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Plotter Cutter Tests - On Members Workbenches. - More Practical Help - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Sun Apr 14th, 2013 08:03 pm
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Angusog
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Looking good Chris

I'm sure when you get the paint on it 's going to look great. :cool:

regards



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 Posted: Mon Apr 15th, 2013 07:42 am
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GreenBR
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Hello,
Great stuff! a staircase in 5 minutes got to be good
Regards
Stephen



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 Posted: Tue Apr 16th, 2013 03:16 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi everybody

Just thought I should let you know that the Zing makes an excellent job of cutting out embossed Slater's Plastikard.

Regards

Chris

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 Posted: Tue Apr 16th, 2013 04:35 pm
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Dorsetmike
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Well my Zing arrived lunchtime, MTC installed, Manual downloaded ooof239 pages thereof to wade through. I see it also does engraving and embossing which has got me thinking ahead, I'm wondering iff it will work on very thin sheet brass to raise rivet detail, maybe even cut it. Wonder if it would cut out tender sideframes and raise the rivets too, would need at lest 2 passes, one with embossing tool followed by one with cutter?????????

Who's trying to walk before I can run?

Learning curve looks like it might be a bit steep - still I've got plenty of time in the day, just hope I don't run out of days!




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 Posted: Tue Apr 16th, 2013 05:43 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi Mike

Congratulations. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it but I'm not that much further ahead of you but two or three heads are better than one apparently. I didn't print the manual because there was so much of it, so I'm stumbling along a bit but so far I haven't got into too much difficulty just by experimenting.

I don't think it will cut anything much thicker than 1.5mm because it will be too tight between the rollers to get it in.

Have fun.

Regards

Chris

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 Posted: Tue Apr 16th, 2013 06:03 pm
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Dorsetmike
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OK first stupid question, just about all my work is done in metric, has anybody found a way to make MTC understand metric? or have I got to do endless calculations?

Most of our models these days quote the scale as Xmm  to the foot, so I for one and no doubt many out there tend to do most things in metric.

Reading through the manual, (well picking bits here and there, I mean who admits to RTFM!) I see it mentions cutting chipboard up to 0.3", which is about 7mm (cant say I use it in modelling though) I'm wondering if they mean the same thing as we in UK call chipboard? Would hardboard or MDF  come under that heading?




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 Posted: Tue Apr 16th, 2013 06:25 pm
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Brookwood
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HI Mike

I work in metric and just ignore the dimensions in MTC. I don't actually do any drawing in MTC, I do it elsewhere in metric and just import it. It is useful occasionally to check that I've imported something in the right scale but I only use it as a rough guide.

I think you will find that the chipboard they are referring to is a card crafting term and might not be the same as what you're thinking of.

I have to push quite hard to get my 1.3mm card through the rollers and takes a bit of fiddling because you have to push down on both levers while pushing the card through. It's a lot easier with four hands.

Regards

Chris







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 Posted: Tue Apr 16th, 2013 08:20 pm
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Angusog
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Grats on the new zing Mike,

I had the same thoughts on Imperial measurement, metric scale would be good, there is a forum on the MTC website, mostly card makers and craft cutters, I have only seen one other train modeler on there and he's been absent for nearly a year now. I have thought about asking for metric but haven't got round to it yet.

The learning curve is pretty steep , but you can get cutting pretty quick.

anyway enjoy the experience and as Chris says don't hesitate to ask.


regards



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 Posted: Wed Apr 17th, 2013 05:16 pm
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Referring back to my earlier post (#24 in this thread) Would I be better off making an outline image rather than the full colour plus lettering lining etc or maybe solid black with white windows and areas between individual items then import that to MTC for the cutter to follow when cutting printed sheets? Like this?

;



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 Posted: Wed Apr 17th, 2013 06:04 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi Mike

Before you attempt to cut pre-printed sheets make sure you follow all the instructions about setting the blade offset. Robert and I spent ages getting that just right.

I would suggest the outline because you are cutting pre-printed sheets. When you have the outline in MTC print it on your printer on thin cheap paper, outline only and then in print options go for the registration marks and the wireframe only.

Then you can hold your pre-printed sheet and the outline print up to the light and see if everything matches. If it doesn't check the scale. Things can be adjusted for size in MTC but it does involve a bit of trial and error.

When you are happy that everything matches then make sure you have the zing set for Knife point.

When I cut out scalescene sheets I pressed a point through the registration marks on the cheap paper so they could be seen on the printed sheet. Then set the laser to those marks and away you go.

Gosh I hope that all makes sense.

Good luck
Regards
Chris 

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 Posted: Wed Apr 17th, 2013 08:46 pm
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Dorsetmike
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OK gave it a full page test, then still using the pen before committing to blade this is the result so far

What I imported, (having converted to line art and erased all the lining and lettering)


What it printed, most corners have a strange point sticking out, a few lines missed and some additional lines where pen was moving to next bit, probably due to pen height being set a bit low, although why are only some drawn and not all?



Close up of one corner of the page to show the queer corners to windows and also most of the other  corners, est one is bottom right. Is this just a pen thing, or an adjustment that should be made?



This bunny currently unhappy :brickwall:hmm





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 Posted: Wed Apr 17th, 2013 11:04 pm
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Dorsetmike
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Just had a thought, might the corner squiggles be due to the fact that the pen point is in the centre of the holder, whereas the blade is not central. Thinks - does the blade swivel at corners?



