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Through what media/material can a Cameo 3 cut the cleanest small curves and fonts?

ColtColt Member Posts: 1
I'm trying to cut airbrush stencils for use on 1:24 scale model cars.  I'm using a Cameo 3 with a reasonably new needle, a low tack cutting mat and the default software which comes with the machine.

I laid out a page of Text in the software, varying the font size from 9 to 24 point using the Arial font.

I then cut it out from a couple different materials, including Oracal 651 vinyl and high-quality 40lb paper.  I wanted to try some plastics such as overhead transparency sheets, but I didn't have any.  I used the autoblade for all of the cuts, requesting blade depths from 1 step below the recommended setting (where possible) through 1 step above that setting.  I used the slowest possible cutting speed in all tests.

Although lower blade depths appeared to help with creating cleaner cuts the weeding processes was complicated with stretches and tears which ruined the final product.

Results : None of the cut out words were usable below 14 point.  They all demonstrated jagged edges, fuzzy edges and joined letters where the dividing space had broken away.

So my question : Through what material does a Cameo 3 cut the cleanest small curves?

I am considering buying some transparency sheets, some mylar and maybe just scratching the idea in favor of photo-etching.  I am willing to change any aspect of this production, including software, media, blades and maybe even replacing the machine.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

- Colt


  • Crazy_Mr_ZingCrazy_Mr_Zing Member Posts: 2,653
    edited July 23
    I don't have much idea on my zing i try to keep the width of any cutout at now less than 0.8mm or 0.5 at a stretch
    point 9 seems quite small for a blade cutter
    The new zing orbit has a better resolution and I've seen some examples of very small text cut nice though not sure what point value it was

    If all would want to make is fine detailed stencils maybe the photo mask is a better option
    from what I've seen of photo mask the fine details achieved are far superior and the biggest advantage is the is no weeding required
    I've considered off and on delving into this process as I do some blast etching on glass occasionally and weeding is a pain
    Rapidmask and Rayzist appear to be the big player in this sector both have quite extensive resources on there web pages
    The setup cost can be high but I've seen some good results achieved using a basic flatbed exposure unit of ebay though i dare save that require some trail and error getting the setting right where as the proper setup would work out of the box

    As I'm a tinkerer and cheap lol I'm often considering the cheaper option and as your wanting to make stencil to resist paint I'm wondering it the thin photomask for making printed circuit board would be suitable I've seen that on ebay for quite low cost
    ok I think I've rambled on enough?
    I Use Zing Air, Make The Cut - Pop Card Studio, WinXP- Win7 -Win10
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  • stuartplabstuartplab Member Posts: 1
    Based Upon your query, craft foam is recommended.
    I Use Zing Air, Make The Cut - Pop Card Studio, Win10 - Android - MAC
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  • SandyMcCSandyMcC Member Posts: 7,012
    Based Upon your query, craft foam is recommended.
    You recommend craft foam?   Please do explain! I'm bewildered! 
    Sandy McCauley
    Cutting with KNK Force, Maxx Air, Zing Air
    Need help with your KNK? Visit this link: http://knkusa.com/contact/
    KNK / MTC Videos: http://bit.ly/1kmAcoO
    Latest KNK / MTC User Manuals: http://www.iloveknk.com/Support/user-manuals/
  • GabeGabe Moderator Posts: 4,348
    @Colt, I don't know anything about the Cameo 3.  That's because this is the Make-The-Cut software user forum.  We focus primarily on using Make-The-Cut, and the machines that it is compatible with.  While MTC does work with the Cameo, it doesn't work with the Cameo 3.

    While this comment likely comes too late to help you with your issue, MTC does work quite well with the KNK cutters, such as the Maxx Air and the Zing Air.  Both of which are noted for their ability to cut very precisely, even when cutting very small fonts.  The Zing is more of a hobby cutter, meaning it works fine for low to medium output.  The Maxx is a more business ready with heavy duty components that can handle high output jobs, such as cutting a couple hundred car decals per day.

    At any rate, Welcome to the MTC user forum and I hope you find an answer to your question.  I recently ordered transparency film from Amazon.  I found that my local office supply stores, such as Office Depot and Staples, wanted me to buy a package of transparencies for $60 or more.  I didn't really need 200 transparencies, so I went to Amazon where I could get a smaller pack and a lower price.
  • SandyMcCSandyMcC Member Posts: 7,012
    I reread your initial post and took note of the letter sizing you want to use. The facts are this regarding your expectations:

    (1) The thinner the material, the smaller the shapes that can be cut. So, your choice of vinyl, like Oracal 651, is the best material so use for your application.

    (2) Using a slower speed is the best approach. You also want a very sharp blade, thus it's recommended that if you continue cutting such small shapes from vinyl, use that blade only on vinyl as paper products dull blades much more quickly.

    (3) Always use the least amount of blade exposure necessary to cut through the material. More blade never results in cleaner cutting, but rather lends itself to tearing and pulling vinyl away from the backing sheet.

    (4) Cutting lettering below 14 pt is probably asking too much.  As an analogy, think about a big moving truck pulling into and out of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. It needs a lot more room to make tight corners compared to, say, a bicycle doing the same thing.  That's kind of what it's like for a swivel blade to cut tiny lettering. 

    (5) One can purchase "fine detail blades" that are meant for cutting small lettering but it is highly unlikely that they will work in a Cameo.   These would be sold by companies in the professional vinyl business and you can probably find out more by googling.  The company I work with, KNK USA, may still carry them but they would only sell them over the phone because the blades are so fine, at the tip, that they break very easily. Thus the company needed to make sure the customers understand how to use them and take necessary precautions. But again, these kinds of blades are used in other brands of blade holders. 

    (6) Finally, here are the results of cutting 9 pt (1/8") lettering on the KNK Zing Orbit and KNK Force. As you can see, it's not perfect but it's also the best results I've ever personally experienced in cutting small lettering.  This was using the standard 45 degree blade that comes with these models. 

    Hope this info helps!

    Sandy McCauley
    Cutting with KNK Force, Maxx Air, Zing Air
    Need help with your KNK? Visit this link: http://knkusa.com/contact/
    KNK / MTC Videos: http://bit.ly/1kmAcoO
    Latest KNK / MTC User Manuals: http://www.iloveknk.com/Support/user-manuals/
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