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Plotter Cutter Tests - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Thu Mar 28th, 2013 07:04 pm
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hastran
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The one on the right was made using closed shape tools such the rectangle or polygon tools.  the one on the left is made with individual line that are not joined to each other. A lot more fiddly to make but once you've got it done you can just duplicate them to fill the page with window frames.



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 Posted: Fri Mar 29th, 2013 10:02 pm
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hastran
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Above on the left is the first window frame I cut with closed shapes. The Second one is cut with separate lines which does give squarer results but unfortunately makes them very delicate. The third one i tried distorting the bottom four panes to try and get them squarer but I don't thinks its made any significant different. 



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 Posted: Fri Mar 29th, 2013 10:11 pm
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hastran
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I didn't think this would work but here's an N gauge version.  Its not perfect but still better than anything you could cut by hand.



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 Posted: Fri Mar 29th, 2013 10:32 pm
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Simonmcp
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Hello Brian,

What you are seeing is the result of the fault with all tracing software - they round out the corners using Bezier curves. What you need to do is change the corner nodes to non-curved ones. This will be a different method depending on the software you are using. You will never get a decent result until you can eliminate the bezier curves for the rectangular or square panes. You don't need to draw lines that don't meet, you will be better off if you draw boxes for the plotter to follow. There should be a facility in the software to line up the boxes as well so that the bars all line up.

If you upload a picture of exactly what you want to cutout I could send you back a file in any graphic format that exists, if you want a bitmap file let me know the exact size. I will not be able to get it back to you for a couple of days as I am in the middle of a fourty page magazine and listing loads of stuff on eBay as it is free listing weekend:shock:.

Simon

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 Posted: Fri Mar 29th, 2013 10:55 pm
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hastran
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I didn't use the trace tool I drew all the shapes by hand the corners are perfectly square. I think it's a limitation of the cutter



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 Posted: Sat Mar 30th, 2013 03:39 pm
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Simonmcp
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Hello Brian,

That's a real shame.:cry: The shapes it is making look just like the ones that autotrace makes so that was why I thought it was that. Is it because the shapes are so small it can't cope with the small right angle bends? The N gauge one looks more pronounced.

Just an idea, it may be impossible, but could you get it to cut the vertical lines first and then in another pass get it to cut the horizontal lines to see if that would result in square cuts. I imagine the registration would be a problem though.

Simon

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 Posted: Sat Mar 30th, 2013 10:01 pm
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Angusog
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Hastran, not sure your right about the machines limitations, had a look at the blurb for your machine, and it showed the usual crafty stuff, but there were a few 90 deg cuts, admittedly a lot larger than what your trying to do, but i think you should be able to get a square cut.

check your blade holder is not gummed up with fibres and the blade can rotate, also the depth of cut is important, you should be just getting through your card.

and experimenting is they way to go, I tried a few larger cuts before going as small as you are trying.

I'm sure you'll get there



this was a test cut of from right to left 5", 4" 3" 2 " windows, used the wrong blade , had a 60 deg cutter instead of 30 deg and depth was wrong too. still the windows are cut square, smaller sizes are very delicate. cut on 220gsm photo paper

regards





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 Posted: Sat Mar 30th, 2013 10:10 pm
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hastran
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its early days yet. Only had the machine a couple of weeks so I still have a lot to learn about it.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 11th, 2013 11:46 pm
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Dorsetmike
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Well the one I paid for on Ebay back in March has not arrived, so I've set Ebay on to sorting them out and getting a refund, so today I ordered a Zing, £299, almost twice as much as my abortive Ebay one., free delivery too, not the £7 mr Ebay seller was charging.. so hopefully  I mightr start cutting in a few days, depends how quick their courier is.




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 Posted: Fri Apr 12th, 2013 09:04 am
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Brookwood
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Hi Mike

I'm sorry to hear about your E-bay failure. My Zing arrived by Parcelforce 48hr and I was pleased with the service.

I think you will be pleased with the Zing, I'm still learning but so far I have been happy with the way it cuts. I am scratch building a signal box and a bridge. There is a learning curve but persevere and it doesn't take long to find out what you can do and what you can't.

There is so much to learn principally because the machine is so versatile. Expect to get it wrong several times at the beginning but every mistake teaches you something else.

I'll post some photos shortly and if you need any help the just shout.

Regards
Chris


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 Posted: Fri Apr 12th, 2013 09:52 am
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Brookwood
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HI Mike
Photos as promised.


This is 1.3mm card fixed to the cutting mat. The mat is sticky but the tape helps hold it in place better.


This is feeding the card into the machine and the scrap card down the left hand side is to fit under the roller. It isn't important when cutting thin card or paper but with card this thick it helps keep everything straight.


This is setting the blade origin. You might just be able to make out the laser but that is only used when cutting out something preprinted. If you can't see it look between the tape and the grey box.


After the cut.


If you get the cut right the parts just fall out.


These are the parts laid on top of the original drawing that I drew from the photographs of the original signal box.
I hope this helps.

