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Noel

Silhouette Cameo cutters - any users here?

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Has anybody here any feedback on using a cutting plotter such as the Silhouette Cameo 3 or similar for cutting plastic styrene sheet or clear glazing?  It looks like it could be used to cut out small fiddly bits like window frames, window glazing, and even wagon and coach sides fabricated from multiple laminated layers, and a really useful tool for building construction.

  • Do they work with plastic card? (evergreen, slaters, etc)?
  • If yes what thickness of plastic card can it actually handle (e.g. 110, 120, etc)?
  • Do the cut parts need much tidying up after cutting (e.g. ridges along cut line, etc)?
  • How long does a blade last?
  • Are there low cost alternatives using alternate technology (e.g. laser)?

Thanks in advance guys

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Sorry, been busy all day, only spotting this now. I use a Silver Bullet Cutter, which would be up in the four figure range, and once calibrated and you've configured your workflow, it's a demon. There's no real limit on cut depth as you can drop the platen to suit, but you're limited by the blade itself. 1.5mm mounting board I've cut for backing for buildings, but it's no where near as handy as a laser cutter would be, as eoin rightly says above. Min thickness material I cut is 0.08mm acetate for the windows, max is about 0.4mm, usually with about 4 passes for a cut, and a single one for a fold or score. 

I'll make several of the same layer in CAD so that when it goes into the software it'll cut the single lines first and the multi-lines last. Doing slates for instance. In fact, getting a CAD process to translate to a single smooth cut/score operation, was the trickiest. Sometimes the software that's offered for each type of machine can be less than polished. 

It can make holes of as low as 0.3mm, handy for handrail openings. There are other attachments like the embossing & engraving tools, but I've not bothered to try them out. More for swirly patterns than stamping out a rivetted side of a wagon, I think. 

If you're going to get one, be prepared for a fair bit of time figuring out what it can do, and can't, and how to bend your CAD process to suit what you want. R. 

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Yes Noel, I use one and its very handy

It will cut plastic card up to about .3mm after that it can score it for snapping, 1mm card is about the max that will fit under the tool.

Its great for scoring detail on the surface of parts.

The parts do need tidying up and they can be slightly distorted by the pull of the blade- some lines may not be parallel as intended!

The blade lasts a reasonable time depending on how one uses it, there are a few different suppliers other than the Cameo one and they are cheaper but from the US or on Amazon

I have used it to score or mark out thin brass sheet with a diamond tip tool- very handy, it will score deep enough for folding.

The Cameo cutter is in the cost range of €300.00, there are other machines far better but come at a higher price, an entry level Laser Cutter for plastic will cost around €2000.00 the last time I looked and that is a basic one! Laser is not low cost alternative to a Cameo cutter.

The majority of the parts for this project were cut on the Cameo, including the window mullions;-

Eoin

 

Edited by murrayec
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Thanks Eoin, that is really helpful.

Is 0.3mm similar thickness to slaters size 120?  I could easily work with that.  Will it cut clear plastic/acetate as well for windows?

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Hi Noel

Get out your vernier and measure it,

it will cut plastic/acetate but the edges are harder to clean up because you don't want to score the glazing- I use a nail polishing stick to do this

Eoin

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1 hour ago, Noel said:

Is 0.3mm similar thickness to slaters size 120?  

It looks as though the last two numbers in the Slater's thickness code is the thickness in thousandths of an inch.

So, 120 sheet is 20 thou, or near enough to 0.5mm thick.

 

http://www.gaugemaster.com/search_results.asp?searchstring=brand~~561~~brand+category~~1236~~category+plasticard&andor=View&searchtitle=Slaters+Plastikard&style=main&method=kws&strType=arch

Edited by Broithe
"thousands" to "thousandths"..doh!
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44 minutes ago, murrayec said:

Hi Noel

Get out your vernier and measure it,

it will cut plastic/acetate but the edges are harder to clean up because you don't want to score the glazing- I use a nail polishing stick to do this

Eoin

Thanks. Vernier! Ah now Eoin, I've always done everything by eye, or at most a 30cm steel rule. :) I suppose should get one. Any recommendations?  There are some nice plastic ones on eBay. I used to annoy builders with my former ocd laser eye sight (when I had 20/20 - no more though).

