The Quest for an Economical Vinyl Cutter - Page 10 - RC Groups
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Jul 06, 2012, 11:31 AM
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Frisket works fine for my purpose when spray painting, it is expensive if doing a lot of it. I am really not familiar with any other product of similar purpose.

I print on the Friskett using a ink jet printer then cutout by hand. The ink smears so this is a bother as well. All in all it was ok but tedious.

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Jul 06, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Nergall's Avatar
I checked my local hobby store today to see what the car vendors are selling as pre-made masks.


It turns out these are Oracal 631:

I have used these before, and they do work well, but also adhere strongly. On car bodies, you paint from the inside, so I never used one over existing paint.
Jul 06, 2012, 02:39 PM
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Nergall's Avatar
Looks like the same price as the OraMask.

Apparently, it is designed for temporary use - like at a trade show.
Jul 11, 2012, 10:54 AM
Nothin Ventured, Nothin Gained
harddrive8's Avatar
I picked up a USCutter SC Series cutter and got the chance to do my first cuts last night. I started out with a few stars in 1/2", 1/4" and 1/8" sizes. Set to the slowest speed, 100mm/sec, the cutter made crisp corners and clean cuts on all three stars. I then cut a 4" star design to see how it would track on a little larger design. Once again nice clean corners and lines.

I pulled up a few skull vectors that a friend gave me and proceeded to do another cut. Yet again it was very clean lines (this one ended up on the side of my cutter after weeding). A few designs later, I came to the conclusion that I'm very happy with my purchase and would recommend the SC series as a nice cutter. I have the 25" version with stand. The assembly instructions could have been better, but they weren't too difficult to understand. You can find any of the USCutter documentation at

This is my first experience with using a vinyl cutter, and I had a few flustered moments trying to get it to work last night, but I got it figured out with a little trial and error (namely setting up the cutting software to match the cutter model). Once that was completed, it was easy to load the vinyl, open the image and start the cut. I have no doubts that the cutter will do as fine of detail in a cut as I can stand to weed or work with, and I'll push the limits of tracking on larger cuts as time goes on. For $350 to get it to my door, I think I'd be a little hard pressed to find another product that isn't limited to sub-15" cutting widths (even though I'll probably rarely go over that width for cuts).
Sep 07, 2012, 09:37 PM
Registered User
I've been trying all of this out on my Silhouette SD and I've had really good luck so far with things being cut right. However, one of the things I'm trying to do is create the lookk of rivets by cutting a row of 2mm dots with the correct spacing then transfer those to my plane. I've seen where there are some people selling something like this so I thought I'd try to do my own. The plane is fiberglassed and primed. I tried a sample on an old piece of fiberglassed balsa I had and what I'm seeing so far is that the paint seems to be causing a problem with the vinyl (middle sunk in, so I am assuming it is melting it). I'm using rustoleum metalic paint (from a can) which does have solvents in it so I'm not terribly surprised.

So the question is, what other adhesive films like this can I use that won't have this problem? I need something that won't be a problem with solvent based paints and of course something that has strong adhesive.

Any thoughts?
Last edited by rlemaster; Sep 07, 2012 at 09:51 PM.
Sep 10, 2012, 12:07 AM
Watts is where its at!
racerxky's Avatar
They make sticky backed Ultracoat covering material called "Ultra Trim". Maybe give that a shot.
Sep 10, 2012, 12:13 AM
Registered User
I did some further investigation on this and found out that the guys that are selling pre-made rivets as vinyl (well at-least one of them) are using Oracal 641. I've found out since I posted this that it appears to be more of a problem with the adhesive than the vinyl. The adhesive for the Oracal product is a solvent based adhesive so it plays better with solvent paints.
Oct 26, 2012, 02:07 PM
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randynsaudi's Avatar
myself i have a Roland SV-12 Stika cutter.. use the CutStudio software that comes with it and also CorelDraw & Signtools4 software.... cutter is like 695.00 new but. sometimes can find on ebay for 1/2 of that,, Roland is about the top name in vinyl cutters..great service, solid cutter that will last and cut perfect for many years. and 11" tall is all i need to's still true you get what you pay for..
Oct 26, 2012, 02:44 PM
Watts is where its at!
racerxky's Avatar
Havent updated this thread in a while. I've been busy flying and now moving my shop to new digs. I have a couple of upcoming projects to do with my cutter this winter.

One is a foamy that needs a paint scheme and I'm going to do it in Vinyl. I've started the process of transferring the outline of the foamy parts into CAD so I can draw the design on top of them. I'm not totally excited about this project though, it's a lot of work.

