So after a long time of wondering if I should get a plotter/vinyl cutter, I gave in and got one.
I could not afford the real industrial sign machines but this one will do. It’s not like I’ll be running a sign shop or anything. I just need it for personal projects like stickers and if needed, masking in airbrush jobs.
The software that came with the machine, Silhouette Studio, is very easy to use. You can just watch a bunch of videos on YouTube and you will be up and running in no time. Most of my designs were done in CorelDraw so I had to convert everything to .DXF files so that the Studio software could read it. I ran into some issues when I wanted to convert out of CorelDraw 10 but with version 9 I have no issues at all. I have no idea what the latest version will do seeing that it is standing on version X6 (16) or something stupid like that.
This machine is quite small and fits very easily next to the monitor on a desk. You will just need space in front and behind the machine for your media to move in and out of the machine. It looks a bit girly with the lime green logo of a girl on the lid but it can be covered up with some faux carbon fibre or diamond plate vinyl. The overlay of the control panel can also be changed to whatever you want. There is a template in the library. Not a very good one, but it will do.
It is mainly for for the paper crafters like scrapbooking and such so when it comes to cutting paper, it does it beautifully. I just played with some off cut paper I had laying around to do this.
Here I just cut shields that I’ve been using for for 18 months and needed replacing. I scanned in the originals, redrew it in CorelDraw and can now make perfect replicas every time in sizes as I need it.
I really wanted this machine to cut Mylar and after a long search, the only Mylar I could find was either 0.25mm or 0.35mm thick. I tried the thinner of the two but it is still too thick for this cutter. I even went over the same cut lines four time but it just does not want to break through the last layer of the composite sandwich. I then tried a sheet normal overhead transparency and it worked great. This is one from the Gerald Mendez FX set. Don’t worry, I will not start cutting these and selling them under the table. It is just that the original is not made from Mylar but some sort of shiny card stock that is the same as what I’ve seen at the paper shop. It is not very tough and will not last very long if you don’t look after it. So I will replace mine as I need to. This sample is smaller then the original so at 1:1 scale it will work beautifully.
Earlier I mentioned the face plate in the library that is not that hot. Well I scanned mine in and redrew it in CorelDraw and made a cut file ready for you to download here.
This is what it looks like.