Eoin does the plastic card just friction feed through the cameo or does it have to be placed on backing paper or a mat, etc?  Does it need calibration marks drawn on it?

33 minutes ago, Broithe said:

It looks as though the last two numbers in the Slater's thickness code is the thickness in thousands of an inch.

So, 120 sheet is 20 thou, or near enough to 0.5mm thick.

http://www.gaugemaster.com/search_results.asp?searchstring=brand~~561~~brand+category~~1236~~category+plasticard&andor=View&searchtitle=Slaters+Plastikard&style=main&method=kws&strType=arch

Thanks so slaters 110 and perhaps even 115 should be ok to cut with something like the cameo.  110 would do for coach window frames and stuff like that.

Richie (Sir Richard of Glenderg), what do you use to cut your superb flush glazed windows?

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the general feedback from RMweb thread , is 10 thou plasticard is the max that can be cut through  ( measuring the sheet its 0.22mm or closer to 12 thou in reality )

Edited by Junctionmad

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54 minutes ago, Noel said:

Thanks. Vernier! Ah now Eoin, I've always done everything by eye, or at most a 30cm steel rule. :) I suppose should get one. Any recommendations?

Electronic ones are cheap enough these days (often in Lidl/Aldi), and have the option of imperial/metric convertions.

I generally use a metric dial one, so I'm not battery dependent, but it does mean committing to one set of units, metric has to be the way to go now..
7636706-24.jpg

Vernier, in the true sense of the word, is probably not the way to go - the imperial version particularly, can be difficult to read. Dial, or digital, display is the best for occasional use.

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Hi Noel

The plastic sheet is best mounted on the sticky carrier sheet, there are two pressure wheels on the drive shaft that put pressure on the sheet, but the knife pressure can twist the plastic in these and then its a mess. As well as the carrier sheet I use masking tape as the carrier looses its tack over time especially with styrene.

Reg marks are only required if you want to line the machine up with pre printed stuff that you want to cut out, cutting plain plastic sheet does not need this as long as you mount the plastic on the carrier sheet in relationship to the drawing in the software. There is a grid in the software and on the carrier sheet to aid on this...

Do remember you need some CAD skills to prepare the drawings, the Cameo software is not great for this! I use Autocad and then import it in as a DXF- the latest version of the Cameo software had bugs in the DXF import- coming in at the wrong scale, so I went back to a version that does work!

Eoin

 

 

 

Edited by murrayec
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Today's job on the Cameo

Here is a basic example of what can be done, Class G replacement cabs for a Worsley Works etch kit with the old style windows

This is the mounting of the .5mm styrene sheet on the carrier sheet

5a19a0e538a7e_CC-01IMAG3560.jpg.03a7d110c354341cd86c21e308bec7b2.jpg

The sheet is cut several times, each time deeper, scoring is done at a depth of 4 and then for cutting the parts in incremental depths of 2 until 10- 10 is the deepest cut which is more than halfway through the sheet

5a19a0e6a8988_CC-02IMAG3561.jpg.1233093fd4561598ffb73131f6347a1d.jpg

Then out with the scalpel to cut it out- X's in the windows to push them out and then run the scalpel in the deep cut lines to aid cutting corners and curves

5a19a0e8e725a_CC-03IMAG3562.jpg.8c2be83c488571738d2db653388164b8.jpg

Done, needing a bit of sanding on the edges and light scoring on the back to bend it into a cab

Eoin

Edited by murrayec
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Thanks for that Eoin and the effort to take the pics.  Appreciated. 

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Hi Noel,

Don't go for the Aldi or Lydl vernier caliper as they fail and are not accurate. It's worth spending a bit more on them. 

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On 25/11/2017 at 1:31 PM, Noel said:

Thanks. Vernier! Ah now Eoin, I've always done everything by eye, or at most a 30cm steel rule. :) I suppose should get one. Any recommendations?  

 

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