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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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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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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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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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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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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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: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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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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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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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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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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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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Thanks, Robert.
Sounds very promising.

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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.

Last edited on Wed Mar 13th, 2013 07:22 am by Gary

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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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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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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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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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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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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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Hi Robert:

Thanks for your helpful replies. I download the trial version of MTC (Make the Cut) and had a play with it. I exported a CAD drawing in JPG then imported it into MTC with the 'pixel trace'. I was impressed with how easy it was. I'll have to get my head around it wanting to cut both sides of a line but I think that will just be a case of how I fill in the original drawing.


I have ordered a Zing from their UK website. The reason I went for the Zing was it's cutting force (750grams)enables it to cut much thicker material than a lot of others on the market and you also have to be aware that some cutters will not work with anybody else's software. The Zing only works with MTC but that is rated as being one of the better ones.

I would strongly recommend to anybody considering one of these cutters to do the research thoroughly, my partners Cricut only cuts their patterns (and you have to buy their cartridges to get those patterns) and in very thin paper.

I spent a lot of time eavesdropping on lots of different websites to read what people recommended. There is lots of information out there but for the price the Zing seemed to suit our needs. 

The first essential question is what are you going to do with it. What attracted my attention was Robert's signal box and being able to draw something and then cut it out. Must be a boon to scratch building.


Regards
Chris









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Get thee away from me .....

Must .... Resist.... Must resist....:shock:

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Marty wrote: Get thee away from me .....

Must .... Resist.... Must resist....:shock:


You'd be too late now Marty, I succumbed. I was contemplating a clearance Graphtec Silhouette cameo at £230, but decided to go for the cheaper option, if I find it does what I want then great, if not at least I'll have some experience of the things to figure if an upgrade is viable for my needs.

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If I've read things correctly I should be able to print on my colour laser then cut on the CraftRobo, although I suspect I will have to add registration markers. My work, so far, is all at A4 size and I print to either self adhesive vinyl or paper label stock which I buy in 50 sheet packs What changes or additions will I need to make to my artwork? Currently mostly saved as TIF images, but I can easily convert to BMP PNG or JPG.

A typical vinyl sheet has sides for 13 Maunsell coaches (like the one below), I want to be able to cut out the windows then complete sides (or do it all in one go).



A full sheet would have coaches with different running numbers correct for SR sets, plus loose coaches, restaurant car or whatever I want for a rake. The above is the brake compo for set 179, (colour needs a bit of lightening), the TIF file is better but YMR will only take gif or jpg. It is scaled to fit a hacked Farish "main line" or a shell assembled from BHE side/floor/roof parts. I've used the same basic artwork for decals scaled to use on etched kits. Once you have the artwork in the above state it's easy to change running numbers, I usually save an un-numbered file and add numbers as required.

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DD

a) Will it cut curves? (assume yes), yes it excels at curves
 b) What thickness of styrene would it cut? c) no idea, I have some sheet styrene and can do a test cut this weekend for you
Are there flat-bed types as well as rotary? don't know what you mean by this, my Zing cuts on a flexible mat that is fed in flat, i think you could cut styrene without this, as long as it is under the feed rollers which are on 13" centers


Dorset Mike cutting vinyl are what these cutters where made for and they do it well, and yes registration marks go a long way to helping you cut and placing your cut vinyl, have done a couple of signs on standard sign vinyl that is 5 layers and with some practice it goes together reasonably well.

haven't tried printable vinyl yet I have tried 2mm lettering and it struggles with it, either tearing the vinyl or dragging it from the backing paper

I have an idea on using scalescenes printouts, i will try, and post to let you guys know how i get on

Robert

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Thanks, Robert.

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mmm lost 10 mins of typing and editing, kk lets try again

I ran some tests on my Zing plotter today, heavy card, 0.5mm styrene, 0.75mm siding styrene, 1.5mm balsa

I will continue to do some more cuts and tests especially balsa as the test I did was just a basic rectangle.

all 3 test were good, results were very crisp, and although did not cut all the way through I think with some more tweaking my machine i can achieve this, but i was satisfied with what resulted. a couple of light passes with the scalpel guided by the cuts made and I was through all three mediums.

the test was done on John's Scalescenes goods shed, as this simple model required the least amount of copying shapes over the pixel trace, I did 1 cut of the pixel trace and didn't zoom in that far, and didn't realise that i had a squiggly edge until the cutter replicated it, minute indents on what should have been a straight cut.

overall I am happy I can continue to tweak and improve the way i do this, below some pics of the results.







regards

Last edited on Sat Mar 16th, 2013 06:32 am by Angusog

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Thank you very much, Robert - that's a great help.
Very pleased that it will cut styrene.
As you say, even if it provides cut guides for a scalpel that is very useful.

I wonder if it will cut embossed styrene? Probably from the back I suppose.

Because I'm thick, I would really appreciate a dimbo description of how you present the guide information to the machine.
Would it follow a matrix produced in a computer print-out?

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Hi Robert:

Thanks for doing all this testing for us, your results look very promising.

I'm still only playing with the software as the machine hasn't arrived yet.

I'm impressed with the balsa cutting, even if it doesn't go all the way through we are all used to releasing die cut stuff, and a little bit of fettling is to be expected.

Regards

Chris

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Hey DD

I wonder if it will cut embossed styrene? Probably from the back I suppose.
the siding is embossed styrene DD, although very minor embossing, and the back is smooth and i cut from that side and the cut was clean.

how you present the guide information to the machine. Would it follow a matrix produced in a computer print-out?
not sure I understand the question, from what i know of plotters ( not much) it follows a vector path, generated by the software, which in MTC is invisible, i have seen 3d cnc machines that generate the path and you can watch the progress as it cuts. is this what u meant.

regards


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Not really but I don't know enough to ask the right question!

If I produce a black and white original, how do I get the machine to cut it out of whatever material?

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Ahh now I understand, to import into the cutting software you need either a vector file or a jpeg, other formats can be used, but to keep it simple we'll use jpeg as the example.

first scan the drawing if it isn't a jpeg file you have, save it as jpeg
next you have to run a pixel trace to get it into the cutting software.







as you can see some tweaking is required before you can cut the shape, the first drawing the blue lines are cutting lines, what the trace has done has traced the shading in the picture, so we have all these differnt shapes , what we want is a outline of the shape, and the next picture shows that in the green Gable end nice clean line filled in .

I don't know enough yet to do a tutorial on this, and it would be hard to follow if you didn't have this machine anyway, i believe they are all different and run different software.

but I hope you get the Idea.

regards



Last edited on Sat Mar 16th, 2013 07:56 pm by Angusog

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Yep - very helpful, thank you.

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Hi Robert

How are you getting on with the Zing and Scalescenes?

I have just managed to cut out a sheet of Scalescenes after much experimenting.

Regards

Chris


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Hi Robert

This is what I've managed so far.  There is a bit of paper tearing, possibly because I still haven't got the force, cutting speed or blade protrusion quite right yet. It may also be down to the quality of paper, the stickiness of the mat and possibly our blade is damaged.

It makes two cuts down the middle of the window openings which are barely 0.5mm apart. I also seem to have lost a couple of window sills somewhere.

Let me know how you are getting on and perhaps we can swop notes.

Regards


Chris

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G'day Chris

you have done well, I haven't been game to try and cut the actual printout, for the very reasons you have stated,

what Paper did you use

I have started on the small engine shed using 600gsm card (0.9mm), and as you can see in the pic below, it cut great

mat stickiness is always going to be a problem, with paper, I think using photo paper might help and should give a better printout.

tearing could be due to blade damage but looking at the rest of the cuts it could just be that the paper wasn't stuck just at that point. I had a couple of fails on the .9mm card were the blade dragged across the sheet, no great hindrance as the cut was only surface damage. tho with paper it would have cut through.

question, how did you locate your starting point to cut.



regards

Last edited on Sat Mar 23rd, 2013 06:51 pm by Angusog

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Hi Robert

I'll be back to you shortly I'm just off to a Model Railway exhibition in London if we can get through the snow.


Talk later.


Regards

Chris

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Hi Robert
 
Basically to cut a long story short, (I’ve seen worse puns) all I did was open the Scalescenes PDF file in MTC and then delete all the bits I didn’t want to cut, like the fold lines and the writing.
 
I did that by ‘Selecting All’ in the Edit menu then the ‘Break’ from the menu bar along the bottom and then going back into Edit menu and selecting ‘Select None’. Then if you click on each item you don’t want, it selects it and you can delete as required.
 
Then print that off as a wireframe on cheap thin paper with registration marks switched on (print options).
 
Then print the actual Scalescenes PDF. I used a different printer on a different computer because the colours came out better and so I had to do a little bit of manipulation of the MTC image to get it to fit better, you may not have to do that.
 
Hold the wireframe copy of the outline over the Scalescenes print, when they match exactly simply put a pin through the registration marks and use those to set the laser in ‘Print and Cut’. It’s good getting the laser to line up with the holes because it is easy to see as the laser literally goes down the hole.
 
I had to manipulate the MTC image fractionally by stretching it a bit by using the grab handles at a very high zoom rate. We are talking fractions of a millimetre here and you may not have to do it as you might be printing on the same printer. I still haven’t got it quite 100% yet but it isn’t bad.
 
I used better quality paper rather than cheap copying paper. It is sold in the UK as ‘letter quality’, it is still only 80grms but is smooth and slightly shiny. It would probably be better with the photo paper you are talking about but with Scalescenes you still have to be able to bend it around the card so there has to be a certain compromise.
 
