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Old Oct 19, 2011, 04:39 PM
Watts is where its at!
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New SoftwareAutodest has a new project: 123D. The latest version added support for exporting to SVG.

They are also pushing the idea that you can get things laser cut that you design in 123D. If you also want to do some fabricating that might be the toolchain for you.
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Old Oct 19, 2011, 05:22 PM
No Hangar Queens!
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Yeah, that kind of business would do well but yes... it would have to be quite expensive. While there are many affluent modelers out there willing to do that, the majority I know would not. The idea is to encourage model making and not make ARF-styled covering systems. Part of the craft IMO. Spending hours upon hours making a cardstock mask for an airbrush job encourages to focus on the painting itself. While having the custom design avenue present as well at a relatively affordable price. I would have spent hours tracing and cutting out just the template let alone the film to iron on. I had 20 pieces cut in about 30 minutes cut right the first time. And that was only experimenting!

The attached picture shows the smallest part that was cut... more or less to see how small it would cut. Basically you are limited to something 1mm wide before it becomes a problem. That could be some pretty detailed stuff. Let me know what you think.

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Originally Posted by racerxky View Post
Hello Willsonman, welcome to the thread. I think thats an interesting idea. Certainly there is a movement afoot to do similar things (e.g. Ponoko, Shapeways) with laser and plasma cutters.

One business I have wanted to see is a place that offers complete covering packages for kits. You see a lot of kits with lame covering schemes because the builder doesn't have skills in that department. The package would include all covering pre cut, vinyl graphics, vinyl masking necessary to paint the cowl and some instructions. I'm guessing the cost of a scheme would about cover the price of one of these cutters though.

I started this thread because any tool I have in my shop is vastly more useful to me than any tool you have in your shop. Doesn't matter if its a cutter or a screwdriver. If its here in my shop I can use it now and get instant feedback. If I have to send my designs and materials in to your shop to be cut I wont know how it turned out for weeks. This removes all of my ability to experiment and innovate. Thats also why places like Ponoko let you print other peoples designs. They are likely doing more business that way than on new one-off designs.

I started this thread because I want one of these in my shop. It's about 1/3 the cost of a Maker Bot, which a lot of people have now, and about 1/20th the cost of an entry level laser cutter. This should be something many modelers can to afford to have in their own shops.
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Old Oct 19, 2011, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by racerxky View Post
Thanks starzen! That machine is probably out of reach of most people at $1000 for the 15" model. Still its a good reference point. What has your experience been with the machine? Have you used it to cut monokote or ultracoat?
i looked at lesser expensive ones and decided to spend a little more for a few reasons.

i tried once and it cut ultracoat but i didnt spend time trying to figure out the depth and it was cutting too deep.

Didnt spend any time on it but i am not sure how well it will work on a roll cutter.

the biggest pita with vinyl cutting is not the cutting but the weeding of the vinyl especially if you have very thin outlines and such.
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 01:06 AM
Watts is where its at!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willsonman View Post
Yeah, that kind of business would do well but yes... it would have to be quite expensive. While there are many affluent modelers out there willing to do that, the majority I know would not. The idea is to encourage model making and not make ARF-styled covering systems. Part of the craft IMO. Spending hours upon hours making a cardstock mask for an airbrush job encourages to focus on the painting itself. While having the custom design avenue present as well at a relatively affordable price. I would have spent hours tracing and cutting out just the template let alone the film to iron on. I had 20 pieces cut in about 30 minutes cut right the first time. And that was only experimenting!

The attached picture shows the smallest part that was cut... more or less to see how small it would cut. Basically you are limited to something 1mm wide before it becomes a problem. That could be some pretty detailed stuff. Let me know what you think.
Yea, this is about the hobby of making and finishing models and bringing it to the next level.

That is a really small fireball! I want to come up with a test pattern that will stress these cutters. So for sure it needs to contain some fine detail like that. Some things that might go into such a test:
  • A tracking test to see how the cutter does over long runs. Can it cut a 6' long 10mm wide rectangle (stripe)?
  • Fine detail, how small can it cut? Include a set of letters in decreasing sizes.
  • How well does it deal with long narrow point common in R/C schemes?

Those are just some ideas. I would want to run a test in a variety of materials; monokote, ultracoat, card and vinyl.
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 05:41 AM
No Hangar Queens!
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Yeah... our machine will not cut 6' long but 10mm wide is no problem. Max length is 12 inches. You could just have a 1mm overlap. Might be easier to work with over a 6' length anyways. I think you will be surprised how small this thing will cut. We made a mask for some numbers for another airplane. Very small. The vinyl was actually more problematic due to the adhesives used in commercial vinyl for the backing. What is amazing is that the cutter will cut smaller than the vinyl will handle before the adhesive will give and the cut piece will peel right up. Come up with something and lets get going on this.

Edit: The clover below had a template as well. It was traced with a fine-tip permanent marker and hand-painted for the more authentic look.
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Last edited by Willsonman; Oct 20, 2011 at 05:43 AM. Reason: Added another picture
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 11:42 AM
Watts is where its at!
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Which machine are you using?
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 02:07 PM
No Hangar Queens!
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We would rather not say... possible trade secret.
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 02:39 PM
Watts is where its at!
racerxky's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Willsonman View Post
We would rather not say... possible trade secret.
Thats not really in the spirit of this thread and not very helpful.

