for my Zing cost $40+, the cameo silhouette have a blade and holder in one and cost around $60+. not sure on the graphtec Robo replacement. there are some on ebay cheaper , but again some research required , i bought some roland ones and they dont fit, only cost me $7 so no biggie.

regards

Robert



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 Posted: Thu Mar 14th, 2013 09:24 am
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ddolfelin
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Good advice but it's difficult to find the answers of the questions I would want to ask.
a) Will it cut curves? (assume yes)
b) What thickness of styrene would it cut?
c) Are there flat-bed types as well as rotary?
Vinyl cutters have been around for years (mostly used in the Sign industry) and it would be worth seeing what they could do to a sheet of, say 1mm styrene as there must be cheap secondhand types available.
Signmakers are usually the first victims of a slump.



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