Cutting vinyl on my CNC

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davidmillerlowe
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Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by davidmillerlowe »

This weekend I tried using Aspire to generate tool paths for cutting vinyl with a blade that I've attached to my router head. I am still having a few issues to find the correct weight to put on the blade but have written a filter to inject cutter offset compensation into the toolpath.. (took a trig review and several hours but it works pretty well.)

See if I can find any more projects to keep from doing chores.. (grin)

The small text and designs I'm cutting the images are kinda the low end of what I can cut, Bigger things come out Great! It seems that 1/2 inch text are the low end.
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metalworkz
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by metalworkz »

Hello David,
Did you fabricate the knife tool yourself? Also does it include a means to swivel the blade?
Post some pictures of the cutout text if you get a chance. Thanks for posting the info and pictures!
Best regards,
Wes
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maloneyandco
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by maloneyandco »

I have been using a Vinyl Mate attatchment for yerars. Works great and cuts very small letters.
It is weighted and floats on the surface. I define my path and use a 60 degree v-bit as the tool since it comes to a point. The blade in the cutter swivels .
http://www.littleeholdings.com/

Rob

davidmillerlowe
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by davidmillerlowe »

The actual cutter is a third party unit for a Roland cutter that I bought off ebay, I looked at building one for years and followed the progress of the guy at cuttingcnc.com http://www.cuttingedgecnc.com/vinyl.htm ... ..Take%201 but in the end noticed that he went to a commercial cutter... It has the bearings and magnetic holder for the rotating blade all built in.

I did attach it to the mini-linear bearing and shelf so I can pit weights on it. I set the Z-zero where the blade touches the vinyl and cut my profile (telling Aspire that it's a v-bit and to profile directly on the toolpath).

I have not had good luck with letters smaller then 0.5 inches tall (as shown in the photo) they tend to peel up when I'm cutting them. Perhaps I should replace my blade.

When I do larger signs, like those for a vehicle back window, things work out well. I'll get a photo posted soon as I have some to cut out.

The glass is just to cover the holes, bumps and ridges that litter my spoil board. I also have the sticky-back from a Cricket cutter that I'm going to try and use because the vinyl has a tendency to stretch and lift in the middle of a cut sometimes with my tape hold down method..

Mil

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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Frezer »

David,

The problem with the weight on the knife, is easy to solve with a little spring
on your giding. So the pressure on the knife is always the same...
If you want, I can send you a picture of adapter.

Greetings
Erik

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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Frezer »

David,

As promissed ....
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davidmillerlowe
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by davidmillerlowe »

Hi Eric!

Looks like it should work.. Assuming that you set your 0-height like you would with a bit you can then adjust your down force by setting your cutting depth further into the workpeice... If I remember correctly springs have a nice linear range where you
can play with the formula in mind... f = -Kz and vary z from 0 down to whatever the elastic limit of your spring is...

Pretty slick! My shelf-o-weights looks like a stone knife compared to yours.

I also tried something that would allow me to chuck it into my Router, It seems that you have succeeded there as well!

Happy cutting!

Mil

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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by James E »

Hi guys.
interesting projects. I do a lot of vinyl cutting, on a shop bought machine.
On it there are small round weights that we put on only now and then if we are cutting thick vinyl, reflective or some such.
Weight or downforce or pressure isnt that critical.
What we do before every job is test the depth of cut.This is what will chew up your small letters, if it is too deep. the adjustment is simply a fine threaded ptfe collar around the blade. wind one way for more blade, the other for less. It also means that it is keeping the vinyl flat on the bed where it is being cut. It can be adjusted to cut through the vinyl, but not through the glue.
David, you have the cutter offsets being put into the path, did you account for the small offset the blade already has? (most blades anyway).

Jim E
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Wemme
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Wemme »

Hello all,
I use Vcarve for all my vinyl work using the HPGL generic plotter post.

I just use profile "cut on" for all vectors with a ramp of 2mm which forces it to overlap to ensure a connected start/stop due to the blade offset.

The blade holder on my machine has a rounded front which has the blade tip just sticking out.
The depth of the blade is set by screwing the back part in and out, then locking it with the brass nut.
Pressing the back pin allow the blade to emerge so you can pull it out and replace it.
The blade is held in by a magnet and is allowed to rotate freely by a bearing.
The cutting pressure is set externally by the machine (solenoid springs) independent of the tool holder.

Regards
Bart
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head2.JPG

Greolt
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Greolt »

Bart. Mil and Erik

Can any of you tell me the approximate downward pressure the blade gets for standard vinyl cutting?

I bought a Roland blade holder. It has a 1.5mm shaft sticking out the top. This in turn pushes the blade out/down of the holder.

A spring internally resists that shaft being pushed down.

I am guessing in a Roland cutter, that a solenoid pushes down on this shaft with the correct pressure to
result in, after counter acting the internal spring, the correct cutting pressure on the blade.

So my idea is to have another adjustable spring push on the shaft from the top. One spring pushing against the other.

But I have very little idea of what the resultant down force on the blade should be.

Greg
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Greolt »

OK well I have made a setup that is adjustable between approx 50 and 150 grams.

S'pose I'll have to get some vinyl and give it a whirl. :)

Greg
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Roland holder3.jpg

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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by James E »

Hi greg.
Without knowing, and no scales at work, I would say around 100g for my set up. This is the weight of the assembly as you show it, in a linear bearing, vertical. It includes a solenoid that forces the blade out of the collar. The blade is normally held inside the collar, the non -cutting position, by a spring.
The solenoid is way more powerful than the spring, but in my set up this is irrellevant.
The head is floating, the blade is ejected by solenoid, the depth is by collar screw in and out, and the weight shared between the collar and the blade is around 100g. There are supplementary weights of 50 and 100g, for cutting thicker vinyl - reflective, for example.

Jim E
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Wemme
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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Wemme »

Hi Greg,
My cutter holder is the same to yours in function BUT
The button to press on the back is to eject the tool or at least clean/inspect.
The depth of the blade is set so the point is barely visible out of the front just can feel it.
any more and it will cut all the way through the backing material. This is done by screwing in and out the back shell of the tool holder.

The machine when it puts the cutter down applies the downwards pressure that is programmable from 25 - 250g
TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE TOOL HOLDER NOT THE PIN OUT THE BACK. the nose of the tool holder runs over the surface of the vinyl and the blade tip just pokes through the vinyl.
I mostly run mine at 100g.
I also have a pen that i can put in instead of the blade holder.
Hope this helps
Regards
Bart

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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Greolt »

Thanks very much for all the info posters have provided.

Sounds like my guessing at the operation of this holder was a bit off. :)

The small shaft protruding from the back is for ejecting the blade and not as per my guess. :oops:

The downward pressure is exerted on the whole assembly and not just the blade.

However what I have made may still work. I will give it a go before abandoning my efforts so far. :D

Let you know how I get on.

Greg

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Re: Cutting vinyl on my CNC

Post by Greolt »

I said I would let you know how it worked or not.

Well it works great. Just do a profile cut on the line with no lead in but a 2mm overlap.

Also found it good to put the start node on a mid line rather than a corner.

Cut a series of stickers for my brother in law who collects and restores antique oil engines.

Greg
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