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  • Topic: Some lettering work with a vinyl cutter

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    • August 10, 2020 6:42 PM EDT
      • South Central , PA
         
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      I have done both vinyl and decals but I personally prefer the vinyl. Dan, yes you can get the vinyl to tuck carefully with a heat gun and the proper plastic squeegees. It's all a matter of what you are comfortable working with. The line under Utility is my fault as I scored it into the side for a level line reference.

    • August 10, 2020 7:53 PM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      Rooster, how did you make (or purchase) your vinyl lettering? You had a thread on all that, right? 

       

      Looks great!! I love that shadow effect, with the gold on red!

    • August 11, 2020 6:34 PM EDT
      • South Central , PA
         
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      Cliff Jennings said:

      Rooster, how did you make (or purchase) your vinyl lettering?

      Neither...it's called barter but I did have my overall plan in place. I was just saying that I worked with both vinyl and water slide decals and prefer the vinyl myself.

    • August 11, 2020 6:34 PM EDT
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      Cliff Jennings said:

      Rooster, how did you make (or purchase) your vinyl lettering?

      Neither...it's called barter but I did have my overall plan in place. I was just saying that I worked with both vinyl and water slide decals and prefer the vinyl myself.

    • August 11, 2020 6:35 PM EDT
      • South Central , PA
         
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      Hiccup

    • August 12, 2020 2:48 PM EDT
      • Jacksonville, OR
         
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      Rick Marty said:

      OK, a completely ignorant question here. 

      How does this vinyl cutting thing work? does the machine do it all or is there a bunch of computer programing involved??

      Thanks for any enlightenment

      Pretty much what Dan said.  My Silhouette cutter works only with their custom Silhouette Studio software.  It's a typical drawing program able to create the usual line, shape and text type objects.  You can start from a blank page or paste any graphic you like.  But, pasting from a jpeg won't give you cut lines - for those you use the software's "trace" tool to find edges in the jpeg and convert them to cut lines.

      As an example, the building in my first photo above has a window sign "Blue Plate Special."  I did this starting from an internet downloaded jpeg:

      x

      Before pasting it into Silhouette, I used a drawing program to get rid of those faint red lines around the blue plate and at the top of the coffee cup, which would be a problem for the Silhouette Trace Tool.  Then I pasted it into the software, used the trace tool to find edges.  Basically the outline of every letter became an edge, etc.  Lots of manual fiddling followed, plus resizing the image to fit its destination window.

      When you are ready to send a design to the cutter, you choose which lines of the design should be cut; which ones ignored.  This is handy when you are doing multiple colors - in my case, I cut white vinyl for the outline of the design and then blue vinyl for everything else.  I could have used two different shades of blue as in the original jpeg, but didn't.

      To complete the cutting process, select the type of material (my default is adhesive-backed vinyl) and hit Send.  First turn on the cutter and load a sheet of Vinyl.  The cutter automatically adjusts the cut depth for the type of material and proceeds to cut at a reasonable pace.  Remove the vinyl from the cutter, weed the unwanted parts, transfer the top color to the bottom color (careful, gotta match exactly), then transfer to the destination object, in my case a window.

      Silhouette also provides an extensive online library of crowd-sourced downloadable graphics ($).  These have the advantage of sensible cut lines included.  Perhaps 99% of the available graphics are, well, female/family oriented subjects, often frilly or cartoonish.  Almost none are train-related.  Still, I have used graphics for a golfer (for our golf resort) and an ice-cream cone (for a scoop shop) with good results.

    • August 12, 2020 3:00 PM EDT
      • Southern Oregon
         
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      Neal,

      Thanks for the detailed information.

    • August 13, 2020 7:16 PM EDT
      • South Central , PA
         
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      Matt Z said:

      Hey guys, 

      I went ahead and employed the wife's vinyl cutter for a trial run for some new lettering for some of my equipment. It came out pretty well, not as crisp on the little writing but decent... 

      Not sure how many of you have tried using one of these.... but here is my end result affectionally using the names of my kiddos . 

