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T O P I C    R E V I E W
George D Posted - 07/25/2018 : 9:12:25 PM
I covered building two different structures where I used my Cricut paper cutting machine for a large portion of the construction in these threads: http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=50263 and http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=50619 I've started another project using the Cricut machine. This is a kitbash and this time I'm only going to document the few steps I take where I use the machine. I won't be covering the work not involving the machine. I'll explain why later.

I'm currently assembling the truss rafters. The building is 50' long and it's going to take 26 of these buggers! I started by drawing a rafters on my computer. I loaded that drawing into the Cricut machine and scribed the design on a piece of 0.040 styrene. I used a light setting since I wasn't trying to cut the styrene. I enhanced the picture by wiping black acrylic paint on the styrene. This is going to become the jig I use to build the rafters.

Notice the bottom line is longer than the rafter. This is exactly 6 (1:1 ratio) and it's the way I tell Cricut the drawing is 6 wide. The truss is then scribed by the machine to exactly match the drawing dimensions. The rafter is HO scale 38'- 6 wide.

I added scrap pieces of styrene to hold the sticks of wood on the jig.

I modified my drawing, extending the lines to use it as a guide for cutting the individual pieces of lumber.

It's a simple matter of laying the stick on the drawing and cutting the correct length and angle. I printed multiple drawings because I figured the razor would start to damage the drawing as I cut multiple pieces of wood.

Here's a completed truss. It takes about a half hour to make one - Only 25 more to go!

Those gusset plates were also cut on the Cricut machine. They were cut from a sheet of colored card stock. It took the machine a half hour to cut them and it took me close to an hour to pick all the little pieces off the mat. But! If I had tried to cut them all by hand it would have taken much longer and they wouldn't be any where near as accurate.

The mat the card stock is on is very sticky. My first attempt at cutting the gussets was done on an old mat that had lost most of it's stickiness and the blade started to lift the gussets off the mat and things got real messy. That old mat still can be used. I'll use it on heaver material with painter's tape on the edges to hold the material steady. I'll save this mat for thinner materials.

This might give you an idea why it took so long to pick the gusset plates off the mat.

I'll be glad when I'm done assembling the truss rafters and I can see some progress on my building.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
George D Posted - 03/20/2019 : 3:14:44 PM
Frank, I think the major reason the Cricut machine is limited on the thickness of the materials it cuts is the Cricut's blade width. I measured the Cricut blade at 0.035 about 0.040 down the blade from the point. A #11 X-acto blade measures 0.021. That's it's thickest dimension the full length of the blade.

I made repeated cuts (6 cuts per line) and it didn't come near cutting through the styrene.

Dave, the Cricut is very accurate and, like you said, can be used to lay out lines on thicker styrene for further cutting or for jigs (see the first page of this thread). I bought my Cricut to cut cardstock and it's a fantastic tool for that. It's has limited abilities with thicker styrene or wood. In this thread, I showed how it's accuracy can be used on thinner styrene: http://www.railroad-line.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=50619

deemery Posted - 03/20/2019 : 10:56:53 AM
George, I wonder about using the Cricut to precisely lay out and scribe the lines, which you'd then finish with an X-Acto knife (and doing that as "the way to do it.".) That takes advantage of the Cricut's precise layout.

BurleyJim Posted - 03/20/2019 : 10:33:36 AM
I have one of those hand nibblers buried somewhere here that I used on chassis.

Here's another one.... https://www.amazon.com/Sheet-Metal-Nibbling-Nibbler-Cutter/dp/B00WFFZ2X8

George D Posted - 03/20/2019 : 09:22:05 AM
Jim, I have no idea as to why he needs that number of panels. He also needs 4 center panels. Sounds like he's making 4 cabs. We're going to sit down and go over just what he's doing, hopefully in the near future.

The roof line was done on my computer connecting three points with an arc, the two ends and the center.

Karl, I bought the nibbler many years ago from Radio Shack. I've only used it a handful of times. I'm glad you suggested it. Now that I've dusted it off, I see some more applications for it.

Frank Palmer Posted - 03/20/2019 : 09:13:15 AM
George have you tried multiple passes on the Cricut? Sometimes on the laser we have to make another pass or two when we cut other than normal material.
k9wrangler Posted - 03/20/2019 : 07:18:54 AM
Glad the nibbler worked for you, George.

Seeing as how I was so smart, maybe I should get one for myself. Where do they come from?
BurleyJim Posted - 03/19/2019 : 11:05:47 PM

Sorry the freezer trick didn't work. What is the radius of that curved roof line? I see he's using 8 side panels, does that mean the roof will be approximately 4" long?

George D Posted - 03/19/2019 : 9:39:05 PM
Since my latest little project involved the Cricut machine, I thought I'd just continue it here.

I have a friend that's building a locomotive. He asked me if I'd try cutting some pieces for the cab from 0.040 styrene. He gave me this drawing.

I made a set of drawings for the Cricut machine.

I knew the Cricut wouldn't cut all the way through the 0.040 styrene. The cut lines would really be the scribed lines as in scribe and break for cutting styrene. I really hadn't tried doing much with thicker materials, so I cut a set on the Cricut machine to see what I had. The external lines snapped apart easily, The inside lines were another thing. The Cricut cuts a nice groove in the styrene and a #11 blade easily follows the line. It took multiple passes with the #11 blade along the window lines to finally break through.

I mentioned what I was doing in the crew lounge the other day and remarked that it was time consuming. Karl Scribner (k9wrangler) suggested trying a nibbler. I did and it made cutting much easier.

I also received a couple other suggestions. One was to put the scribed styrene in the freezer. I tried that and it didn't seem to make a difference. A second was to make up two sets on 0.020 styrene and laminate them. Since my friend was working with 0.040 and I was able to get an acceptable set, I didn't do that. However, I'm going to give that a try, It may have some uses down the road.

I cut one set to satisfy myself that a set could be made. I made up a couple of sheets of styrene for my friend to let him cut the rest.

railbuilderdhd Posted - 02/09/2019 : 6:38:00 PM
I dug out an old project I was trying to make my own shingles for and I never completed because cutting them by had was a waste of time. But now I can see theat this will be a great option for making my own shingles.

Ill post the progress when Ive cut some.

railbuilderdhd Posted - 02/09/2019 : 10:04:28 AM
I dug out an old project I was trying to make my own shingles for and I never completed because cutting them by had was a waste of time. But now I can see theat this will be a great option for making my own shingles.

Ill post the progress when Ive cut some.

George D Posted - 02/09/2019 : 08:23:27 AM
I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with your Maker, Dave.

railbuilderdhd Posted - 02/08/2019 : 10:17:39 PM
Thanks for the information here. I just made my first cut with my new cricut maker I just got. I have researched these cutters for years and I must say Im so excited for what Ill be able to do with the Maker. The extra pressure for cutting opens up so many options. Ill be sure to post more as I do work with it.

George D Posted - 11/11/2018 : 8:04:07 PM
Alan, I've read a lot about the Maker, but you're comments are the first I've seen from an actual user. I had hoped the results were as good as you've reported. Thanks. Now to get the CFO to approve the funds for the upgrade.

Alan SRRL Posted - 11/07/2018 : 7:39:44 PM
Thought I would add just a little information. I have been using the new Cricut MAKER machine and having a blast with it. It has 10 times the cutting power that the Explorer has. I have been able to cut 3/32 thick basswood. It uses a knife blade much like the well know #11 blade.
I an a pleased user and have no connection with the company.
George D Posted - 10/10/2018 : 2:09:24 PM
Thanks, Carl and Mike.


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