Drag Knife, Vinyl Cutter¶
by Ryan | Oct 30, 2016 | Hardware & Electronics
Insert the Blade¶
- This is for the Liyu style blade holder, from the shop.
- First take the protective cover off of the carbide knife
- Carefully position it into the cutter body, no need to push a magnet should suck it in.
- Then use the screw on the end to adjust it so it sticks out the approximate thickness of your material. It isn’t much, more than paper, less than a credit card.
Do not touch the end that little knife will slice you very quickly.
- The button on the end is to push the blade out for removal.
Set the Depth Of Cut¶
- Try and hold the cutter as perpendicular to the work material as possible and draw a circle on a hard flat smooth surface, glass or similar.
- If you go through the paper like the second photo you are much too deep, adjust the blade and locking ring again.
- Keep adjusting and drawing circles to get the depth right.
- The third picture looks close, but if you look at the paper backing in the 4th picture it is still a bit too deep.
- What you are looking for is all the way through the material and a slight dent in the paper backing, but not a cut. It can be tricky if you have never done it before but with a little practice it only takes a try or two.
- The blade is barely visible.
- The depth will change depending on your material, but you are always looking to just barely leave a mark on the carrier material.
- Now the new fancy mount, http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1860310.
- 2 cable ties is all it needs, positioned as shown. Please clip the ends….pet peeve…
- Two screws on to the MPCNC, ready for action.
- The least expensive solution I could find for a nice cutting surface was a cheap 1′ square mirror. Just make sure to set your blade depth correctly, pretty sure the carbide can score the glass and make for a dangerous experience.
- Tape on all sides is more than enough, there is very little force when it is all set up nicely.
- I used Estlcam for this sticker. There are other vinyl cutting specific software but, Estlcam works well enough. I think the option for over cuts might be in Estlcam but the lead in works to prevent small tags keeping the part in from the blade offset.
- Open your dxf of choice and make sure the size is as expected. My grid is set at 25.4mm so this sticker will be about 3″.
- Engrave would be the ideal path option for this but I want to use the lead in, so I set the tool diameter as small as permitted, 0.1mm.
- Select the path with either inside or outside tool.
- Use the “lead in” button to get close to a path overlap. This makes sure the sticker has been completely cut out. I want this as an acid mask, so I chose to lead in from the inside of the design.
- Set the other path.
- Save the program, chose something small for the depth of cut. For this 0.2mm was used.
Run the Gcode¶
- You can either load the .gcode into repetier host or save it to an SD card and run it from the LCD.
- Secure your vinyl/material to your cutting surface. I use painters tape on all sides and try to get the material to lay as flat and taught as possible. I use vinyl similar to this, http://amzn.to/2eHGbJU, I prefer medium tack for easy release.
- Move the gantry/cutter to the home position and set the drag knife in contact with the material. Lowering it just enough to just engage the mount spring.
- Start the program.
Making a sticker¶
- After the machine is finished you “weed” out the pieces you don’t want. In the pictures I have a positive and a negative. The positive is a typical sticker, the negative is my acid mask.
- Apply a piece of the transfer tape on the surface, trying to minimize bubbles between layers, not a big deal just best practice. Easiest way is to oversize the transfer tape and use it to tape it to a glass surface.
- You can do multiple “stickers” at once.
- trim the transfer tape and the backing at the same time. Bonus points for using a straight edge…
Applying a vinyl sticker¶
- Peel the backing paper off.
- Stick the vinyl and transfer tape to a clean surface.
- Carefully peel the transfer tape off, pulling at a 90 angle is best practice.
Acid Etching Glass¶
- Make sure to clean the glass surface thoroughly.
- Peel the backing and apply the mask from the center for easier alignment.
- stick down one side from the center out, then the other side.
Peel off the transfer tape and make sure all edges are completely stuck so acid cannot get under it.
I use this acid, http://amzn.to/2fpM1zK.
- Follow the directions, shake and apply liberally to the surface.
- Let is sit for about 10 minutes.
- Wash off with hot water and soap.
- The etch shows up when the glass is dry.