I also spent a long time getting the PNC calibration (chapter 9) right, you have probably all ready done that but it is obviously very important. I used a force of 100 and speed of 10,10 and only one cut. I’ll have to leave it up to you about the blade projection because I’m still not sure I’ve got that right but I think my blade is damaged.


I like the cuts you've done in that 0.9mm card, it is so much easier and quicker than by hand.


I have also managed to cut out a CAD drawing I did; so I'm well pleased so far.


I hope all this helps and I'd be interested to learn how you get on.


Regards


Chris

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GDay Chris

well thanks for that i had tried to 'open' scalecenes pdf files before and could never see them, but i found them this morning by Importing vector pdf, worked a treat.

I think your force might be a tad high, for paper, did you try less force and work your way up to 100, recommended force for 80gsm paper is 30, photo paper is 100.

A tip I saw online for blade depth is to fold your material in 2, and adjust the blade till it just marks the bottom layer.

yup i have adjusted the PNC laser. what a job 15 sheets later i'm still off by a 10th mil) tried again yesterday and yup cant get it to within that 10th mm. still i will see how i cut the scalescenes sheets i can now import.

well done on that, you're well on your way to mastering it.

will update during the week as I have just found another pack of 600gsm card i never knew I had. need an Inspection pit for the small engine shed.

regards

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i've just got myself a Pazzle Inspiration cutter. I am wanting to use it to make window frame to go with my building kits. This is my first attempt. Just made out of card at the moment will try plastic as well once I see how the cutter does with styrene sheet.

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G'day Hastran

 that's a good first attempt, cutting your own designs with the plotter is great once the file is set up you can gut hundreds of exactly the same item in a fraction of the time doing it by hand and each one is exactly the same.

Chris

done my first attempt at cutting the scalescenes printout, quite pleased with the result even though it is out by about 2 mm, that's down to my setup.which i will have a go at resetting 'again' till I get it spot on.





sorry for the out of focus pic best I could do in the light I have at the moment

you can just see the white on the ends of the pit walls and the steps, offset shows up more on the pit light cutouts, off by just a smidgen. but still a huge leap forward.

settings were
force 100
cut 1
speed 10
Matte Photo Paper 220gsm

Regards


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Hi Robert:
 
I did try a lower force and work up to 100 but I started at 50 and went 50,65, 80 and then got a result at 100. I might try 30 and see what happens. I'm going to try cutting it out of an A4 sized label so the scalescenes sheet will be self adhesive.
 
I tried several ways of getting blade depth including the folding the paper over but what I found was you can’t replicate the force the cutter uses. What cuts easily by hand didn’t cut on the machine.
 
I also found the bottom of the blade holder is slightly concave so the blade protrusion has to be more than you might think.
 
The problem is there are so many variables, which is good once you get it working, but I found you have to experiment and keep notes of what you’ve done otherwise it isn’t difficult to go around in circles.

I see what you mean about the inspection lights, did they line up exactly when you overlaid the two sheets? Don't forget you can resize the outline in MTC if that helps.
 
Hastran: That window looks good, let us know how you get on with the plastic sheet.


Regards


Chris
 

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G'day Chris

know exactly what you mean by going round in circles.

but on blade protrusion, yes the bottom blade is concave, but your blade point should only cut your material not the mat, first couple of tries I had the same problem trying to estimate how much blade and found the folded in half method the easiest, but as you also say experiment each machine is slightly different.

is your machine new or second hand, I also had some tearing problems on copy paper, but only in one direction, not sure what was happening there. and it cut at 35.

regards

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I'm following this with interest as I would love to get one of these machines.

I used to work in printing so know a little about paper - it all has a grain just like wood so perhaps that is why you are getting tearing in one direction only.

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I was thinking the along the same lines Simon, though i thought fibres, as in the lay of the fibres and may be as in wood you get a bit of tough grain, same with the fibres in paper, and would happen more so on budget papers, (though this is a guess).

Chris

I see what you mean about the inspection lights, did they line up exactly when you overlaid the two sheets? Don't forget you can resize the outline in MTC if that helps.
no my 2 printed sheets were offset by a small amount which i thought strange as bot were printed off the same page though one was a trace of that page, I lined up the corner of the registration marks and then lined up the laser with these, so i was thinking that it shouldn't have cut off like that.

but after trying for an hour to re-align my laser, i gave up it is out by a smidgen below the target, and no amount off tweaking could get it any closer , even large amounts wouldn't shift it, seems X @ 0.2 is the max as i tried 0.1 , 0.19,0.18 and got no difference in adjusting the cut arrow.

will try again by resetting factory defaults and adjusting again :)

regards

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Hi Robert

 I tried a force of 30 and it went through some of the cuts but only about 25% of them and as Simon says it does seem to cut better in one direction. I even tried a multi cut at the same force and it was no better.
 
If you work it out the maximum force is 750 grms and the dial goes up to 160 so a setting of 30 would only be about 140 grms (about 5oz in old money) which isn’t very much and when I try to replicate that freehand it does only scratch the surface of the paper.
 
I’m going to experiment with different types of paper, I suspect there will be one that works much better. I’m worried that if the paper gets too heavy it won’t be so easy to bend it around the backing card so well. Having said that when I do these Scalescenes by hand I usually score the inside of the bend as I find it does fold a bit easier.
 
I also had to accept that I was never going to get the laser any closer. Mine was off by a smidgeon. You reach a point when trying to get closer gets you further away. at that point I gave up. When I laid the trace over the print I found a fairly consistent error so I adjusted the size of the trace in MTC by shrinking the outline with the selection handles and that seemed to get me much closer.
 
I think we are all going to have to accept a slight error because the printer and the cutter are never going to be exactly the same. I even suspect that rolling the paper onto the mat might even stretch it slightly.
 
Funnily enough the label paper cut quite well because you obviously don’t want that to go right through. It isn’t such easy stuff to use as ordinary paper because you can’t slide it around on the card like you can with paper and glue.
 
I bought the machine new in UK I and I was pleased with the price and service. Overall I'm delighted with it's performance, once you have it set up and the setting up will get quicker with time, then you can cut as many copies as you want in a fraction of the time it takes by hand. And all the copies will be exactly the same. Also you have the ability to cut anything you can draw which must be a boon to scratch building. I am working on a signal box at the moment and there just isn't anything available commercially that is like it, so I'm drawing it from photographs and hoping to cut it all out on the machine.


 Simon: If you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask; between us I’m sure Robert and I can help.


Regards

Chris

Last edited on Tue Mar 26th, 2013 10:38 am by Brookwood

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Hi Robert

I have a question for you. Do you think you can change blades without resetting that PNC laser offset again?

Regards

Chris

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Hey Chris

yes according to the manual, you only have to do it once for the blade holder, and only change it if you change the blade holder.

regards


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here some more test cuts for window frames.

The two parts of a medium sash window on the left and a large arched window from an engine shed. these are OO scale in 300gsm card. Not quite a accurate as a laser cut window frame but considerably cheaper.

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Hi Chris,

Thanks for the offer of help.

The problem you are having lining things up may be down to the fact that all the printers I have ever used seem not to print out anything equally on the X and Y axis:twisted:. I find the prints are slightly longer than they are wider. Not a problem when the print includes the cutting guides as it does on Scalescenes buildings but I imagine it will be a nightmare if you are trying to line up a print with a cutter.

One way round it may be to print of the cutter guide and then rescan it to get it the same aspect ratio. This is assuming that the scanner doesn't change the aspect ratio of course:???:.

Good luck.

Simon

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Brian, your windows look a bit wobbly to me - maybe it's the camera effect.

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Hi Simon:


I understand what you are saying about paper and printers, that makes a lot of sense.


I'm even using two different printers but what you can do is to change the shape of the cutting path in the software. You can either change the whole image or individual parts of that image. You can remove bits you don't want to cut, or just shift them around or change their shape. It is very flexible. Once you have that cutting path set up to match your print you just save it and use it every time you need it.


Hi Robert: 

I was thinking of having two blade holders, different colours to hold the different blades, just to speed up the blade changing. I'll have to experiment. I expect all the holders are the same but when we are talking in fractions of a millimetre it is probably worth checking.


I have noticed a difference whether you cut an SVG or trace a JPEG file. The SVG is much more precise in the corners. The pixel trace tends to round out the corners and you have to increase the resolution to get more node points, once again all very flexible but worth spending the time to get what you want.

Regards

Chris

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Hi Chris,

I suppose I should mention that I am a Graphic Designer, like John Wiffen, and that I have been using Drawing Software for over 25 years now.

Illustrator and most drawing programs have what they term 'Autotrace' or some similar name. As shown on the windows cut outs the trace is not much use as it puts curves where there should be straight lines and straight lines where there should be curves:twisted:.

If you draw your own lines you have complete control of how they are drawn.  This is a free program:- http://www.serif.com/free-graphic-design-software/  which would be good for producing your drawings. You can import the scan of the image you want to cut out and make it into a template layer and then trace over it manually. The program then gives you a choice of formats to output it in. Most of these programs are accurate to about 0.001mm.


Simon

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G'day Guys

I was thinking of having two blade holders, different colours to hold the different blades, just to speed up the blade changing. I'll have to experiment. I expect all the holders are the same but when we are talking in fractions of a millimetre it is probably worth checking.
Not sure this would work Chris, as I states in the Manual, it needs to be set for each blade holder, so you would need to reset it when you change the blade. fine if both blade holders are exactly the same, but experimenting is the only way to go.

