This week has been a cluster of chaos between fighting off the flu, work responsibilities, and school assignments. However, between the rush, I found some time for my hobbies.
Some of you may know that I sell decals and shirts on the side and I do this by using my Cricut maker. Lately, I’ve been finding ways to use it for scale modeling and other hobbies.
What’s a Cricut?
It’s a lovely little thing! A Cricut is a machine that can cut all sorts of designs from materials like paper, vinyl, card stock, and so on.
I used it to do that and more!
A while back I posted a video on YouTube on how to cut polystyrene sheets (pla-plate) with the Cricut and was surprised at the response.
Now it can’t cut super thick poly sheets but you can cut, stack, and glue them together to get a specific thickness.
I like to use .4mm (.015) sheets for this. The brand I use is Evergreen It’s thin enough for the machine to work with. You could go with thinner if you would like.
Then I tape it down to a strong mat then tape it around the edges. I have noticed better results with a strong grip on the mat. The tape is so that it doesn’t shift at all during the cutting. The mat doesn’t have to be the Cricut brand. I’ve found better results with other mats.
For the blade, I used the knife blade. It goes along with the setting that I used. Some people have used different settings and blades, but this is a personal preference and how I do it.
After I go into the Cricut program and make sure all the shapes that I want will fit on the sheet.
Then going to the setting menu I choose basswood 1/32 because it does multiple passes. Again, this is how I like to do it. There may be another setting that works for you. I suggest playing around with it. Not entirely sure how the settings would work on other CNC machines.
The cutting will take a bit, but I tend to find other things to do while the machine does the work.
If you want to do another round of cuts, do not unload the mat but simply press go again.
In my experience, it never cuts completely through the plastic, so I pop the parts out. They may need a tiny bit of cleanup but nothing too serious.
Cutting masking tape
Now, this is something that I just recently started doing so it may need some adjustments in the future.
I got some Tamiya masking tape sheets for Christmas and decided to see how they would work with the Cricut. I did the same thing as the styrene sheets. I used a strong grip mat and lightly taped the edges down because my mats have lost some grip over the months of use.
The blade used was a fine-point blade.
The setting I used was the washi sheet setting on MORE pressure. It came out pretty nice! There were a few oops spots that were due to me not paying attention when weeding. I can’t wait to use these on a high fashion Gundam!
Definitely saved me some time than if I had to do it by hand.
As for standard rolls of masking tape, I have yet to try those but it is on the to-do list.
Something to try in the future
I’ve seen people use removable vinyl to make stencils as well, which is something I’m going to try. Some have even recommended the removable vinyl to make decals for me. I wonder about peeling after a while but I’m down to try it.
Also, I apologize to all the spouses or relatives of hobbists who got their Cricut kidnapped after the video and Instagram posts.
If you’ve made something for models using the Cricut let me know! I’d love to see it!
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Happy Friday everyone!