Max length of 12 inches makes it sound like a craft cutter. All the vinyl cutters I see do unlimited length. So your "Trade Secret" probably costs less than $500 and might already be in this thread.
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 03:14 PM
No Hangar Queens!
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Well, the spirit of the thread is what I am doing... providing a solution. My wife currently owns her own business and I cannot speak on her behalf. I can tell you that if it takes off there is possibility to expand.
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 04:15 PM
Watts is where its at!
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Originally Posted by Willsonman View Post
Well, the spirit of the thread is what I am doing... providing a solution. My wife currently owns her own business and I cannot speak on her behalf. I can tell you that if it takes off there is possibility to expand.
If you read the first post again I think I was pretty clear about the goal: to find an economical cutter for individuals to own and have in their own shops. If you have some information you could contribute towards finding a good, cheap cutter then please do contribute.

I also expressly addressed the idea of using someone else's cutter or a service of some kind as not being an acceptable solution. I'm not interested in any kind of service or business for reasons stated previously.
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Old Oct 20, 2011, 04:42 PM
No Hangar Queens!
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Fine, I'll bow out. Please be advised that "economical" is a relative term in this hobby.
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 09:46 AM
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Have been reading the thread, and would like to say that I did find an economical vinyl cutter but it took sometime.

The cheapest for width are the uscutters or master cutters, which are chinese and not bad for the money. The software it comes with is not very good. The software I am using is called signgopro and it ran me $150 cad. It works off a usb key so it cant be copied. The cutter I was looking at was a toss up between http://signsupplycanada.com/shop/ind...products_id=17 and an old Ioline Artpro 3500. Found it on Kijiji or craigslist, etc. If your not running business found the cuts by the old machine cleaner then those on the chinese. Hey it still works after 21 years, that says something.

I bought the Ioline for $140 which was made in America and still has allot of support. You can still by blades for it or anyother part online, and the thing works like a charm for making paint masks and decals, its just slow.

Basically, in my experience it all depends on what your going to do with it and how much software and hardware support you can get, because it WILL take you time to set the machine up. But once it is its worth every penny.
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Old Oct 27, 2011, 01:57 PM
Watts is where its at!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ginogino View Post
Have been reading the thread, and would like to say that I did find an economical vinyl cutter but it took sometime.

The cheapest for width are the uscutters or master cutters, which are chinese and not bad for the money. The software it comes with is not very good. The software I am using is called signgopro and it ran me $150 cad. It works off a usb key so it cant be copied. The cutter I was looking at was a toss up between http://signsupplycanada.com/shop/ind...products_id=17 and an old Ioline Artpro 3500. Found it on Kijiji or craigslist, etc. If your not running business found the cuts by the old machine cleaner then those on the chinese. Hey it still works after 21 years, that says something.

I bought the Ioline for $140 which was made in America and still has allot of support. You can still by blades for it or anyother part online, and the thing works like a charm for making paint masks and decals, its just slow.

Basically, in my experience it all depends on what your going to do with it and how much software and hardware support you can get, because it WILL take you time to set the machine up. But once it is its worth every penny.
Thanks for sharing your experience!

I think this is not an entirely uncommon story. When you first look into things the cutter may look cheap but you are going to need an even more expensive software package.

I'd like more width but im leaning in the direction of the craft cutters. The software is included and it's intended for use by a hobbyists, not a sign shop. The total package is not crazy expensive. They are made to cut fine detail, just not to produce that in high volume.
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Old Nov 07, 2011, 06:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racerxky View Post
And in this corner...

Attachment 4353846
US Cutter SC 631E
Cutting Width: 24.8 inches
Cutting Length: unlimited
Price: $280

Now from what I can tell its a chinese cutter, the instructions were translated by the lyrical genius responsible for this gem. Posters say the included software is close to unworkable.

But its big and it cuts. You can get alternate software for around $50 that is workable, I'm looking into this.

I think most of the entry level cutters we will find will follow the same pattern; functional hardware, poor instructions and bad to no software. So this rout may be for the more determined among us. The craft cutters should come with easy to use software and clear instructions. If you dont have anything particularly big to cut I would go that rout.
I bought a 35" cutter from US Cutters through eBay for $299 and was very pleased. It got jiggled in transit but once everything got put back in the right place, it has been flawless. it comes with Sign Cut as a never expires trial and I do most on my SVG work in Inkscape mentioned here (and free). I can get a 10 yard roll of 15" wide sign vinyl for about $20 at the local supplier and they have roll ends also because they buy 60" rolls and cut them down for clients so i can get 5" wide ends of colors I just need a little of. It lets me offer graphics for the models I kit and I have used it to cut custom paint masks also. Haven't tried cutting ultracoat with it but I see no reason why it wouldn't, it just uses a friction roller that is spring loaded. it also came with a penholder so you could do plots with it although i haven't tried

There is a craft cutter called Cricket that I have seen listed but it wasn't large enough for what i needed. it is more for scrapbookers that are just doing an 8.5x11 page
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Old Nov 07, 2011, 03:25 PM
Watts is where its at!
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United States, WA, Seattle
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Originally Posted by coreman View Post
I bought a 35" cutter from US Cutters through eBay for $299 and was very pleased. It got jiggled in transit but once everything got put back in the right place, it has been flawless. it comes with Sign Cut as a never expires trial and I do most on my SVG work in Inkscape mentioned here (and free). I can get a 10 yard roll of 15" wide sign vinyl for about $20 at the local supplier and they have roll ends also because they buy 60" rolls and cut them down for clients so i can get 5" wide ends of colors I just need a little of. It lets me offer graphics for the models I kit and I have used it to cut custom paint masks also. Haven't tried cutting ultracoat with it but I see no reason why it wouldn't, it just uses a friction roller that is spring loaded. it also came with a penholder so you could do plots with it although i haven't tried

There is a craft cutter called Cricket that I have seen listed but it wasn't large enough for what i needed. it is more for scrapbookers that are just doing an 8.5x11 page
Thanks for the recommendation. I added that cutter to the recommended list.
I went to their site again and I saw that I can do "will call" shipping. Sure enough they are located over in Redmond WA about 30 mins from Seattle where I am.
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