Simonwrote You can import the scan of the image you want to cut out and make it into a template layer and then trace over it manually.
I have been doing this already Simon, as before i found the PDF files, could be imported, I was tracing a jpeg, and had to tweak the trace to try and get an outline shape rather then a shape of all the different shades in the picture. but again I have done it over the PDF trace now to as Chris said it can round off corners. using the basic shapes gallery and imputing these over the top of the trace should be able to get to an accuracy of 1/128".



as you can see in the trace above of a black and white print of a piece of track it has traced minute variations in the colour , I would go over these with a rectangle, as accurately as possible to get my cut.

regards

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Hi Simon:

I appreciate what you are saying. I work with an Autocad program so all my drawings are in DWG or DXF and I can manually trace around any other drawing or photograph but then to get it into the Make the Cut software I have to convert it into SVG which I do through a little conversion program.

If I convert the same drawing to a TIFF, GIF, BMP or JPEG file I get curved lines and rounded corners and while you can adjust  that a certain amount in MTC you can't get rid of it completely.

It's all a big learning curve at the moment and I still have to get my head around thinking in terms of what the machine is going to cut rather than what I would like to draw.

Hi Robert:

I have found a major trick today. I suddenly realised the mat wasn't as sticky as it was, so I washed it and restickied (sod the spell checker) it and hey presto magic difference in the cutting without changing anything else.

Regards
Chris


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Hi Robert:

Our posts crossed in the ether. I wonder if you can save the settings for each blade holder separately? It's another step in changing blades but a lot easier than starting from scratch each time. I'll have to investigate.

Regards

Chris 

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:) Chris

yes a sticky mat definitely helps in cutting thinner stock, tho i find it can be too sticky, the last week of cuts i haven't restickyed my mat at all, preferring to tape the 600gsm card down with masking tape along the edge. helps stop delaminating when getting it off the mat, but definitely  sticky when doing thinner stock.

dont think you can save the settings, but I would imagine the blade holders to be exactly the same from Zing, I think they are referring to different size (in diameter) holders, as this would shift the position in the carrier.

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Hi Robert:

That makes sense, I'll let you know how I get on.

Regards

Chris

Last edited on Thu Mar 28th, 2013 10:26 am by Brookwood

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Brookwood wrote: Hastran: That window looks good, let us know how you get on with the plastic sheet.


Regards


Chris
 



On the right is the large arched window cut out of 0.25mm sytrene sheet. I tried 0.5mm styrene sheet but cutter would cut all the way through it. I also think I've found a way of sharpening up the corners as you can see from the test piece on the left.

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Hello,




The one the left is much better if that can be used to make more complicated designs.




Regards




Stephen

Last edited on Thu Mar 28th, 2013 04:17 pm by GreenBR

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Still watching and interested!

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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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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



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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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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.

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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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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

Last edited on Sun Apr 14th, 2013 05:01 pm by Brookwood

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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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Hello,
Great stuff! a staircase in 5 minutes got to be good
Regards
Stephen

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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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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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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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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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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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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.


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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Finally got round to swapping out the pen for the blade, threw together some rectangles and triangles to knock up a small hall that could serve as a staff club/canteen or small village hall, I printed out an A4 sheet of planking texture, which I had coloured to look like faded creosote, sort of dirty dark grey onto some medium card; did a quick check with the pen on paper to sort out my blade origin then card on mat, into the Zing and away it went, a couple of false starts, not cutting deep enough, then too deep. Finally got it right, good job I had a few sheets of the card printed but were not quite the colour I wanted, they were the guinea pigs.

I decided from the start that I would cut a full sheet, to save wasting too much card, so I had 7 small hall/big hut shells  on the sheet, I also did a mirror image and printed out a sheet of plain cream for the interior  which had to be a mirror image.

A couple of queries as a result of my efforts, when the blade was cutting what seems to me about right, it is lightly scoring the mat, if I back off the blade a bit it doesn't make a cut right through the card, is the scoring the mat normal? or do I have to make my adjustments much finer, I'm doing probably less than a quarter turn at a time.

Second Q, how often should the mat need a wash? say  in terms of number of sheets cut.

Third Q, It appears that it cuts less deep close to the edge (an inch or two) on the right hand side of a sheet than the rest of the sheet, I needed to make a few cuts with a craft knife to release the item, elsewhere on the card no problem.

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I've just been browsing through the ZIng Manual PDF, being an American product most of the material descriptions refer to American products, so far no British, European or Asian equivalents appear. This led me to hunt for a conversion table for Lbs>gsm and the reverse, it would appear that for the weight/thickness range we are likely to use the conversion factor is approximately 1.5 (1.48 to be pedantic) so USA paper lbs x 1.5 gives grams per sq metre, divide by 1.5 to get lbs from gsm.
This would appear to cover up to about 200gsm/133lbs, what those on 'tother side of the pond would term text atock, above that they call it cover stock for which the conversion factor is 2.7. and that takes you way beyond the Zing capabilities to around 1000gsm plus.

Washed my mat last evening and it appears to have lost stickiness, sounds like I have to get out the spray adhesive, but just in case all else fails I've ordered a pair of mats, spare red and blue blades and springs, and an engraving tool. At least a non sticky mat then should not bring operations to a halt.

In the meantime I've been slaving away over a hot photo app and MTC working on the small hall/big shed practice piece. The plan is a one piece fold up outer wall with door and window cut outs, behind which will be a piece with doors and window frames, then a transparent one for the windows, finally an interior wall, I have noted the de-lamination problems discussed earlier in this topic, so intend to cut the inner pieces where the corners are. As I am only using fairly light card I will usea couple of pieces of 3mm foam board for floor and ceiling and maybe sone plastic angle at the corners. Roofing will be plasticard, either tiles or corrugated. As I will have a number of "hut shells" I'm varying the stock  for each "practice" cut, so I so far have 3 sheets of different coloured planking, two of diferent colour brick, and one of stone - door and window frames a few sheets of different colours, ditto interior walls, I should add that each sheet has 7 buildings so I should be able to supply the lads at the area group, and donate a few to the group layout. I just hope they will go together as intended!

Doors and windows layer, the doors and windows were scanned from another building, I'm gradually building up a library of "spare parts" for buildings. The openings in the outer wall layer are not as big as the doors and windows, the extra width of which was so I could glue them behind a wall as some Metcalfe kits do, I can easily copy/paste them and change colour easily with a fill tool.



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Good job!

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Hi Mike
 
My mat is covered in score marks, as long as you don’t actually cut through the mat I don’t think it matters. You are never going to get it exactly right. The cardstock varies in texture so much. I have usually found that you need more blade projection than you would think.
 
When I have tried to get it exactly right by measuring the blade up against the material I find it is usually not enough.
 
You will need to clean your mat regularly but it depends hugely on the type of card you are cutting. I’m cutting some fairly thick fibre board at the moment and is leaves a lot of fibre stuck to the mat. I usually scrape off as much as I can manually. With clean card and thin card and paper you shouldn’t have as much of a problem.
 
Washing the mat gets rid of some of the muck so it is a good idea but spare mats are also a good idea. So far I haven’t had to start a new mat; I’m still using the old one. So you don’t really need to clean the mat until you get a build up of muck that is stopping it from feeling sticky. I use a small stiff nail brush under a running tap. But so far I’ve only done it once.
 
I do keep a can of spray adhesive handy. The kind that is temporary. I forget what it’s called but you probably know the stuff. A quick spray when the mat stops feeling sticky helps a lot.
 
The cutting near the edge problem might be to do with the stickiness of the mat and the card going up and down with the knife. Instead of increasing the depth of cut try adding another cut. If it is only really thin paper then one cut is enough but on the thick card I have I use four cuts to get through.
 
It sounds as though you are getting the hang of the machine I’m sure you will be pleased with what you can do with it, particularly when you have repetitions.
 
I hope that helps.
 
 Regards


Chris

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Hello,
I don't wish to be nosey but how much did you guys have to pay for the kit (think it is a bit rich for my blood) Please feel free to tell me to bog off if you don't want to
Regards
stephen

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Hi Stephen

The Zing cutter was £299.00 including VAT and delivery. 

While it is American the UK site was very efficient. Here is the website and there is lots more information if you search on Google or Youtube.

https://klicnkut.co.uk/shop/knk-zing/

The price includes the mat, two blades and the necessary software. 

I hope that answers your question.

Regards

Chris 

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There are cheaper ones out there, from about £175 up, the cheaper ones usually have smaller cutting areas, or less versatile in the materials they can cut, often both disadvantages. However if you only want to cut lightweight card, paper or vinyl up to about A4 then they may well suit your purpose.
 
The Zing will cut up to A3 or just above (14" x 24") with the available mats and will cut heavier card, some plasticard, balsa and beech woods as well as paper and vinyl, you can also get a blade for cutting cloth and heads for engraving and embossing.

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Hi Everybody

A cool video of the Zing in action to show the sizes it will cope with.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ss1ZdyFHHpk

I'm unlikely to want to cut any banners that size but it might be nice for the next birthday party I go to.

Regards
Chris

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I thought I'd screwed up earlier, I applied some spray adhesive which I just happened to have, Bostik Fast Tak, do not use it on your mat. It came out in a jet rather than a spray, and is only repositionable for a short time, by the time I'd cut a sheet it had stuck so hard I had to soak it off in the sink, then could only remove the adhesive from the mat with Cellulose thinners on kitchen paper.

I've just been out and bought a couple of different cans  which I am assured are "permanently" repositionable, I will keep you informed of progress. (Why does my spill chucker object to repositionable??????)

