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 Post subject: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:37 am 
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Location: Evanston, IL
Hey Twisty Puzzlers,

I was wondering if anyone has used one of these: http://www.silhouetteamerica.com/selectASilhouette.aspx It looks to be a very VERY reasonably-priced sticker plotter. Is it any good?

I'm seriously considering asking for one as a combined Hanukkah/birthday present. (Birthday is Dec 29)

-Eitan

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:36 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:23 am
Location: Confoederatio Helvetica
I have the Silhouette Cameo and I'm happy with it.
You can cut small stickers (also rounded) and the Cameo is very accurate.


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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:53 am 
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From the downloaded user manual, the software can import most graphic images, but also dxf format. I'm sure that one of these will be suitable for printing stickers. So, apart from the problem of peeling the stickers from the backing after cutting, it looks to be very suitable, as long as your vinyl material is thinner than 0.3mm.

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Last edited by Gus on Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:54 am 
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Yeah, I'm totally going to ask for this.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:17 am 
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I've had one of these for about a year or so now, and it is great. Here is a link to the vinyl I use, which has a good color selection and good adhesion. Most of the colors have a high grade adhesive that works very well with the Shapeways material.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 8:58 am 
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@David, how long do the blades last? Do you get spares with your original purchase, and if not, how much is a spare blade?

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Last edited by Gus on Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:17 am 
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Location: near Utrecht, Netherlands
I have the Silhouette SD (old model) which I am very happy with and Oskar has the Craftrobo (even older model) which he also seems to like.
My blade (no spares are included) is still going strong after a lot of cutting. I did get a cheap aftermarket blade from eBay but I am not going to need it anytime soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:36 am 
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Gus wrote:
@David, how long do the blades last? Do you get spares with your original purchase, and if not, how much is a spare blade?
I can't tell you how long the blades last, since I have yet to wear one out. The cutter did not come with a spare blade, but I expect the cutting mat to wear out before the blade. Mats and blades are available from Silhouette America for $14.99 and $12.99, but you can get them slightly cheaper through Amazon.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:56 am 
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This is sounding more and more amazing.

To those who use it, how is the software that comes with it? If you don't use it, what do you use instead? Are there any open source alternatives to CorelDraw that work well with these cutters?

Thank you for all the advice, everyone!

-Eitan

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:30 pm 
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You have to use Silhouette Studio with it. It's not very good (it's aimed a housewives so if you scale/move/rotate something it comes with a little animation) and you should not use it for designing stickers. But it can import dxf files, so I design my templates in SolidWorks and I can then directly import them in to the studio software and do the cutting from there.
It is not directly compatible with other software.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:56 am 
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I decided to go with the Silhouette Cameo, since it was better established, and there was a nice discount on Amazon.

Thank you everyone for the advice! I'll post here when it arrives.

-Eitan

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:11 pm 
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Hey everyone,

My Silhouette Cameo arrived on Tuesday, and I've had some fun getting to know it. So far, I'm really happy with the quality of the cutting, but I am a little surprised by how loud it is. I also had to rework my sticker file in Solidworks (discovered the "fit spline" tool) to get all the lines to import correctly into the Silhouette Studio program.

I have a few questions for people who have experience using the Cameo (or similar) for cutting stickers:
1. Do you use the cutting mat? Or do you just feed the adhesive vinyl in by itself?
a. If you use the cutting mat, does it stay sticky after many times switching out the material that is stuck to it? Do you have any suggestions for how to store the cutting mat?
b. If you do not use the cutting mat, then how do you cut out the sections that contain your stickers, while still being able to feed the remainder into the machine?

2. Have you found any kind of pen that permanently writes on vinyl without smearing or wearing off? Previously, I cut my stickers using a laser cutter, so I just rastered my logo into a sticker. Now that I am using a knife-based cutter, I'm at a bit of a loss for what to do.

Thanks!

-Eitan

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2000 8:50 am
Location: chicago, IL area U.S.A
pirsquared wrote:
2. Have you found any kind of pen that permanently writes on vinyl without smearing or wearing off? Previously, I cut my stickers using a laser cutter, so I just rastered my logo into a sticker. Now that I am using a knife-based cutter, I'm at a bit of a loss for what to do.


