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Cricut update

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  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Cricut update
Posted by Don Stauffer on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 8:58 AM

I have, with the help of my daughter, made some progress on using a Cricut machine for model building activities.  A Cricut is a computer numerical control cutting machine.  Originally intended to cut vinyl sheet for decorations for scrapbookers, people have found it will cut many other thin materials.  My original idea was to cut vinyl patterns to make painting masks, instead of the normal handwork cutting and masking with masking tape.  Turns out it can also cut thin sheet styrene.

Pictures in a day or two.  My current test project is a set of bridge supports for a scratch 1:144 WW1 German destroyer.  The bridge has wings that stick out and these wings are one deck above the main deck and needs to be supported, so there is a deck support from the main deck holding up those wings.  Originally I thought I could have the machine cut .020 sheet styrene.  I was having a bit of problems with setting the depth of the cutting knife.  While I was doing that, it dawned on me that the cut vinyl could act as a resist for etching to make PE parts from thin sheet brass.  Monday my daughter was over for Christmas, and we took a few minutes to try both ideas.  First, we cut vinyl to act as an etching mask (yes, vinyl is resistant to the ferric cloride etchant).  That worked fine- I applied the mask to a piece of clear plastic to inspect it- it looks fine.  I will be cutting two more masks to try etching the PE with actual brass.

We also got the sheet styrene cut, though the interior openings are sticking in and must be punched out- carefully since .020 styrene is pretty flimsy. I will be sanding the back of the piece to help punch out the openings.  So far the piece looks pretty good.

The vinyl she is using (she makes etched custom designs on glassware- the vinyl is resistant to the flouride etching cream- is just regular adhesive backed Contact shelf liner.  A transparent transfer sheet is also needed to move the design from the Cricut machine to the surface to be etched.  She is using transparent Contact for that.

The idea is to design the part to be cut out or the mask by making a drawing (jpeg or png) and uploading the drawing to a Cricut web site.  That site then runs a slicer program and downloads it back to your Cricut machine, which then does the cutting on the material you load into the machine.  People are already using it to cut thin plywood (1/32 or so) for things like ship decks and such.

Again, pictures of the bridge support in a day or two.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Wednesday, December 27, 2017 10:21 AM

Hi,

I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Pat

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Thursday, December 28, 2017 2:17 PM

Okay, here is the picture of the bridge support.  The one on the upper desk is just a vinyl mask that would be used to make an etched brass piece, the one on the lower right is cut from 20 mil styrene sheet.

 

I can see that my image is not good enough. I drew it in my photo editor program rather than CAD.  The program I used for years, Autosketch, by Autodesk, has become too expensive, and I have turned to a version of TurboCAD.  I find it much harder to use than Autosketch, so I will have to bone up on it and get better drawing before I continue with the Cricut work.

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Thursday, December 28, 2017 7:53 PM

Hi,

In the past I've used either IntelliCAD or AcceliCAD for drfating for personal use, but they too have gotten kind of expensive.  Since then I've migrated over to ViaCAD.  The 2D version is pretty cheap (I think about $40, though you might be albe to find it cheaper) though I now use the 2D/3D version (which is about $120) because it can support both my 2D needs and also the level of stuff I typically do for making 3D models for 3D printing.

Pat

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, December 29, 2017 9:13 AM

PFJN

Hi,

In the past I've used either IntelliCAD or AcceliCAD for drfating for personal use, but they too have gotten kind of expensive.  Since then I've migrated over to ViaCAD.  The 2D version is pretty cheap (I think about $40, though you might be albe to find it cheaper) though I now use the 2D/3D version (which is about $120) because it can support both my 2D needs and also the level of stuff I typically do for making 3D models for 3D printing.

Pat

 

 

 

How good is the ViaCAD manual?  I think the manual is critical.  I find that the way things work, and the icons on tools, are far less uniform than for picture editing (graphics editing) software such as Photoshop, PSP and such

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by PFJN on Friday, December 29, 2017 9:53 PM

Hi,

The manual that I have is several 100 pages long, but it is for the 2D and 3D version.  Maybe you could download their free trail for their 2D program and see what the manual for that looks like. Smile

Pat

  • Member since
    February, 2017
Posted by ugamodels on Friday, January 05, 2018 10:03 PM
Don, have you tried google Sketchup? I don't know anything directly, but there are a number of home builders that use it.

I type on a tablet. Please excuse the terseness and the autocorrect. Not to mention the erors. 

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Friday, January 05, 2018 11:55 PM

Thats really cool, i was thinking of getting a vinyl cutter and now you've convinced me.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Saturday, January 06, 2018 10:08 AM

Not having much luck finding a CAD program that I can afford and use.  Either the features are lacking or the manuals are lousy.  Thing I used to like about Autosketch is that it came with a thick manual, several hundred pages, and well written.

I got excited a few days ago.  A google search revealed several sites offering free download of the program (I guess Autodesk has discontinued the program).  After I downloaded it, I find you must have valid registration number, so that will not help.  I have lost the disks for my own old copy. I have it on a computer in the basement, but it has been way to cold lately in the basement to work with that computer.  I do not know how to create an installation disk for a program like that, so maybe I will have to wait till summer and warmer weather to redesign that bridge support that I am using as a starter program for cnc cutting.

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    December, 2002
  • From: NYC, USA
Posted by waikong on Thursday, January 25, 2018 1:39 PM
have you seen this one ? Haven't tried it myself, just thought it may be useful https://www.freecadweb.org/
  • Member since
    September, 2017
Posted by greghile on Friday, January 26, 2018 1:16 AM

Don, if you are looking for cheap CAD programs, I would second the suggestion to try SketchUp. Two of their products -- SketchUp Make 2017 and SketchUp Free (cloud-based) are free and extremely popular, with tons of product support. BTW, SketchUp is now owned by Trimble, having purchased it from Google several years ago.

Another free program is Tinkercad -- not as robust as SketchUp but very simple to use.

Finally, another program is Autodesk Fusion 360, which is free for hobbyists and even some small businesses. I use SketchUp for architectural design and Fusion 360 for everything else.

Of course, a 2D vector illustration program may be what you're looking for when creating Cricut files. Adobe Illustrator is, of course, the gold standard here but certainly not free. I just this past week cancelled my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription in favor Affinity Designer for vector work and Affinity Photo for raster images. They are not free but I believe I got them for something like $40 each. They seem to do everything that at this point in my life I would need from Illustrator and Photoshop.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
  • From: Twin Cities of Minnesota
Posted by Don Stauffer on Friday, January 26, 2018 7:04 AM

Thanks!  I'll look into both Sketchup and Fusion 360!

 

Don Stauffer in Minnesota

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