Why is it when you go into a craft/hobby shop you come out with a lot more than you intended, I'm sure these things just seem to jump in the basket when you ain't looking. :roll:

Last edited on Mon Apr 29th, 2013 03:47 pm by Dorsetmike

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3Ms Spray Mount seems to be doing the job OK, doesn't feel quite as tacky as the mat originally  was; so I'm not going to try the other can I bought "Crafter's Companion" Stick & Stay, tin says permanent repositional adhesive, but when I read the small print it says it's permanently stuck after two minutes! So maybe not advisable to use it on the mat.

Any tips for setting depth of cut accurately for different stock? The PDF manual is not too clear, it shows ideal height above stock surface and pictures of the depth of cut, but nowhere could I find "turn top of holder X degrees to move down/up by Ymm" I can see myself making marks for "turn to here for 160gsm card"   "turn to there for vinyl" etc.

At the moment it's a case of set the depth fairly shallow, run it over a bit of scrap stock by hand out of the machine, check how deep it has cut, give it a quarter turn and repeat until you get a through cut, back off eighth of a turn and check again until you get it right by hand, then do a quick check in the machine, once this has been done a few times I'm hoping to have some idea of how many turns or parts of turns needed in each case.

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Hi Mike

This is cutting edge technology we are talking here. (I've been dying to say that for ages.) The only way is to experiment. You might waste some card but as long as you keep a note then you can build up a catalogue of what works for you.

I have started keeping samples of the card that I have written the settings on.

I vary the number of cuts it makes, I find that makes quite a difference. I don't expect to get all the way through in one cut.

Keep going, you are going in the right direction.

Regards

Chris

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Hi Chris, Mike

Mike you are definitely getting the hang of it, as to depth of cut i do the same as Chris, test cut on scrap till it just comes through the stock, scratches on the mat don't matter as long as you are not cutting through, and Like chris I vary the amount of cuts on different stock on the 1 mm card i have used up to 4 cuts, usually 2 odes it but i have some very hard black stock which i find really hard to cut by hand, so i set to 4 cuts, to get through.

as for turns on the blade holder a quick measurement of the thread, i got 6 threads @ 6mm, so 1 complete turn is 1 mm, not very accurate as I assume that the thread will be Imperial and would equate to 1/4", so 6 turns to the 1/4" , would be 3 turns 1/8", 1.5 turns 1/16" and .75 turns 1/32, roughly. to get the depth im looking for I got a handy hint from Skatz , that is to fold the stock in half and cut till it just scratches the surface of the bottom layer, and yes i get the same as you that it doesn't always cut through all the way at the edges of the mat, not sure whats happening , not stuck down enough, blade lifting the mat, usually it is enough the i have a guide to finish the cut by hand easily enough.

Stephen, I paid $499.00 au for mine, a lot but i was flush at the time and I have used it for so much it has been well worth the purchase.

regards

Ropbert

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Frustration building here! Dunno what I'm doing wrong but it cuts out shapes from preprinted brick/stone/planked card, but no way can I get it to cut out the same shape printed onto card even using print and cut with registration marks, it's about 3mm out in one plane and just under 2mm out in the other, this is using the page that I posted in post #102 above, for example the fan light above the end door,  it is cutting the top of the fan light below the level of the top of the door and a bit to the right.

I imported a greyscale version of the BMP from my photo app then I did a print out from Make the cut adding  registration marks, I then made registration marks in the same locations on the image in the photo app and printed to card, loaded the card to Zing, set blade origin, then started the cut, which first sets up on the reg marks before cutting, did all that and it cuts as I said before 3 and 2 mm out. This is a fairly simple thing to cut out I would have thought, heaven knows when, if ever I will get round to coach sides!

If I hold a previously cut wall against a printout with doors and windows on it they line up, I put the printout from MTC over a print from the photo app, stick a pin through the MTC reg marks and they hit the reg marks I added in the photo app. So what do I try next??????????

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Hi Mike

My first reaction to your problem, (and I'm only saying this because it happened to me), is that your card is moving. I found some cuts which weren't in the right place and the problem was the card moving. So now I also tape the edges down to be absolutely sure there is not possible movement whatsoever.

It was while I was cutting some fairly large items and the card was zooming backwards and forwards a lot so I may be barking up the wrong tree. But you were talking about the stickiness of your mat.

This is the problem with being innovative, we have to solve these problems between us.

Try taping the edges of your card as well as ensuring the mat is sticky.

I'm sure I remember you saying you had set the offset so I doubt it is that.

I hope that helps.

Regards

Chris


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I would say definitely not the card moving, it cuts the shape  correctly, just  displaced by 2 or 3mm as you can see in this pic
sorry for poor quality and slant, just a quick grab shot with a compact  cropped quite heavily.



I think I'll change the windows too, it's not cutting them to shape all that well, especially the tiny top lights, tending to round the corners. I'll go back into the artwork and double check corners and simplify the frames.


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Hello Guys,
Thanks for the replies. To buy one of these is going to cost me a lot of time doing what SWMBO wants!! Still it may be doable. I need to learn how to use the software first or a cad if you know of something 'simples' I could use all suggestions would bee appreciated
Thanks
Stephen

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Hi Mike

I see what you mean. That is definitely something wrong. Have all the windows moved by the same amount? The door light doesn't even look the right shape.

Hi Stephen

The 'Make the Cut' software (which comes with the Zing) is available as a trial version free on the internet. You just can't save or cut with it. It will give you a chance to see what is involved and that is what I did before I bought the Zing.

I also use 'Inkscape' which also comes free on the Internet. That is quite a large program, but I only use it to convert file formats. You might find you can use it for drawing and then load it straight into MTC.

There might even be a free CAD program which might enable you to do some drawing but you will still need 'Inkscape' to convert the DXF files that all CAD programs produce. The CAD programs produce very precise drawings and right angle corners which the machine cuts perfectly. The problem is that CAD programs can take a while to learn if you haven't used one before, so you may have to be very patient.

Have a play and see how you get on and if you want any help just ask.

Regards

Chris

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Hi Mike

just displaced by 2 or 3mm
silly question and I ask because i do it all the time, have you set your offset in the cutting window, red blade is 0.35 blue blade 0.75, don't know if that would help Mike, but i forget to do it all the time. also Like chris said "have you set up your cut" I cannot get mine dead accurate after 6-8 tries i gave up, i can get it to .5mm either up or to the right but not both, no idea what it is , but for what I am using it for I can get away with it.

I am sure we will figure it out between us in time, I have had my machine over a year and Chris did some stuff i just hadn't though of, so learned  from that.

my machine does the same thing (thinking as I write here) and i am sure it is down to the accuracy of setting up the blade in the calibration tool box in the cutting window.



as you can see my settings here, i'm sure i need to go in and try again setting it to default and calibrate from there. but like you mine cuts probably 1mm across and 2 mm down from where it should.


not sure if i'm confusing the issue here, but hope this is of some help

regards


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I've redone the calibration, it was quite a way out, need to give it another minor tweak, still a bit under 0.5mm low, I could probably get away with using them  with judicious use of a felt tip pen!; I think I've also figured a decent way of adding registration marks in my photo app (following pics a twice actual).

   

I use the draw tool to extend lines from the top and side, then erase all but a small right angle, same at the other top corner, at the bottom corners are easier, the lines actually touch the corners.

I also need to make the vertical bars on the smaller windows wider, like 2 pixels instead of 1, on the above windows they are (or should be) 3 pixels they mostly cut OK but the thinner ones tear, (probably need to adjust cut depth and speed)

If the curved  part of the above frame looks a bit rough, it gets hidden by the outer wall layer, similarly that garish green will also not be on view (that's the MTC export colour!)

We're getting there!, To give you some idea of what I'm doing with this lot, I've just hurriedly clipped the timber outer wall over the doors and windows, behind them will be a transparent glazing layer, I may try printing the frames onto the transparent layer, problem there is can only use darker colours, light ones tend not to show up. You can see the white edges where the calibration is still slightly out and some of the widow frame bars that tore.



The 3Ms Spray Mount seems to be holding well, at 10 quid a can it ought to!

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Quick service from, KNK UK, on Monday ordered 2 mats, blades, blade springs and an engraving tool, arrived lunchtime today, tried out the engraving on some sheet brass and some evergreen plastic sheet, works fine, not a deep cut but for model railway use should be enough.  One thought would be for control panel fascias, engrave plastic, use a shadow layer to get a bit of extra width to the cut, then paint over but clean the paint from surface just leaving paint in the engraved groove. You could easily engrave a layout diagram/schematic and text for the switches.


Last edited on Wed May 1st, 2013 09:05 pm by Dorsetmike

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Still having problems with registration marks, I managed to get one cut on a sheet that was almost perfect, but as the cut got further across the sheet it got progressively  further out of registration. I suspect I need a new pair of eyeballs. I've got so far as to use a headband magnifier to try and get the laser dot and the  marks exactly lined up. I joined the KNK forum this afternoon so I think I'll pick their brains tomorrow. problem is they being on the other side of the pond, I'll have to wait until lunchtime here before they start.

I find the registration dot tends to vanish when it gets to the darker registration mark, fine on clean white paper or light colours, but don't like black or other dark colours, shining a light closer don't help either, it drowns the laser dot!

Oh we do have fun!!!!!!!!!!! not.

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Hi Mike

Don't despair. You are leading in this technology and doing what hasn't been done before. You are a pioneer; just keep working at it. 

I had some very frustrating episodes but now I can cut exactly what I want and it's brilliant. I'm going down a slightly different path to you and believe me it wasn't easy at first but I got there by perseverance; like you do with everything else in life.