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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 09:35 am
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Brookwood
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HI Mike

Don't worry or panic. The knife blade swivels around according to which way it has to cut. It is free to rotate in the holder. You probably found that the outline print you did from MTC also looked a bit squiggly but the blade cuts exactly what is on the MTC page. If you zoom in on any of the corners in MTC and examine the cut line that is exactly what you are going to get. 

I think you are being a bit nervous. Do some trial cuts first with some thing you have drawn and get a feel for it. Use some of the examples in the program and keep playing with it. 

I've had some great success with all sorts of materials and you are using the material the machine was originally designed for.

The cuts are incredibly precise, I'm an constantly being amazed by how small it will cut. I have just cut some right angle notches in card and some of those notches are less than 0.5mm.  If you look back at the Scalescenes stuff I cut out you will see it is very precise and accurate.

The pen does not work like the knife, it is just fun to draw with. I did some drawing at first but abandoned it straight away when I got the drawings joined up like you.

Don't give up, persevere and you will soon become a happy bunny like me.

Regards

Chris

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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 12:06 pm
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Dorsetmike
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One thing I "discovered" is that setting the origin can be done from the keyboard, and if you hold the key(s) down the repeat function operates and shifts things quite fast, I found clicking on the arrows on screen like watching paint dry in comparison. Must read more of the manual, see if there are any more "aids to productivity"



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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 12:24 pm
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Hello,
I am very interested in this thread. Is it possible to make your drawings in another program and import them? if so what programs are available to use. Thanks in advance
Stephen



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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 12:40 pm
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Brookwood
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Hi Mike

You can change the distance the blade moves with each click and yes I use the keyboard because the machine isn't actually in front of my computer screen and holding the key down works just as well.

Hi Stephen

I think you can virtually import any form of drawing into the software, that is the whole beauty of this cutter. I use CAD drawings which the machine software doesn't recognise but I just  convert through another program called 'Inkscape' and that only takes seconds. Lots of other formats can be loaded direct. 

The machine software prefers to talk in SVG format which I don't use.

There are lots of forums and information on the Internet if you Google 'Make The Cut' which is the name of the software that comes with the Zing machine. Most of the internet chat will be about card and craftwork but it still makes interesting reading and you can watch videos of the Zing in action.

You should be able to check all the different formats the software will accept and then check if your favourite drawing program will save in that format. If not then there are plenty of free conversion programs available.

The really important thing to me was the flexibility and the thickness of material that the Zing will cut, it is much more than comparably priced other machines.

Don't be afraid to ask any questions.


Regards

Chris




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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 01:06 pm
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Dorsetmike
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Using Import Pixel trace, you can import raster images in JPG, BMP, TIF, PNG, or GIF formats according to the manual, you can also import PDF that do not include raster images.

Most photo processing apps will save files as  JPG, BMP, TIF, PNG, or GIF format, Paint saves as BMP , I use an old photo app called Micrografx  Picture Publisher, started using V2 in 1992,  now using the final V10,  Corel bought out MicroGrafx and buried the app, but it does what I want and I've climbed the learning curve, so until it no longer runs in Windoze I'll continue to use it.

One point to be aware of with JPGs is that each time you save the file while working on it it gets compressed a bit and tends to lose definition.

As I model in N gauge I used so work on images resized up from 2mm to 4mm scale or greater, resizing down when done, but that loses definition, so I now work on a magnified image. I usually save in TIF  and JPG formats, using JPGs to send to the web, TIFs for working on.



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 Posted: Thu Apr 18th, 2013 08:55 pm
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Angusog
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G'day Mike

I can only reinforce what Chris says, keep working you'll get there and the output will be spot on

The zoom tool is your best friend, the zing cuts what is on the screen, I imported a simple lettering for a toy car, and ended up with about 5 layers of lines, 4 of which I had to delete to get what I wanted. I also found importing line drawings i got a double line as it imported both sides of the line. =, in 2 layers, deleting the inside one gave me what I wanted.

as for the funny shape you have on your corners no idea what that is, but first thing i would do is zoom in on that corner to see what is in the drawing.

the line across the coach where the pen hasn't lifted enough happens occasionally, where there is a flex in the Mat or the material is bubbled, check the blade holder is sitting in the cutter properly. Lots of checking to get it right, but you will, I'm sure

regards



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 Posted: Wed Apr 24th, 2013 03:59 pm
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Dorsetmike
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Not made any cuts yet, other tasks get in the way!! Had a possibly dangerous thought though, do you think the Zing would be capable or scoring brass for a cutting guide line? Maybe I should invest in a couple of spare blades first! What makes me think It might be possible is that I use a craft knife for cutting through the tabs holding etches in the sheet,  Cutting sheet with shears or tin snips can distort the metal

See my post on cab construction in the Scratch building forum to get an idea of where my thoughts are going



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 Posted: Wed Apr 24th, 2013 05:09 pm
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Brookwood
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HI Mike

I'm sure it will score the brass but I doubt it will be a very deep score, probably more of a scratch, but that may be all you need. I think when you use a craft knife to cut through the tabs of brass you probably use considerably more force than the machine will exert. I haven't tried it, so I might be talking through my hat; why don't you give it a go and report back. I remember from my engineering days that we always had to keep brass cutting tools separate from steel cutting tools so you may not be doing the knife any good. 

I have just cut some rectangular shapes out of thick card today. I needn't have bothered because that is easy to do by hand but it was a treat to just sit back and watch the machine do all the work and then every shape was identical. When I cut things like that by hand by the time I get to the tenth one I'm getting bored and my mind and hand wanders.

Regards

Chris




 

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