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Sep 09, 2019, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BaronPork
200-300$ Is nowhere near where you can get anything useful (just my opinion)....
Well as I stated, I went with the Cricut Maker. I forget the exact amount I paid for it, but it was around $400. Extra blades, materials and supplies easily added another $100 to it. So yeah I am a bit out of my original price range, but I got a much better and more capable machine. For any that don't know, it is a CNC cutter, that just happens to be super powerful and versatile.

I have had it since January or so. It actually does MUCH MORE than a laser cutter could for my needs. And it is simpler by many magnitudes to use.

I have ZERO concerns about starting fires with it. Dedicated space with venting system not needed. It does, for me, anything I would use a laser for. It does it cleaner. This thing cuts balsa with ease, and also thinner lite ply with an extra pass or two. And it does it FAST. I have yet to put a project on the board that takes me more than about 20-30 seconds to cut.

I realize this is the laser forum, but since comments were posted to my older thread here, and mention of CNC routers made, I figured I would respond with this alternative that I have been using. I love this thing!
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Sep 10, 2019, 11:48 AM
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portablevcb's Avatar
So what is the balsa thickness limit on the Cricut? Table size? My SIL has one and it is limited to about 12x12 and won't cut thicker than 1/16" balsa. FWIW, it was more difficult to learn to use than my first laser.

Price is great for what it does and if your needs go beyond cutting/engraving wood then the Cricut is a way to go.

charlie

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PS sorry notice previous post about 12x12 and 12x24
Sep 10, 2019, 11:57 AM
Neophyte hacker
portablevcb's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 049flyer
Vinyl cutters are starting to get to the point where they can be used to cut balsa. They are also in your stated price range. Just remember that it will probably take you more time to draw the ribs in CAD and arrange them for cutting, than it will just to cut the ribs out by hand.

A laser cutter rarely makes sense UNLESS you are making many copies of the exact same parts.
No, a laser makes more sense when just cutting one set of parts. That is what my business was based on, one set of parts at a time.

It is the design part that takes the time. If you are designing in CAD anyway, then cutting by laser is far faster than by hand.

But, if you have paper plans then hand cutting is faster than scanning, tracing, cleaning up, and nesting in preparation for laser cutting.

charlie

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Sep 10, 2019, 02:31 PM
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SteveT.'s Avatar
According to the website, the Cricut will cut 3/32" thick, I don't know about the size though.

SteveT.
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Sep 11, 2019, 12:27 PM
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So, A lot of this was discussed in depth over in a thread in the sailboat forum. But this is such an interesting tool that I will relay some of that back here, even though this isn't a laser cutter, but a CNC plotter/cutter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by portablevcb
So what is the balsa thickness limit on the Cricut? Table size? My SIL has one and it is limited to about 12x12 and won't cut thicker than 1/16" balsa. FWIW, it was more difficult to learn to use than my first laser.

Price is great for what it does and if your needs go beyond cutting/engraving wood then the Cricut is a way to go.

charlie
PS sorry notice previous post about 12x12 and 12x24
(it is cool I wrote this out last night and didn't hit post lol)

It comes with 12"x12" mats but there are also 12"x24" available for it. I have seen mention of a way to go even longer, but it wasn't clear to me.

I thought I had seem a tutorial with it cutting 1/8 (3mm) lite ply???... Oh well. I don't usually work with thicker than 1/16ths. The cool thing about it though is the accuracy is bang on and one could easily and quickly make up a couple layers and laminate/glue them together if a thicker part was needed. In fact it would be easy to make up my own exotic plywoods too.

I spend most of my hobby time building sailboats. So the capabilities of this match the variety of materials I work with really well. Maybe this is a "gateway drug" to a laser cutter. But for now at least it is doing everything I wanted and more.

There are others out there like the Silhouette Charlie mentioned. I quickly dismissed all of them as they all seemed harder to use, and MUCH less cutting pressure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by portablevcb
...
It is the design part that takes the time. If you are designing in CAD anyway, then cutting by laser is far faster than by hand.

But, if you have paper plans then hand cutting is faster than scanning, tracing, cleaning up, and nesting in preparation for laser cutting....
I am usually working from paper plans, or digital PDF plans (that I then print out). BUT a lot of the sailboat plans out there already have cut files. I am a bit old school and while good with computers, not so good with learning new software. The Cricut Design Software is just simple enough for me to get it, but advanced enough that I can (eventually) get it to do what I want. It is mostly an interface for the machine, that just so happens to allow the user to design stuff within the "Cricut World." But where it differs from the Cricut of old, is it allowed the user to design outside of "Design Space" in whatever program of their choosing, and export those files into Design Space for cutting prep.

So yeah, my workflow would not be profitable or efficient from a business standpoint, but I can eventually get to where I want to go. I do need/want to start dabbling in CAD, but I can't find any software that is simple enough, cheap enough, and geared towards making boats.

Right now I need to make up some new deck patches for one of my boats. It will take me longer to find the material that I want to use, then to scan a patch and import it in to cut it. While it might seem a trivial thing, knowing I can do that without issue defiantly makes the Cricut Maker a valuable tool for me.


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