Try a pin prick through your registration marks. I found that the laser light disappears down the hole when it is in the right place.

Regards

Chris

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One thing I would mention if you want to cut something designed or detailed in a photo processing  app, or Windows Paint and similar apps, if you import your full multi-coloured image into MTC you get a very messy looking image in MTC, the familiar green background with blue cut lines all over the place where there's a colour change, MTC decides you want to cut each separate colour! To get round this I convert the image to greyscale and ensure there are no patches of darker or lighter grey. The blue image is printed to card, the mono image is imported into MTC and used to cut the printed card, when  fixed behind the "outer wall" only the door detail in the enlarged (slightly blurred by enlargement!) lower pic shows through, any very minor registration errors hopefully would not be so obvious with the overall blue! Ignore the registration marks on the pics, I've reread the manual and now cropped the image so there is no margin. I'm about to do another test run.

Watch this space!!


   

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Very much a test run, almost thrown together, sort of see how it all fits - it don't in places! :cry:  made one side a tad longer than the other so the back door is somewhat close to the corner due to having a bit cut off the end, it was either that or have a trapezoidal building! Redrawing has already started.

Stuck the door and windows  cut to the outer wall, floded corners and applied some glue to the join, I'd left a small tab to make that easier, added  a "floor" of foam board and a "rafter" across the top  (more scrap foam board, this made it quite firm, considering the walls were only light medium card, added some clear sheet inside the windows, took this pic



This shows I still need to get the registration better, had to use felt tip to cover the white bits, I also need to make the corners sharper.

I then slapped on a roof, a verandah and some steps, to finish up with this eyesore, roof bowed where I held it down with rubber bands while glue dried, handrails overscale (bit of scrap copper wire)



One learns from ones mistakes, I learnt quite a bit from that exercise, however the main object of the exercise was Zing practice, I also checked that it fitted the intended space on the layout. Back to the drawing board/cutting mat etc!



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:lol::lol::lol: :roll:

Mr Big cheesy Grin, my zing arrived today. Better be careful how I say that.



Still playing with settings, but this was cut with the red blade 0.35 offset, 300gsm card stock, 2 passes at speed 6 - slow.
Although some of the bars have broken, each one is less than 0.5mm wide, better results were acheived with thinner stock (Tesco Artist Water colour paper 160gsm 1 pass speed 9). I intend to use sticky labels for the window bars and thicker card for the frames.
I used the Make the Cut (MTC) software supplied for the above test, only downside is it only runs in imperial.

Next task - learn how to use Inkscape, to allow me to trace my Scalescene kits, so I can import the files into MTC.

A modellers life is always full of challenges.

Paul


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That looks very tidy Paul, following with interest. Enjoy the challenge...it keeps the grey cells ticking over :lol:

Marty

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Very much a test run, almost thrown together, sort of see how it all fits - it don't in places!

That's easy for you to say Mike,  your building looks like one of my better efforts at scratch building.

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Hi Marty

Just trying a test with sticky labels, I'm using 6 x 4 labels, using the same settings as per the 300 gsm card (OK so I forgot to reset the speed back from 6 to 9). I did look at the Cricut mini from Provo, approx 1/3 the price of a Zing, but Provo have taken legal action against any company providing drivers to use the device with other software e.g. Make the Cut, and force you to use their proprietry cartridges - and they don't a Model Railway cartridge.
To help justify getting the zing, a quick calculation I need at least 40 buildings to complete this layout, plus over 16ft of retaining wall / arched viaduct, so that works out at around £6 to £8 per kit, if I were to buy kits. But there is no way I could ever cut the windows this good.

Just adjusted the cut speed and blade depth as it hadn't cut all the way through and here is the result.



I'm just blown away by the quality of the cuts, and thats before I really know what i'm actually doing.
And remember I have spent less than 3 hours on this, from unpacking, loading the software, registering it, setting up and testing with the pen tool, then going for it with a blade. Settings for those interested were Offset 0.35, force 85, multicut = 1, speed 9 + 9

Another test, this time with concentric outer layers - the middle one has been coloured black before being stuck down, again sticky labels are the paper stock.



A rough 4ft x 5ft window in 4mm

Paul


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I use A4 1 label per sheet, with 6x4 labels you are limited to the size of your building; I get them on line from Label Planet in packs of 25. I also use the same size but vinyl not paper, for coach sides, that was my main reason for buying the Zing, try cutting out coach windows by hand in N gauge!!

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Hi Mike

The 6x4 were "donated" from the ticket printer at work, and are ideal for testing making windows.
I've not tried vinyl yet, but do use A4 labels from Staples for some of my Scalescene kits.
I suppose the next challenge will be to make a building from scratch, and use a bit of fore thought to make the parts modular so they can be used on other buildings.

Paul

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Settings for those interested were Offset 0.35, force 85, multicut = 1, speed 9 + 9
Hi Paul

congrats on getting a zing, you have got to grips with it quickly, windows look great, one question is the "force setting on sticky labels" i would have thought 85 is a bit high, i cut sign vinyl at 55, no idea what weight it is but feels pretty thick , but definitely try less force on your next set of tests, also the second speed is the blade up speed and i never change that from 10, not a lot of difference but does speed up the cut.

Regards

Robert

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You gotta be happy with those windows! :thumbs nice work.

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Hi Robert

I just used the default settings, but will lower the cut pressure for the next tests.
I'm just blown away by the delicacy and accuracy of the cuts. Now the initial rush of blood has eased a little, I will have to start and learn how to use the software properly, the results show that very fine things are possible (and just reminded by the boss not until I have tiled the kitchen floor and installed her new dishwasher - the things we agree to, to get our own way :roll:).

Hi Marty
Yup very pleased - I'm going to try and copy the scalescene windows for the kits I have, but make them in several layers so that the open sash windows can over lap each other - like Doofer manages on his excellent models - you gotta aim high. :lol:

For anyone considering getting a plotter cutter, this is not a cheap piece of kit but then again not much dearer than a DCC sound equipped loco. It is a sturdy, well built flexible piece of kit and comes with windows or mac based software - a fully registered copy of Make the Cut, that can be used on several PC's, unfortunately not available for linux.
I did notice that Hobbycraft have started to stock the Provo Cricut Mini and expression range, but I couldn't find any software that would allow you to design custom designs, and rely on cartridges, again no model railway specific ones.

Paul

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 Hi guys,
 We ( the wife and I ) took possession of a Silhouette Cameo last week and while it did Deb's lace cut outs right from first trials I had a bit of trouble with it tearing things. However after a couple of evenings worth of frustration I managed to produce this fret which will form the panelling on the  ex L&Y  platform buildings of Wigan Wallgate station.
 
The material is approx. 0.011" thick card ( not sure what that equates to in GSM standards, anyone know ?) The original was drawn up in a CAD program and was imported straight into the Studio software that comes with the unit. Other than having to make 5 v. small cuts to finalize the separation of some of the smaller pieces ( which are approx. 3 x 4 mm ) and delaminating the back side of 2 of the 1.2mm  wide verticals I was well pleased with the 'unfettled' product as seen in the photo above. I have to do the frets for two more buildings ,one of which is a two story unit.
I did some trials when it was still tearing things by putting a 0.25mm rad in the corners of each cut out which didn't bother the unit at all but my eyes couldn't really see the difference so I went back to square corners
I am considering a 2nd fret to lay over these with 0.9mm wide verticals to see how it goes. I'll let you know.
 HAvent got round to using it to trace and cut out the windows and doors from an existing building wall ( eg scalescenes or some of the ones I have generated from photos of actual buildings ) I'll let you know about that also.
Cheers
Kevan
There is no way I would have tackled this project in a 3D sense without having seen the potential of these unit's on here.
At Au $375 it was a significant investment but as Deb will be using it for her craft work my logic says $187.50 each is money well spent

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Wow Kevan thats impressive, I would imagine overlays would be a PITA to line up.

Paul

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Yeh Paul. I like you was planning on using the self adhesive label papers for a lot of this work but because you only really get one shot at putting it down I think I will be using some of the glue that Deb uses which allows a fair time for 'relocating' while still holding ok.
I also think that in order to get these right I will have to redraw each building's frets onto it's own page with however many layers all on there together. Otherwise I can see me ending up with a top layer that ends up .5mm longer or something stupid like that , that only shows up as the last verticals are lining up out of position. ( Murphy, the bane of engineering says so!)
Hey and those windows look nice and tidy too.
Cheers
Kev

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Hi Guys

a tip that might be useful when using label stock is to peel the label and reposition it off the edge of the backing paper by a little bit , just enough to get adhesion that way you get to line it up without trying to keep the glue from attaching to the rest of it. I find a light box invaluable for lining things up when doing vinyl signage for the toy trucks made at my Men's shed in Coffs Harbour

On one i had 5 layers 11" long 1/2" high to line up a pita for sure but got it nearly dead on with the light box, and like kat i do all my signs on one page in different layers hiding the ones i don't want cut.

regards

Robert

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Just to let you know I haven't been ignoring you but what with earning Brownie points and holidays the days seem to slip by.

I'm very impressed the way this plotter cutter method is beginning to take off. I find it brilliant.

I'm working on a scratch built bridge at the moment and I have practically cut everything on the machine.



Because I cut the arches on the machine everything is exactly the same size, I even cut the rectangles to the walls on the machine. The curved underside was a matter of seconds to cut and all five fitted exactly.



Then I wanted some stone arches to give a 3D effect and guess what. I didn't cut them all in one go I thought that would be a bit ambitious but as I hope you can see from the photo they all fitted.