The other project is doing an 'Air Force' scheme for a blue and yellow 60" EXP Edge. This one should be way less work and more rewarding. I'm going to do some roundels for the wings and the Air Force logo for the tail, all in Ultracoat.

lots of plans and no time...
Oct 26, 2012, 04:50 PM
Kit Manufacturer
coreman's Avatar
in case anyone is looking for software, US Cutter is currently offering "Sure Cuts a Lot Pro" for $50, lifetime license, regularly $199. I liked the feature list and was disappointed with the stuff that I've been using. It will also import from Corel (which I use) and SVGs like Inkscape. i pulled the trigger, your mileage may vary
SureCutsALot Pro is available at a special introductory sale price of only $49.99 (normally $199.99) that will run for two weeks only. Price is good through 11:59PST on 11/8/12.
This software will work with the following cutters:
  • USCutter Series (MH, Creation PCut, Laserpoint I and II, SC, TC, Copam)
  • Graphtec CE5000
  • Black Cat Cougar/Lynx
  • eCraft
  • Gazelle
  • Pazzles Inspiration
  • Silhouette SD
  • Silhouette Cameo
  • Silver Bullet
Latest blog entry: BluFO-XL review by Tim...
Oct 31, 2012, 07:04 PM
The world in foam & tissue
Rasterize's Avatar
Anyone try the Pazzles Inspiration? My wife has one and has been very happy with it. You have quite a lot of control over settings like blade length, pressure and number of passes. It is supposed to cut with about 500 grams of pressure and go through material as thick as a nickle. I use Illustrator for all my designs and it accepts native files from it which I really like. She has the Pro software which was $100 so she is into it this thing for around $560 now. At that price I think she could have gotten into a used Roland.
Nov 08, 2012, 09:45 PM
Registered User
SteveSw's Avatar
I've been using the Pazzles Inspiration for a couple years now and am also pretty happy with it. My local AC Moore had two brand new ones in the clearance sections for $350 each. At the time I think list was over $700. I build FF and like to airbrush on most of my markings so its perfect for making stencils for roundels, wing crosses, N-numbers, etc. A browse of my blog will show some of the stencils I've made. Like anything else, there is a bit of a learning curve but when you get it dialed it in for the type of material you are cutting, the results are quite repeatable.

One trick I've learned is to use clear vinyl shelf paper for making stencils. A lot cheaper than using Frisket paper or the special purpose paper sold by Pazzles and Cricut (virtually same product). Being clear, its easy to line up the stencil especially when overlaying one color over another. At times I also use vellum paper and attach with re-positional spray adhesive before painting.
Dec 16, 2012, 07:49 AM
Registered User
Well, I got the Cameo a few weeks ago, and have been stunned by what it would cut. See the attachment for the graphic on the side of the McpX canopy. For reference, the mounting holes in the canopy are 1 mm in diameter.
Letters are 3/32" tall, and it will cut smaller. One thing I have found is that when cutting tiny stuff like this, it sometimes lifts a letter, requiring a recut, and after doing this a bunch of times it gets worse. Turns out the little bits can pack up around the blade in its socket. Soaking the blade tip in rubbing alcohol and blowing it out with a can of air clears the issue up. A clean blade cuts cleaner.

Weeding really small stuff requires a special trick.
Cut the design and a small box around the design.
Weed out certain aspects of the letters, like the inside bits of the "B"
For 2 colors, like the BLHeli, weed out BL completely, cut a BL from a different sheet, and manually with a #11xacto blade lift them and place them in the sockets left in the original vinyl. Now apply transfer tape, lift the small box and the letters, and weed off the vinyl surrounding the letters (small box) from the transfer tape.
Last edited by michael503; Dec 16, 2012 at 08:22 AM.
Jan 10, 2013, 12:59 PM
Registered User
Palmettoflyer's Avatar
I bought my wife a Cameo for Christmas so she could enhance her monogram business. Little did she know my alternative motive of cutting airplane plastic films!

Does anyone have any advice or tips on how to manage monocote on the very sticky cutting mat? The tack is so strong that it makes lifting the work from the mat next to impossible. I have thought about making my own lower tack mat that would be just strong enough to hold the film while cutting.

Any tips or advice would be appreciated. No doubt the Silhouette Cameo is a good affordable hobby machine, please share some tips and advice on using it.

Jan 15, 2013, 12:26 AM
Jer. 29:11
jeffsch's Avatar
PF, here's what works for me.

In Silhouette Studio,
  1. Design your cut. In this example, I used the Text tool to create some lettering.
  2. Create a rectangle that is slightly larger than the cutting area.
  3. Use the Fill Color window and fill the rectangle, e.g., with gray.
  4. Use the Cut Style window and make the rectangle No Cut.
  5. Right click on the rectangle and Send to Back.
  6. Send your design to the printer and print it on a sheet of copy paper. This will be your carrier sheet.

In the physical world,
  1. Cut a piece of self-adhesive trim, paper backing and all, the size of the rectangle.
  2. Use a glue stick to glue the backing side of the trim to the carrier sheet. The trim should cover the printed rectangle.

Back in Silhouette Studio,
  1. Load the carrier sheet into the Silhouette and Send to Silhouette.

And then,
  • Simple designs you can probably just remove the self-adhesive trim from its backing and place directly on the final surface.
  • For larger designs, you may wish to put a drop or two of soap into a dish of water, and dip the trim in this solution before placing the trim on the final surface. This allows you to reposition the trim.
  • For lettering, use a piece of masking tape as a transfer. Cut a piece longer than the design, lay it over the trim, carefully peel the trim off its backing -- the front of the trim will stick to the tape, position the tape (and trim) over the final surface and press firmly, and finally peel the tape off the trim -- the back of the trim will stick to the final surface.

I hope the pictures help.

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