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Another (different) Plotter Question

Discussion in 'Projectors/image transfer' started by ClusterTruck, Mar 3, 2021.


  1. ClusterTruck

    ClusterTruck Young Tutorling

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    Hello everyone, I’m seeking guidance on purchasing a plotter, however I haven’t joined the other thread about this because I didn’t want to hijack the thread, and I have quite a different need.

    I’m looking to purchase a plotter for cutting stencils / masks, and if plotters were put on the good/cheap/fast scale, I’m looking for something good and cheap (but not fast), and since I’m based in the UK I’m ideally looking at equipment available within Europe if not in the UK.

    I am considering the Silhouette Cameo 4, which I think will work fine and seems quite popular, but is it a “good” choice for airbrush art, or would I be better off looking elsewhere?

    Software that’s easy to use to send designs to the device isn’t a big concern for me, but it’s a plus if it runs on a Mac.
  2. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Accurate cuts when doing stencils or masks are pretty critical regardless of the application. From the research I've done, most of the popular machines out there will do that. I personally use the Cameo 4 with great results so far. The other machine in the "cheap" realm would be the Cricut. Both have lots of options as far as blades for different materials, but if you are mainly cutting vinyl, either would probably work fine. I chose the Cameo because you have more control over the machine via the software than you do with the Cricut, and you have more options with cutting larger images.

    There is a learning curve when it comes to perfecting the blade depth and force, but once you have that dialed in, the Cameo works great for most applications. I would imagine the same is true for most machines.

    I'm no expert, but I hope that helps a little. :)
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  3. ClusterTruck

    ClusterTruck Young Tutorling

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    Thanks Karl, this is very helpful. Can I ask whether you’ve attempted cutting any materials other than vinyl? I’m interested in getting a sense of how viable it is to make reusable stencils from materials such as mylar with the Cameo.
  4. Karl Becker

    Karl Becker Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    I have done quite a bit of testing making stencils out of mylar and other plastics. That's where the learning curve comes in. The mil thickness of the material varies a lot depending on what you buy, so it's been hard to get a bead on the proper settings to use. The Cameo is capable of cutting any of them, but you have to figure out which blade and settings will work for what you are cutting. Thinner is better and easier to figure out. Once you get into thicker stuff, you need to buy additional blades and come up with custom settings.

    If you want to make reusable stencils that you can't see through or don't need to be washed off, you can use card stock paper. It's cheap and easy to cut. If you want something more rigid and solvent resistant, it gets more complicated. Thin mylar, like the dividers you would use in a binder are easy to cut, and are usually transparent. Any thicker than that, you have to figure out how much force and how many passes to make with the cutter to get through it without also going through the cutting mat they are on.

    There are tons of Youtube videos out there that cover the details involved. I would spend a little time watching some of those to get a better idea of what you are getting into. That said, for a fairly inexpensive machine, I don't think you can go wrong with a Cameo 4.
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  5. LadyCharlie

    LadyCharlie Mac-Valve Maestro! Very Likeable!

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    Taking notes! :p
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  6. twood

    twood Air-Valve Autobot! Very Likeable!

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    I just cut a boat load of shields with my Cameo 2. It is 8 mil binder dividers i bought from the dollar store. It cut them like butter. The max it will cut is 10 mil with the regular blade. It could prob. cut thicker with the right settings...I like it because you can pick what size you want. I took a free shield from google images and traced them and cut 4 different sizes from 2 inches to 6 inch....easy-peasy
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  7. Wild.Bill

    Wild.Bill Double Actioner

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    New here and reading a bunch of older threads. I have a Cricut Maker and just today made a mask with 7mil mylar. I have made a bunch and it easy for the Maker to cut them. When choosing what material you want to cut mylar is one of the built it choices. The hard part for any of the machines is getting the image that you want to cut.
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