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Cutting small text and detail for sandblasting stencils.

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Mal Turton

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Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:08 pm





Post Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:53 am

Cutting small text and detail for sandblasting stencils.

Hi all,

I'm just getting into sandblasting and need to cut quite small (5mm ish) text and fine detail using regular sign vinyl which works great as a sandblasting mask.
I'm using a GCC puma which cuts great normally but struggles with the small stuff. To be fair it does have a cheapy blade in it. Iv'e tried altering settings, force is 90gm, altering speed doesn't seem to make much if any difference.
So a couple of questions if anyone can help:

The cutter has tangential mode emulation, would that make a difference ?
Would a "smart knife" help and if so would I be better with a 60deg one ?

Any other tips on cutting small stuff would be great. :smiles:

Thanks
Mal
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Daniel Evans

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Post Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:02 pm

Re: Cutting small text and detail for sandblasting stencils.

If I'm doing fine stuff, I use the red smart blade, slow the speed down and make sure the pressure/force is absolutely perfect, I don't bother with tangential mode
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Robert Lambie

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Post Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:21 pm

Re: Cutting small text and detail for sandblasting stencils.

As Daniel says, Slow the machine down and Pressure needs to be spot on...
The blade needs to be sharp or no matter what you do with the pressure, it will chew the tiny text up.

The Tangental mode WILL help and this is one of the reasons its used amongst various others.
Most cutters use a blade DRAG mode which is because it spins within its holder. so as the machine drags left and right, the pin blade simply rotates in the holder.
However, Tangental mode means when the blade is dragged on the straight part of a letter and comes to a 45 degree turn, the blade stops, lifts, turns, down, cuts, stops, lifts turns etc etc all around the shape of the letter. This is almost a pointless requirement on regular vinyl with text at any sort of real size but when cutting tiny text with a drag blade the text looks a little wobbly, the corners more rounded or slightly out of shape and so on. So having the tangental mode doing this type of size cutting will help straighten those lines and sharpen the corners of letters which makes weeding and the over all finish better.

remember though, the blade needs to be sharp and the pressure just right. best of luck!
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Martin Pearson

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Post Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:47 pm

Re: Cutting small text and detail for sandblasting stencils.

Tangential mode as Robert says will definitely make a difference so if you have it then give it a try. You don't always need it if everything else is set up correctly & the text is large enough.
60 degree blades are generally for thicker materials & if you are using regular vinyl then I would stick with the standard 45 degree blade. If your cutting sandblast resist which is a thicker material then 60 might be better but you probably won't be able to cut text that small in a thicker material.
A cheap blade doesn't help. use a good quality blade & a lot of your problems will seem to disappear :lol: :lol:
For the price you pay for a blade & the amount of work it will do then I can't see why people ever use cheap blades, I have always used the smart blades from Edward Mathias which saves me the trouble of having to set them up correctly, they work out pretty cheaply as well once you have a few holders.
The other advantage I find with the smart blades is that I can keep a few that only get used for specific jobs, I keep one that only gets used for detailed graphics & doesn't get used for everyday jobs. That way it is much easier to set the pressure to cut correctly when I have that type of job to do. Have one for reflective as well which saves me taking the edge of the everyday use blade to quickly :lol: :lol:
If you use tangential mode a decent blade & slow the speed down you may be surprised just how small you can cut text, of course you still need to be able to weed it :lol: :lol:
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Gordon Smithard

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Post Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:54 pm

Re: Cutting small text and detail for sandblasting stencils.

I regularly cut small stuff for a glass decorator, I try to steer them towards a plain font for 5mm high text as the serifs are a pig. I cut onto Spandex 5700 (image perfect) in normal mode with a cheap blade, no problems.
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George Neagu

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Post Fri Mar 24, 2017 6:38 pm

Re: Cutting small text and detail for sandblasting stencils.

Mal Turton wrote:Hi all,

I'm just getting into sandblasting and need to cut quite small (5mm ish) text and fine detail using regular sign vinyl which works great as a sandblasting mask.
I'm using a GCC puma which cuts great normally but struggles with the small stuff. To be fair it does have a cheapy blade in it. Iv'e tried altering settings, force is 90gm, altering speed doesn't seem to make much if any difference.
So a couple of questions if anyone can help:

The cutter has tangential mode emulation, would that make a difference ?
Would a "smart knife" help and if so would I be better with a 60deg one ?

Any other tips on cutting small stuff would be great. :smiles:

Thanks
Mal


I cut small text like quite oftem, I have a Graphtec CE6000.
Smart knives...I couldn't spend effect enough time to get them cut small text so back to the original blade.

Most people rush to say that great cutting results is the optimal combination of speed, acceleration and force (and perhaps tangential). Well, it's one more pig that maters in equal amount. So check this out:
- the vinyl...YES, the vinyl can be the actual pig.
- blade must be sharp and not necessarily smart knife
- cutting strip must be in good condition
- speed should be reduced
- the force should be just as normal
- the tangential mode emulation must be used. Graphtec has 2 modes, I use Mode 1 (overcut the start and end point). Mode 2 will overcut every single corner. If you have such an option, use it.

Bear in mind though, Tangential Emulation is...well, emulation. It does some sort of blade assistance but still relies on the blade spinning into the holder. Emulation won't turn/spin the blade.

Real tangential will lift the blade and turn/spin it and the lower it again and continue cutting but I am not aware of any vinyl cutter that use real tangential. And if it is, I am sure is not cheap.

So, what vinyl do you use?

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