Now glued in place and waiting for decision on colouring. Road deck is in Balsa wood but not fitted yet.

It is like making your own kit and then just glueing it together. I'm hoping to cover the card in Plastikard stonework also cut on the machine but at the moment I'm experimenting with folding the Plastikard around corners.

Keep up the good work.

Regards

Chris

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Is it possible to set things up to score some lines and cut others in the same cut?

I'm cutting buildings from preprinted card  (printed with brick texture) and wondering how to do the scoring to bend tabs and corners.

There wouldn't be a problem if I was doing print and cut, I could make 2 passes, one for the score lines, followed by a cut.

I've copied some old card kits and I'm trying to improve the looks by cutting out window and door spaces cutting the walls etc from an A4 sheet of card printed with brick, stone, tiles or timber cladding, then adding doors and glazing similar to the way Metcalfe kits are done.

Workflow to get to this stage, scan the card kit into a photo processing app, copy one of each type of window and door to  new pages, draw white rectangles to replace windows and doors, convert to B/W as in the above pic, import to MTC, print an A4 sheet of card with required texture - brick, stone etc feed that to Zing and cut, meanwhile the doors and windows have been "edited" windows are just frames in any colour you like except white and some paler colours they dont show on transparent sheets! Doors can be done any colour and printed to card allowing some space all round (except bottom)  they can then be cut out knife or scissors and stuck behind the opening in the wall, windows also have a space round for glueing.

You can get a lot of N gauge doors and windows on one sheet, so it pays to do a load of kits at one time (the above makes 2 of 2 separate factory buildings, but only one chimney! I'll also be doing a row of cottages and other buildings.


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Hi Mike

If you cut on the reverse side, have the cut and score lines on separate layers, then hide the full cut layer, while you set the blade to the score depth or maybe use the emboss tool, then hide the score lines and show the cuts and adjust the blade to cut through.

Paul

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I've managed it now, reverted to manual labour! Used one of those blades on a track on a ruler and getting it all square using the grid of  the cutting mat.

Looks like I need to rethink the way I do windows, I tried printing the frames to transparent acetate, but they are barely visible unless I make them quite thick which would make them a ridiculous size scaled up from N gauge, I dont think they use 12 inch wide timber or metal! I think the way to go will be to cut an "inner" card with doors and window frames, I like my doors and windows recessed ; a further bonus would be the extra strength of a second layer of card. To prevent delamination problems I'll make the inner layer as individual walls a fraction smaller than the outer walls.

Back to the drawing screen!

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Hi Guys
I had a go with one of the CraftRobo machines a couple of years ago but it delivered a jigsaw of bits because it cut every line on
the kit below.







Sorry about the mass pictures but you can now download and print them out for any kids in the family. 160GSM from Staples is good.

The latest video on You Tube shows a better machine but I would like to know if anyone has used the latest version?

Unlike you guys I want to produce trams in 00 and am using AutoCAD to draw them so I can get outline etc with no problems.
My dilemma is that the Zing seems the better machine but the Craft Robo the better match for my output files.

I would appreciate any suggestions as I not only have to produce my rolling stock I need to do my own tenements and although I can & do cut them by hand I need a LOT of them and I would rather be producing trams.

Your delamination problems lead me to think that you do not do a lot of card work. All you need to do is put a smear of glue from your finger [NOT SUPERGLUE] and then hold down for a few seconds.  If you need longer, invest in some freezer bag clamps from the supermarket about £1 for two dozen.

Regards
Jim

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This is not a happy bunny! I'm having more problems than I bargained for! Example, it cuts fine near the origin, but the cut gradually gets shallower across the sheet, ending up only cutting halfway through 0.3mm card!

The latest has me really puzzled though, I'm (trying) to make a building with an outer wall cut from brick printed card, with an inner wall plain colured card with door frames and window frames to show through the holes in the "wall", separate doors and glazing to be glued to the inside, similar to Metcalfe kits as mentioned in a previuos post, first sheet cuts (except for the getting shallower), the second with the window frames etc, loads and shows on screen in MTC fine, but when I select cut, it tells me parts are outside the mat area, still shows fine on screen, tried shifting it about, no different - outside the area message so I thought blow this for a game of soldiers (or words the that effect) and went ahead, first two items on the sheety cut OK, then it nearly ejected the mat and tried to cut fresh air! I've posted a cry for help on the KNK forum, see what good that does!

The windows  I'm trying to cut frames for have small panes, about 2mm square and it doesn't seem as though that is going to work, so I'm now trhinking etched brass frames! Why are things not simple!:roll:

Last edited on Tue Jun 18th, 2013 08:44 pm by Dorsetmike

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I've seen quite a few mentions of Inkscape for drawing, what advantages, if any, does it have over MTC. I have just installed it and tried importing a file in .tif format, it crashed twice before it worked, but it seems to have no indication of size of an image/obect; this to me is a big drawback as being able to know from the "rulers" at the edge of the screen if an object is accurate to whatever scale one is working on, or if it will fit onto, say, an A4 page.

I do most of my editing in a photo processing app and have the rulers set to mm so that if I want an n gauge door I know it needs to be about 13.5mm - 14mm high (for normal house doors); MTC annoys me by not having an option for metric rulers/grid, it gets to be a PITA swapping between apps to check measurements.

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Hi Guys
This may not be too helpfull to those of you who have already bought Zing machines but since I had already tried the Graphtec Craft Robo cutter about 3 years ago (and it was an old machine then) I thought I should give them a shot at this.
The machine was easy to use and accepted DXF files directly but there was no real control over registration.

So I got in touch with Brian Pickup at Graphtec and he invited me to send some artwork.
I sent a JPG of a Glasgow tram in 4mm. Below is what he emailed back about 2 hours later.









Looks like they have the registration sorted now. Guess what I'm saving my pennies for?

Regards
Jim

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Still having problems with the window frames, I've just fed the Zing with this file



Similar to the previous one I posted but this is the "inner layer"to be cut from a plain coloured card such that it shows through the openings in the wall as window and door frames, the individual small panes are about 2mm x 1.5mm with the frames between them about 0.2mm. Card did not like this at all, so I've now tried self adhesive vinyl again printed a plain colour which I stuck to transparency stock.(after cutting)

This time it does appear to have cut a bit better, but the holes are more nearly circular than square as in this photo, just clipped together and a white page behind it. Methinks it will take a while to pick out all the tiny bits, the vinyl certainly sticks well to the tranny



I'e now done a redraw with window openings to fit etched brass frames.  Found a new source for etched and resin cast N gauge stuff, will post details and URL tomorrow in the appropriate shopping thread.

Last edited on Fri Jun 21st, 2013 12:23 am by Dorsetmike

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HI Mike

This probably doesn't  answer your question about Inkscape, just the reason I use it. I only use it to change file formats. Because MTC doesn't accept DXF files directly I load it into Inkscape and convert it to a PDF file which MTC does accept. It takes seconds to do and the final measurements after the cut are exactly as the original drawing.

Using that method I find I can cut anything I can draw and with very accurate angles and corners. The only thing I have found it best not to do is cut a 2ft long straight line in 1.3mm card so I do that on the bench with a knife. The 1ft lines across the mat are no problem it's just the four cuts running backwards and forwards, the registration slips slightly as it only cuts going one way so that is eight movements for four cuts.

Regards

Chris





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hey Folks

The only thing I have found it best not to do is cut a 2ft long straight line in 1.3mm card so I do that on the bench with a knife.
Chris I haven't tried it in card, but i have cut 2-3ft long vinyl on my zing, trick is to do it portrait rather than landscape, so the cut is traveling away from the machine rather than across, and to make sure you are under both feed rollers, doing this you can cut any length, and i have not had a problem with accuracy either. again only in sign vinyl. i did cut some 1mm & 3mm pinstripes for truck and trailer 18"+ perfectly straight and parallel. after reading your post again, I think you are trying to cut strips from the card, rather than cutting a rectangle, my pinstripes were rectangles and did cut in a circle, as in up, across, down, across up. so was a continuous cut.

though to be fair by the time you set this up in the zing you could have cut 3-4 with a knife and straight edge.

regards

Robert

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I'm still using my old faithful picture Publisher, first used V2 in about 1991 when I got my first scanner. I can draw and do quite a fiddles with the clone tool. I used to do most of the work in jpg format, but that degrades with each time you save an image, so I now use tif  format. I can import those to MTC.

I found that MTC  didn't like very fine detail unless you set despeckle to 0 and threshold to 250 or more, even then it can't hack a line 2 pixels wide, minimum seems to be about 4 pixels. I found this out trying to do some industrial building metal frame windows, the frame width between panes of glass would be about 2" thick, in N that is around 0.3mm,  cutting that sort of window frame in card would appear to be well nigh impossible. I had quite an exchange of enails and files with Sandy McC on the KNK forum, even with thicker frames, thwe small panes of glass were being cut nearer circular than rectangular, this was partly solved by redrawing the frames in MTC and setting the blade offset from 0.35 down to 0.25. Still not perfect though, frames are now too wide, more frame than window, so I'm going for etched frames, which meant redrawing the window openings in the building.

I've just got some Metcalfe N gauge stone card, slipped up on the brick and got 00 gauge, so had to reorder. So for now I've switched to a terrace of stone cottages to match the Metcalfe Pub and shop, trying to keep the general appearance the same as the pub/shop, although the stone card is nearer the colour of the stone railway cottages kits.