       

      IMG_9510
      IMG_9507
      IMG_9508
      IMG_9512

       

      Cheers, 
      Matt 

       

        

    • August 13, 2020 8:46 PM EDT
      • Southwestern, NH
         
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      Neal,

       

      The Silhouette can also import DXF files, however they can be problematic and physically change the geometry. you can also use all the Microsoft and any other fonts you have downloaded to your machine. results will vary with the font. I generally will run at the slowest speeds when cutting, especially with smaller size characters. sometimes you need to stop and remove pieces that have come loose from the backing. I have had the best results  making masks, as the cut letters often come loose from the backing.

       

      Al P.

    • August 14, 2020 2:43 PM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      FWIW, I also used DXF files to get the CAD linework over to the Cricut. It took some playing with to figure out, but now it's pretty straight forward. 

       

      I haven't done lettering yet, but when I do I'll probably try the method I referred to earlier: leaving little connecting pieces to each letter, so that they all stay together and aligned before and while placing, then knifing away the connectors. 

       

      [edit]

       

      I take that all back! There's an easy method to transfer all the lettering, with all the spacing intact. The main stuff happens around midway through.

       

       

      There are many of these "decal transfer" videos for Cricut & Silhouette on Youtube, I just saw one that used the same method but with regular clear shelf contact paper. I suspect though that the Cricut transfer material (or some knock off product ) has less stiction. 

       

       

       

      This post was edited by Cliff Jennings at August 14, 2020 3:55 PM EDT
    • August 14, 2020 3:42 PM EDT
      • Your Host in Littleton, MA
         
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      I've done some work with my Silhouette Cameo  Some basic car numbering and lettering, and the track and details on my ctc panel mockup.

       

       

       

       

      I've also used it to make stencils to paint lettering on a couple buildings.

       

      ____________________________________

      Bob, your Site Host and Benevolent Dictator.

    • August 14, 2020 4:40 PM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      Drooling over that control panel...

    • July 26, 2021 2:33 AM EDT
      • Kailua, HI
         
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      Resurrecting this thread to guide a purchase...

       

      I can procure CRICUT-brand cutters and supplies locally, which settles the brand debate.   They have the "Joy,"  "Maker 3," and "Explore 3."   Cheaper is always better, but not if it won't do what I want it to do, which is to make durable stencils and letters for our railroad and to augment the girls' crafting projects.  The "Explore 3" seemed to be a capability in excess of need, but I'd rather buy the right tool once.  Does anyone have any opinions on which is the right machine for most purposes?

       

      Thanks,

      Eric

    • July 26, 2021 8:21 AM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      I got the Cricut Air a few years back, and it does well with lighter materials. I wish I'd waited for the Maker though, I think you can cut thin styrene sheet with it. I've not kept up with the product line, but you might want to compare lists of what they can cut (and how thick), and make your choice based on which of those materials you'd care about. 

    • July 26, 2021 9:21 AM EDT
      • Marysville, Kansas
         
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      Combine your Cricut with a high quality printer and you can make some really neat signs.   These are printed on UV vinyl, cut on the Cricut and applied to some sheet styrene which I manually trimmed.   Haven't had the wife try trimming the styrene itself yet.

       

       

    • July 26, 2021 3:40 PM EDT
      • Maryland, USA
         
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      Those look great, Chris!

    • July 26, 2021 3:42 PM EDT
      • Charlottesville, Virginia
         
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      I wasn't real fond of the Cricut proprietary s/w and communications so I went with the Silhouette cameo 4.  Nice machine. There is an inkscape plugin for linux that will send an svg file directly to the cutter.  Cricut goes around suing everyone who tries to reverse engineer their com format, I consider that reprehensible, but perhaps that's just me.  Anyhow, the cameo does a great job, I've used it for stencils and lettering.  Granted the C&O scheme is not overly complex (to say the least) but it does a good job.

       

      The above is a stencil.

       

    • July 28, 2021 12:21 PM EDT
      • Post Falls, Idaho
         
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      I love my cutter. And i have used it for both vinyl letters and to make stencils that I can then paint the car. And another use is that you can cut thin styrene with them. Its a bit hard on the cutter blade but those are a cheap replacement. It will cut all the way through very thin stuff or make score marks on thicker stuff that you can then snap the piece out.

       

      ____________________________________

       

       

       

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