Regards
Chris

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 Posted: Fri Apr 12th, 2013 12:17 pm
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Dorsetmike
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Looking good Chris; not sure which project to start with, my main requirement is some vinyl self adhesive  Maunsell coach sides, about 12 coaches worth on an A4 sheet, but the smaller windows could be a challenge! Also have one or two buildings that I'd like to redo parts of; main thing bothering me is working in N gauge so many details are verging on tiny, some windows are 4mm x 3mm or less, will it cope?

[gets down on knees, holds hands together, mumble, mumble]



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 Posted: Fri Apr 12th, 2013 06:07 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi Mike

When you get the machine have a play with the software that comes with it and you will find that in thin material it will cut very small detail. You just have to make sure that it is very securely stuck to the mat. Don't let the mat get unsticky. Get yourself a spray tin of repositional or temporary adhesive and clean and spray the mat regularly.

Get a feel for how sticky the mat is when it is new and keep it like that. I have cleaned and restickied our mat once so far and it is easy to do.

Regards

Chris 

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 Posted: Sat Apr 13th, 2013 09:43 am
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ddolfelin
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Still watching and interested!



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 Posted: Sat Apr 13th, 2013 10:23 am
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Brookwood
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Hi Mike

I've been thinking about your question about how small you can get. In thin material like vinyl I think you will be able to cut very small indeed because the blade point only has to project out of the holder by the thickness of the material. That means you can hardly feel it with your fingers. that means it will cut very short lines and angles.

So I would expect you to be able to cut in fractions of a millimetre. A 4mm x 3mm window would be huge. The only problem is the delicate nature of the material makes it difficult to handle when cut.

I've just looked back at your coach windows and I don't think you will have any problems with size. What you might have a problem with is getting the machine software to recognise your artwork. I spent quite a bit of time playing with all the different file types before I hit on what I wanted. Now I can cut anything I can draw but I draw in a CAD program, so all my drawings are DXF and I really, really wanted sharp right angle corners. It isn't difficult you just have to play until you get what you want.

Regards
Chris





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 Posted: Sat Apr 13th, 2013 08:13 pm
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Angusog
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A quick and dirty test on vinyl

the side is 150mm long smallest windows are 2.5mm x 3mm , not sure what size it should be in N scale, but nice clean cuts and rounded corners. Mike I'm not sure on the specs of the vinyl I used but it is from a sign maker, I get his offcuts, so all different thickness' the fine thin stuff cuts beautiful and small with clean cuts, I mostly use it for graphics on wodden toy cars, that my guys at "The Coff's Men's Shed" make.

The Hardest part I think you will encounter is alignment on your printed vinyl, i have tried to align my blade 3-4 times and still offset a tiny bit but like Chris says a little tweaking in MTC and you will get there. practice and perseverance, and you will be running a hundred off in minutes. One thing I found that the smallest size you can use the grab arrows is about 1/8", to go smaller I use the arrow tool and select all and scale that way goes down very small then, I  do this to get really thin pinstripe for the cars.

hope this is of some help



regards



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 Posted: Sat Apr 13th, 2013 10:01 pm
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Dorsetmike
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N gauge is 2.0625mm/foot (1:148) so my 57 footers are just over 117.5mm,   The Zing was dispathed yesterday so hopefully Monday arrival.



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 Posted: Sat Apr 13th, 2013 10:11 pm
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Angusog
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G'day Mike

OK so mine are a little bit large, going down to 117.5mm won't be a problem, the size of the small windows were 0.120", x 0.130" , (if i remember my decimal fractions 0.125"is an 1/8")in MTC rough measurement with my rule says 2.5mm x 3mm, which it cut with no problem, and my blade has done a lot of hours cutting vinyl.

Regards




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 Posted: Sun Apr 14th, 2013 01:38 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi everybody




My bridge cut out of 1.3mm card and both pieces are an exact match and every arch exactly the same, something I could never do by hand without more care than I have patience for.




My first attempt at a staircase. I drew all the parts first then cut them on the Zing. The sides of the original were cast in concrete in one piece so I cut the whole side in one piece. To give you an idea of the size, the notches in the stair stringers are 4mm x 3mm and the intermediate uprights in the hand rails are 1mm. The pile of stair treads on the right are 3mm and 4mm wide to match the stringers.

This is just a trial fit to see if everything is about right and I'm well pleased considering this is cheap old fibre board. It was £1.50 for  a sheet 810mm x 560mm x 1.3mm in the local craft shop. It is a bit hairy in places but that is to be expected. Some of the very small pieces had to be teased out with a sharp knife but that was minimal.

All that cutting including the roof, floor, all the staircase, other sundry pieces and the window cills took about five minutes to cut, something else I couldn't do by hand.

I hope you are finding this interesting and helpful.

Regards

Chris

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 Posted: Sun Apr 14th, 2013 04:58 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi Everybody




I hoping that with a coat of concrete coloured paint this will actually look like a staircase. In case you're wondering it actually attaches to a platform that I haven't built yet. It still needs a bit of a trim with a sharp knife but we're nearly there.
By the way in case anybody is wondering this is all in 4mm to the foot (00 gauge)

Regards

Chris

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