As I can't print white onto transparency stock I'm not sure what to do for windows, probably try and tweak some of the etched ones, either that or try printing some vinyl in a light color and trying to persuade the Zing to cut it for sash windows, simple wooden cross bar, somewaht thicker than Crittalls galvanised ones!

Looks like I'll have to cut the rest of the way through  this Metcalfe card by hand, It's 0.6mm thick, I've considerably extended the blade, and increased cuts to 3 and force to 100, but it hasn't cut through, so next try with more blade and 4 cuts, sometime tomorrow.


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Hi Mike

Experimented yesterday trying to cut Greyboard - 1.5mm thick (from HobbyCraft), Blue blade 0.75 offset, speed 8/9, pressure 160 2 passes. Tried pressure at 100 but didn't cut through. Will try again and lower the pressure from 160 until it fails to cut through.

While in Hobbycraft yesterday, in the clearance bin I found a Sizzix Eclips blade holder and blades - the one with the click stop depth adjustment and magnetic blade retention, 1 holder, 2 sets of blades for under £9, worth a punt. :lol:
So far I'm impressed, very easy to change blades - no springs to fly off, and easy repeatable blade depth adjustment.
The outside diameter of the holder is 15mm against the 14mm of the Zing holder, so I had to re-calibrate the laser position for the holder - actually I hadn't done it yet for the Zing holder :roll:
Tip - measure the distance between the cut line and the template line and divide by 2, and use this figure as the adjustment, that should get you damn close.
Using the standard eclips blades (blue cap) I have tried an offset of 0.28, the results are close but may need a wee bit of tweaking.

Paul

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Having watched this thread develop and with 200 plus windows for Salts to make I decided to take the plunge and give the Zing a try out. I'm amazed at just how well and finely it cuts. So far I've only tried it on A 4 label paper although the scanned result below (6th attempt) doesn't do the crisp cutting justice. The window is just over 2" high by .65" wide, courtesy of Jim (The Bankie), while the fine bars must be around .75 of a millimetre or less. I had hoped to stick the A4 label paper to OHP transparency paper, then peel off the panels once the cut had been made. I hadn't allowed for the fact that the label paper would actually do what it's supposed to, and stick to the OHP! :oops: 
Have to look at another method. Early days, but I'm most impressed.


















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I've just tried more cutting of Metcalfe Stone card, getting a bit closer, increased the force to 130 has got to the stage where some lines cut right through but most still need a bit of work. I reread the PDF manual and they suggest sandpapering the back of the card in these circumstances - it works, makes a mess too!

The card doesn't cut all that cleanly, it appears to be quite fibrous, I note the MTC PDF suggests "white cored" card does not cut as well as card which is cxoloured all through, which could be a bit of a bummer seeing we are mostly dealing with white card; the Metcalfe card also doesn't seem to be very consistent for thickness, my digital measuring stick reading varies from about 0.55mm up to 0.68, after sanding I'm down to 0.5mm or just under. I've now got 5 rows of 6 terraced cottages walls cut.

More window experiments will now follow, I will try Vinyl label stock for some and etched brass for others. I plan to Zing the vinyl stock and cut out the windows from the stock individually and stick to transparency, having once tried to stick a complete Zinged vinyl wall to transparency, generating a considerable blue atmosphere over the work bench, smaller pieces should be easier.


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Pat wrote  while the fine bars must be around .75 of a millimetre or less.
He's not exactly wrong about the size. The bar sizes, if he has just used the drawing as I sent it, are 1mm, .66mm and .33mm. representing 3 inch, 2 inch and 1 inch.

The boy done good.

Regards
Jim

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I think I'm making progress! Cutting window frames from vinyl label stock seems to work, at least for the cottage windows

From the top, the sheet of window frames I fed to MTC, next an A4 sheet, after cutting, of Vinyl label stock printed with red, blue, green and cream, then below that some of the frames stuck onto clear acetate,



the post it pad I found handy to deposit the unwanted bits that didn't stay on the stock, the craft knife helped poke out the bits onto the post it pad, the missing red one has been cut out of the acetate and got stuck in the opening for it, just visible bottom left  the bit of wall shown is the end and front wall of 2 cottages, as mentioned there are 6 cottages in a row, and I have 5 rows, guess what I'll be doing for quite a while!

I will probably do another set using different colours for a bit of variety in the cottages, I may also do one row with some etched windows. Next lot of "artwork" will be for 60 doors, 2 doors per cottage, 5 rows of 6 cottages, then there's chimneys, sheds, privies and walls for the back yard. And before I start on that lot I need to run a felt tip down the raw edges of the card.

Who's idea was all this?????????????? And they say a woman's work is never done, well ours ain't far behind!!

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Hi

Tried cutting windows using the sizzix eclips in the zing.
Didn't like the results, I had used the standard eclips blade with a 28 offset, the MTC manual indicates blade offset is too low.
Further testing required ...............

Material is 6x4 label stock, cut pressure 30, single cut, speed 9/10

Blade offset 0.35, 0.40, 0.60 and 0.75



The 0.60 looked reasonable but looking closely shows the bars do not line up correctly.
May need to reduce the value from 0.75 as the bottom right hand corner seems to kick out, c/w the others which curve in.


70 seems to have it for the moment

Paul

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actually on closer inspection I think 0.75 was cleaner .....

Paul

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Waking this thread up again, seems like some of my nonsquare corners problems could be due to importing pixel trace jpg and tif formats,  rather than vector graphics like SVG, a contact on another forum gave me a link to Free downloads of Adobe CS 2 and parts thereof, so I've downloaded Illustrator with the intention of opening my jpg/tif files, cleaning up, if necessary, then exporting as SVG.

Among other experiments along the way I have tried a slower cutting speed, increasing the blade offset and even trying the blue blade, all with some improvements, the blue blade gave better results, so I'm going to try increasing the offset for the red blade, see what happens, so far I only tried increasing to 0.4, may try 0.5 next.

I'm also looking at thicker card on ebay, has anybody tried card or greyboard around 600 - 750GSM? How does grey board compare to "ordinary" card?.

I did pick up some 273GSM coloured card in Lidl last week, in pads of 25 sheets for £1.99, what does colour matter if you're covering it with brick or stone printed labels.

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You lost me totally with all the "computer speak" Mike but then I saw the word "card" and woke up again. :lol:

I'm not sure what you mean by "ordinary" card. :hmm  Bristol board is a very high quality dense card whereas "greyboard" is a much rougher type of card coloured, as it's name suggests, grey ..........i.e. unbleached :roll:

I use it in both 1mm and 2mm forms for my Scalescenes models.  It's quite course,  blunts blades quite quickly and, cut with a dull knife, will tend to pull and leave "rough" edges whereas a high quality board (or card) is both easier to cut and has a very sharp cut edge.

If you soaked a piece of greyboard, it would, I'd guess, quickly turn to mush.  Basically, it's a cheap, low quality card.  Ideal for my models but not for "architectural" modelling.

I'll happily send you an offcut if you like. :thumbs

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I tried using the Zing to cut mount board, the stuff used in picture framing but no combination of settings could get through it. Also blunts blades very quickly. As Peter said the grey stuff is very coarse and I've never used it in a construction where an edge might be exposed e.g. around a window aperture, just as a hidden reinforcement. You could try laminating the thinner card you've bought, then use the Zing for cutting. I've stuck to a combination of Stanley knife and scalpel, and live with the not quite even window sizes. The Zing compensates for this by cutting the window frames to the size of each aperture I give it. Are you wanting to use print to cut, e.g. for Scalescenes printouts, or are you making up your own customised design?

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I tend to modify Scalescenes and scanned Metcalfe to suit the location or to introduce a bit of variety. I convert the images to black and white before importing to MTC, and cut either from preprinted Metcalfe brick or stone, or print brick or stone on A4 labels and stick them to card.

Today I downloaded an old (CS2) version of adobe illustrator (free) hoping to be able to mport jpg, tif or bmp clean it up and export as SVG when I load the SVG into MTC I get a grey blurred image; so back to the drawing screen, save my images as bmp's  but as I've set blade offset to 0.45 I'm not sure if  the improvemnet is due to the bmp or the blade offset or a bit of both!

I'm beginning to get a bit disheartened, plus I'll soon be ankle deep in failed cut cards.

Not sure if it's my methods or if I'm expecting too much, but having seen what others have achieved I'm darned if I can see where I'm going wrong.

Method: prepare image in a photo application as black and white silhouettes, save as both jpg, tif and now also bmp files. (Experiments to get usable SVG files are ongoing)

Import as pixel trace, image on MTC screen looks fine, go to cut, outlines cut fine but window and door openings have at least one rounded corner, often 3 and sometimes all 4 corners. The windows I'm cutting now are 4.5 x 7.5 mm which judging by others' results should be well within the Zing capabilities.

I was originally cutting at 10, but have tried as low as 7, currently using 9; red blade offset initially at the recommended 0.35, but finding 0.45 is giving slightly better results, a blue blade set at 0.75 gives some impprovement but as I'm only cutting 0.45 card & label the blue blade is not the recommended one!

Force and blade depth I have tried various settings. Cutting thicker card (Metcalfe preprinted 1.5mm) results are worse, if the corners were any more rounded they'd be circles.

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Hi Mike

I tend to use the blue blade all the time - too lazy to change it I suppose.
As the majority of what I cut is cardboard box stock, with the printed paper stuck to it, Scalescene etc, or 160 / 300 gsm card that I have printed onto.
Grey board can be cut, but needs a new blade, max pressure and multiple cuts, plus the card needs taping to the cutting mat. But I have had several cuts spolit by the mat slipping. It also make a mess of the cutting mat - grey board fluff on the mat.
I had better results, sticking paper to both sides of the greyboard, making several single cuts, but increasing the depth of cut and pressure after each cut.

