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Old Feb 01, 2013, 12:45 PM
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Independence, KY and Brandon, MS
Joined Jun 2000
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I only recently came across this thread. It is certainly a very good place to see some real world experience from fellow modelers using vinyl cutters.

I can offer another data point to the growing experience list. I just bought a low end cutter from US Cutter. It is the 14 MH 361 MK2 model. Not many bells and whistles but it does have what I need for my intended applications. It also comes with a copy of the US Cutter Sure Cuts A Lot software package. Not a bad deal for $179.

My first use for the cutter was to cut some lettering out of Ultracote Parklite dark blue covering film. The Parklite film is about half the thickness of regular Ultracote, but uses the same nice waxed paper style backing.

The unit uses standard Roland cutting blades which is nice from a supply availability point of view. While the cut depth is set manually with this cutter, I found the process of getting the cutting blade depth set so it would cut only the thin Parklite film and not the backing paper to be fairly easy. A few cycles of manually running the cutter over a scrap piece of covering film and adjusting the blade depth did the trick.

This cutter also comes with a plotting pen adapter and I used that to get a feel for machine operation before trying my first cut. That really worked well and I anticipate that I will use the cutter as a plotter for printing full size plan sections. I do original designs so being able to print sections of the plans full size at home will be a nice bonus from the cutter.

After getting a feel for operation of the equipment I did my first cut with the Parklite film. I was both surprised and very pleased that the first attempt produced very satisfying results. The film cut very nicely without cutting through the backing. After weeding the excess film I used Glad Press n Seal as the transfer medium. That product has a low tack adhesive side that works great for lifting the cut film from its backing.

A common method for placing cut film graphics on a model is to spray the application area with Windex. The graphics and Press n Seal are then positioned and smoothed down. The Windex is allowed to dry over night and the Press n Seal is then removed. For my application I did not use the Windex step. I placed the graphics/Press n Seal on the model and smoothed them down. I then just went over the graphics with my trim iron set to low heat. The Press n Seal was then removed. Some of the Press n Seal adhesive did transfer to the graphics but was easily removed with a wipe of acetone.

At this point I am quite happy with this low cost cutter. I use CorelDraw for developing my graphics, but the included Sure Cuts A Lot software does seem to be fairly capable.

I have included a photo of one portion of the graphics I cut with the MH 361 MK2 cutter as applied to the model. The photos makes the edges of the letters appear a bit ragged but they are actually very crisp and nice.

Paul Bradley
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