What if you were to write with a sharpie, let it dry, then cover it with a piece of thin packing tape, then run it through the cutter? Or would the cutter not make it through with the extra layer? Another thought would be to just write and tape over after cutting. I've had good luck laminating things with thin packing tape. Otherwise maybe some kind of clear coat over to protect.
But to answer your question, no I have not found a pen that writes permanently on vinyl, not that there isn't one though.

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:34 am 
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pirsquared wrote:
1. Do you use the cutting mat? Or do you just feed the adhesive vinyl in by itself?
If you do not use the cutting mat, then how do you cut out the sections that contain your stickers, while still being able to feed the remainder into the machine?

I never use the cutting mat. I have 12x12 inch vinyl sheets, normally I didn't cut the sheets. But if I do, I always look that the rest of the sheet is a rectangle (because of the two transport rolls of the cutter). But if the sheet is to small you need the cutting mat.

pirsquared wrote:
2. Have you found any kind of pen that permanently writes on vinyl without smearing or wearing off? Previously, I cut my stickers using a laser cutter, so I just rastered my logo into a sticker. Now that I am using a knife-based cutter, I'm at a bit of a loss for what to do.

Why didn't you cut your logo directly in the vinyl?


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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:05 am 
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I don't know if this is what Dreiser meant, but if you cut your logo straight out of the sticker, because the plastic is black it would show through, showing your logo?

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:10 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2008 1:47 am
Location: near Utrecht, Netherlands
You do not need a cutting mat because the vinyl has its own backing. The plotter cuts just the vinyl but not the backing.
You can restore the stickyness of a cutting mat using 3M repositionable adhesive spray. It's like post-it glue in a spray can.

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- 4x4x6 Cuboid for just $38
- Curvy Copter for just $18
- 3x4x5 Cuboid for just $34


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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:24 am 
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Location: Evanston, IL
Tom, what if I start offering stickers to people who purchase my puzzles, like you do? Then I will have to cut out the square that the stickers are on, so that I can send that to them. How do you manage that?

-Eitan

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Buy a Radio Cube 3! Only $150 at Eitan's Shapeways Shop
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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 10:55 am 
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I do not cut out the individual sticker sets from the roll. Rather, I cut a few stickers at once and cut an entire strip from the end of the vinyl roll.

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Tom's Shapeways Puzzle Shop - your order from my shop includes free stickers!
Tom's Puzzle Website


Buy my mass produced puzzles at Mefferts:
- 4x4x6 Cuboid for just $38
- Curvy Copter for just $18
- 3x4x5 Cuboid for just $34


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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:12 am 
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Location: Boston area
I do use the cutting mat that came with the machine, and I have found the adhesive to hold up quite well. I store it by simply replacing the protective silicone-coated sheet that came with it back on top of it. After cutting stickers for several dozen puzzles I still do not have any need to restore or replace the mat.

I use the mat because I'm typically only cutting stickers for one puzzle at a time. I cut blanks for each side (color) of the puzzle out of my sticker stock, and place them all on the mat together and then cut them all at one time. The software that comes with the Cameo lets you easily gang up as many copies of a pattern or different patterns as needed. The grid lines also makes it easy to place the sticker blanks accurately enough that you don't need to cut the blanks much larger than the sticker pattern. I use an X-acto knife and a metal rule to cut the blanks to the right size.

I haven't had any issues at all with importing files from Solidworks. I just save the sticker patterns as a DXF (out of a Solidworks drawing), and the Cameo software takes it from there.

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 Post subject: Re: Silhouette CNC Cutters
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 11:42 am 
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David Pitcher wrote:
I use the mat because I'm typically only cutting stickers for one puzzle at a time. I cut blanks for each side (color) of the puzzle out of my sticker stock, and place them all on the mat together and then cut them all at one time. The software that comes with the Cameo lets you easily gang up as many copies of a pattern or different patterns as needed. The grid lines also makes it easy to place the sticker blanks accurately enough that you don't need to cut the blanks much larger than the sticker pattern. I use an X-acto knife and a metal rule to cut the blanks to the right size.
That's the kind of trick I was looking for, Dave! I'm definitely going to do that.

David Pitcher wrote:
I haven't had any issues at all with importing files from Solidworks. I just save the sticker patterns as a DXF (out of a Solidworks drawing), and the Cameo software takes it from there.
I tried doing that, but there were lots of lines missing when I imported it into the Cameo software. Really annoying, but I've found a workaround.

Thanks everyone!

-Eitan

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Buy a Radio Cube 3! Only $150 at Eitan's Shapeways Shop
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