If using the Print and cut feature, decide which way you intend to load the paper - landscape or portrait. Then carry out the calibration setup for that mode and record your settings. The values appear different between the two modes. I now use landscape only.

Paul

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Hi, it seems a number of people are still moving forward with various brands  involved. I'm still more than satisfied with the Silhouette Cameo unit. The price of blades was mentioned early on in the thread for these as being around $60 I have to query that because I'm paying between $13 ~ $16 Aus. for OEM Blades. My only concern with the m/c is the thickness limitation on 'good' card of about 0.025" ( Sorry Dinosaur here, about 0.6mm )
 I have routinely been using Avery Self Adhesive Label Paper either to produce window frames or wall panelling using CAD based DXF Files drawn external to the Silhouette program then imported or  Printing complete sections of wall complete with inbuilt 'Registration Marks' onto the label paper, sticking it onto 400gsm card (about 0.021" I think ) and then cutting out the window openings following lines drawn by the onboard  limited but adequate  (so far ) CAD facility.
A couple of examples
 

The building is a model of Coops Clothing Factory from my Wigan Wallgate  model. The windows consist mainly of 2 layers of label paper and the walls have been developed from some "Gimping" (read Photoshopping ) of a couple of photos of the original building ( err no I haven't glued the l/h side wall on quite so misaligned.) That particular wall has 12 vertical rows of windows a bit short on the 23 of the original. The walls are 2 layers of 400gsm with label paper stuck to the outside .
Several more layers to go in some areas to build up the 3D effect
Kevan


 

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Wow

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That is looking very good well done!!

Stephen

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Just in case anybody else wants to cut parts to build terrace houses, herewith some jpg images to inport to MTC or maybe other cutter software. I cut preprinted brick or stone card, or card with A4 label printed with required texture. For anything requiring more detailed surfaces like patterened brick or ornate lintels or window and door surrounds I cut plain card, print the complete wall with whatever lintels/patterns etc  to label and cut that by hand. For normal straight lintels and cills I use either thin strips of paper or plastic either white, cement or stone coloured. Any of these can be used for low relief or full buildings

As is these are scaled for N gauge, they are similar in appearance to Metcalfe ones, but not identical, idea being they could be used to give some variations and cheaper than kits. For N gauge a bit of juggling should get 4 of the main building parts on an A4 sheet, and probably extend to 6 house terraces, (to fit 4 on an A4 sheet, I do a diagonal flip with alternate ones so the gable ends fit (see 3rd image).

For 4mm obviously you won't get 4 on A4, probably manage 2, you could do the gable end walls separate, or shorten to 2 or 3 houses and join together for longer terraces, maybe doing a copy/paste of the left hand end doorway and window, enlarging the door opening  for a ginnel between houses. For roofs I use Slaters plastic tile card as the roof is normally the most visible part on a layout.

I have recently started using etched windows and doors, so now edit the window and door openings to accept the etches. Other enhancements include the use of cast white metal or resin bay windows dormers and porches, chimney stacks from square or rectangular plastic tube with brick or stone label wrapped round, pots either plastic tube or Scalelink cast white metal.



Use for front, also for rear if no extension is used.


This one is best for  a rearwall where kitchen extensions are to be fitted, can also be used as a front wall for a bit of variety



alternate rear extensions,



This I posted previously, but just to show what can be done with parts from the plotter cutter




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Still thinking about a Cameo. Often watch channel 36 on Freeview in the mornings for a few minutes; presenters are pretty good, topic is a bit repetetive though.
They often have Cameo demos at the weekend so if interested worth looking out for. I watched one and while it was mainly pretty cards the presenter did mention that model railway enthuisasts were also using the system for modelling so model railways are on their radar.

David

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There's an interesting thread running on the Cameo cutter over on RMweb ATM. Details here-

http://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/79025-a-guide-to-using-the-silhouette-cameo-cutter/

I think this is going to be a game changer if you are an old fashioned modeller at heart- all things being well, there just might be an HR heritage train appearing on the Far North Line sometime in the near future.....

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Brother enters the scanner cutter market

On the craft channel this weekend, freeview 36, they have been plugging a new machine from Brother. Called the Scan n Cut it is obviously designed to work in a stand alone mode. From a model making point of view the ability to scan an image and then cut it out is the obvious feature. It does not seem to be able to connect to a computer and plot/cut from .dxf files so in that respect is unlike the Cameo.

Worth a look though. It might be what you are after.

Usually manage 10 minutes of the channel, a bit more if the lass with the midlands accent is on. However watched a bit longer for the demo of this machine.

David

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Hi Everyone,

It's some time now since a number of members tried out the KNK Zing machine and I was wondering if the longer-term verdict was still good?

I'm considering buying one shortly and would like confirmation that I will be able to cut out small window frames with, say, several panes (each pane measuring around 4mm x 3mm). Will the internal corners be sharp or rounded? (I'll be using vector files)

I realise that material thickness and type will make a difference, and I have been looking at vinyl, thick paper or styrene. What's your experience, please?

Michael

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Hi Michael

Before you buy, have a look at the Pazzels Inspiration Vue. It is getting good revues in the crafting community. Software is not as good as Make the Cut, but a plugin for the Vue to use Make the Cut is in development. The mat loading system is supposed to be a lot more accurate than the KnK Zing. The Zing Air is also available (wireless).

The learning curve and setup took a while, but once mastered the results are good. (I'm still at the grasshopper stage :roll:)

I have yet to spend /devote the effort to learning the software properly, but when I get it right, its worth the effort, and you just keep feeding it card to get multiple copies. I make my slates with the Zing, takes around 20 min to cut an A4 sheets worth, but thats quicker than I can stick them onto the buildings.

Not cheap, and for modeling use only, mine would have struggled to justify itself, but we have had a few 18ths, 21sts and 50th birthdays in the family, and the boss was impressed at the custom cards / labels etc that I've made for her :pathead

Print n Cut mode can still be a little hit and miss, but I put that down more to my lack of knowledge / skill of the software & hardware than the Zings capabilities.

Only problem with using re-cycled cardstock is the thickness and density varies, so the blade cut depth and pressure and speed often needs tweaking to suit.
So the lesson is probably, once you find a cardstock you like stick with it, and document thew settings for future use - a bit like data backups, theory sounds good but will I ever get round to doing it.

HTH

Paul

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The terrace house images I posted above have window openings about 6x10mm, I have cut smaller but cutting the smaller inner panes usually tears the thin dividing pieces of frame so I usually use etched brass frames  as the very thin frames around individual panes are much stronger in brass than card, an alternative is to draw the frames onto the glazing material using fine line paint markers, this gives an effect very much like the printed Metcalfe windows except you can do them in different colours. You can also draw curtains with ink marker.

Another advantage of using etched frames or frames drawn on the glazing is that they will be mounted "inside" whereas cutting them as part of the wall they will appear flush not recessed. The same goes for doors, printed, etched or plastic need to be fixed from the "inside". Compare the look of a Metcalfe or Scalescenes kit against some of the cheaper "all in one printed" with no separate doors or windows etc.

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Ooops

Forgot to say

I have cut grey board & recycled carboard up to 1mm without issue.
2mm Greyboard needs several passes, increasing deth of cut and pressure between each pass - not overly successful but did work.
Adhesive labels cut realy well, with very fine detail and sharp corners once the blade offset is set correctly - see earlier posts.
I have cut tin foil.
I have not used vinyl but is supposed to cut really easily.
Just starting to try embossing.

Paul

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I've cut mounting board 2.2mm thick (dense heavy card), as Paul says make more passes etc, I can't say I've had any problems with it though, however it's a bit overkill on N gauge models, I usually only use it as a strengthener, especially good for floors  and for roof supports.

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Hi Michael


I’ve been using the Zing for some time now and have to report that it has now become part of the family. It is easy to use once you have done a few projects and I would recommend playing with it before you attempt any particular project to familiarise yourself with its workings. I know cutting out squares and circles of cardboard sounds boring and you really do want to get onto the complicated stuff, but believe me, there is nothing more frustrating in not being able to get the machine to do what you want because you don’t know how it works and what pressure, speed and depth of cut to use in different materials.


It is a little bit more complicated if you are using an Autocad program to do your drawings as things have to be converted to files that MTC will read. I convert with Inkscape and use PDF files in MTC.


I have been digressing recently into 1/12 scale models but I’ve found that if I can draw it on the computer then I can cut it out. I recently cut some large letters in a strange font out of some 1.5mm thick leather for a project my partner was making. It was ridiculously easy.


There is an article in October issue of Railway Modeller about Computer aided cutting with a different machine.


The only comment I would really make is that I went for the Zing because of its power and the thickness of material it will cut. I was impressed with a video of it cutting 1.5mm balsa wood. Fibre board of that thickness is a bit variable but it still manages. Lots of these machines are designed for cutting vinyl hence limited width but limitless length where thickness of material is not important.


Neat and incredibly complex cuts are easy in thin material, but it would be better to keep to simple shapes in the thicker 1mm plus card. I cut some 4mm x 3mm staircase treads with very sharp corners in 1.2mm cheap fibre card. (see the bottom of page 4 of this thread).


Ultimately whatever you choose is personal and I am very happy with my choice, it does everything I hoped it would.
Best of luck.


Regards


Chris

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Thanks everybody - I'll be buying a Zing in a couple of weeks and I'll let you all know how I go on.

Michael


                 

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