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Does anyone here have a vinyl cutter/plotter?

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Sawdust=manglitter

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Further to a previous post, i’ll shortly be starting to make a burial urn for my Gran. I would like to attempt to etch a plate (either brass or stainless, not certain which yet) with details and a message myself, rather than getting a plate cnc engraved by a professional.

Having looked at various methods of etching metal, i’ve settled on acid etching as the most do-able method for me to be able to personally attempt myself in the short term (the funeral is on 12th April).

Some of the methods that i’ve seen use a vinyl sticker of the design to create the outline of the design and i’d probably be dabbing the writing with ferric chloride using a cotton bud. The vinyl doesnt react to the acid, hence etching the outline surprisingly sharp. Not the best, but general idea of the method from this video...
https://youtu.be/rtWTs8KUV5Y

Anyways, does anyone on this forum own a vinyl cutter/plotter and would be able to cut out and post a vinyl design to me? (Obviously i’ll be paying for the service)
 

shed9

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Possibly....

I bought one a few years back to use as a large format pen plotter for templates but never got round to using it in anger. Mrs Shed9 is looking to set it up to use for herself as an actual vinyl cutter. Happy to bring that schedule forward and give it a test - but I'm just a little cautious in denting your deadline. I'm probably best as a backup at this juncture given the nature of what you are doing but happy to help if I can if it pans out that way. I've got some vinyl on order anyhow so will have a look when it comes in.

Have you tried Just Print at Cross Hands (https://just-print.co.uk/contact-us)? I actually bought an old Routout Z90 from them last year and the MD is a sound bloke. I'd say it's worth a chat based on your location. They do small runs and one offs.

How big / small is the artwork and what format is it?
 

GarF

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Could you transfer laser print toner onto the metal as an acid resist? We used to use that method for making PCBs at school. There are a few vids on youtube showing different methods to transfer the toner- you might need access to somebody else's office equipment!
G
 

Nick Laguna UK

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Hi, I'm working with Charnwood to launch Laguna. Another division of Charnwood's business is Wizard Frameshop mountcutters.

They have several Wizard demo machines in their showroom, and I'd be happy to speak with Sam who runs that side of the business and ask if she can help you out. I'll ask about cost, but pretty sure we will be OK FOC for a forum member & in the circumstances.

I've seen the Wizard CNC's in action (Sam made me some vinyl Laguna stickers) and they are amazing machines - all we will need is the design details (can you vector it too? that will help)

I'm going to be at Newark Show and flat out 'till Monday, but if you want to mail me the design, I'll ask Sam if she can do it, she can prob run off about 3 or 4 sets easily too once the co-ordinates are set up, so you have some to use on test pieces first.

nick@lagunatools.uk

Let me know,
Cheers,
Nick
 

Sawdust=manglitter

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shed9":2ocygctk said:
Mrs Shed9 is looking to set it up to use for herself as an actual vinyl cutter. Happy to bring that schedule forward and give it a test - but I'm just a little cautious in denting your deadline. I'm probably best as a backup at this juncture given the nature of what you are doing but happy to help if I can if it pans out that way. I've got some vinyl on order anyhow so will have a look when it comes in.
How big / small is the artwork and what format is it?
Thank you very much for your offer Shed9 :D
Well currently i’ve asked my dad to get him and his siblings to decide on what they’d like written and asked that they let me know by the end of the weekend, so see what they say and i’ll be drawing it up as a design. I shall let you know how I get on if i’m stuck then, so thank you.

shed9":2ocygctk said:
Have you tried Just Print at Cross Hands (https://just-print.co.uk/contact-us)?
I didn’t even think of trying a random printing shop, great shout! Will probably struggle to ring them, let alone pop in with them, during office hours though. I’m actually in Carmel, about 5mins from cross hands, so well spotted/good thinking!! Where abouts are you then Shed?
 

Sawdust=manglitter

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GarF":19ci2all said:
Could you transfer laser print toner onto the metal as an acid resist? We used to use that method for making PCBs at school. There are a few vids on youtube showing different methods to transfer the toner- you might need access to somebody else's office equipment!
G
Thanks for the suggestions. From my searching I have seen people use this method, but from what i’ve seen it doesn’t seem to give as good of a finish or as clean lines as when i’ve seen vinyl used, hence the choice
 

Sawdust=manglitter

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Nick Laguna UK":3afpmfy5 said:
Hi, I'm working with Charnwood to launch Laguna. Another division of Charnwood's business is Wizard Frameshop mountcutters.

They have several Wizard demo machines in their showroom, and I'd be happy to speak with Sam who runs that side of the business and ask if she can help you out. I'll ask about cost, but pretty sure we will be OK FOC for a forum member & in the circumstances.

I've seen the Wizard CNC's in action (Sam made me some vinyl Laguna stickers) and they are amazing machines - all we will need is the design details (can you vector it too? that will help)

I'm going to be at Newark Show and flat out 'till Monday, but if you want to mail me the design, I'll ask Sam if she can do it, she can prob run off about 3 or 4 sets easily too once the co-ordinates are set up, so you have some to use on test pieces first.

nick@lagunatools.uk

Let me know,
Cheers,
Nick

Hi Nick

Well that’s a very kind offer!! As I replied to Shed9, I will hopefully have the details of what the my family would like written and design by the end of this weekend, so once i get that I’ll probably be drawing it up on AutoCAD (which 8 use in work). I should then be able to export the AutoCAD drawing as a .wmf file which from what I understand is a vector type file, but have no idea if that’s right as never done anything to do with vectors or cnc type machines etc.

I would be very grateful if you could speak to Sam about this, it would be a great help! And 3 or 4 sets for practice would also be perfect. The plate would probably only be around 100x60mm anyway.

Once I get the design sorted I’ll email you the details if that’s ok? If you could please confirm about the best kind of file type that would also be great.

Thank you very much for the offer of help, and good luck at the Newmark Show. (Also the Laguna kit looks the bees knees!)
 

shed9

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Sawdust=manglitter":2z0uvmbf said:
Where abouts are you then Shed?
Out near Brechfa forest just up from Nantgaredig, about 30 mins to Cross Hands.

I'll let you know how the vinyl restart goes my end either way just in case you need options.
 

shed9

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Sawdust=manglitter":1qfmsb9h said:
I’ll probably be drawing it up on AutoCAD (which 8 use in work). I should then be able to export the AutoCAD drawing as a .wmf file which from what I understand is a vector type file, but have no idea if that’s right as never done anything to do with vectors or cnc type machines etc.
From what I can see, most people seem to vinyl plot DWG files by converting to Illustrator format AI(). I run both programs so can process DWG and convert either way if need be (I used to teach AutoCAD at Uni to pay my way through it a long long time ago).

However it should in theory be straight forward to get something to Nick and I suspect his colleague Sam will be able to make sense of any transferable format you send.
 

novocaine

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Yes I have and I've done what you want previously too.

don't use acid etching it works great but it's messy as hell.

use electro etching, you can do it with a 9v battery and salty water. if you want to dab it them put a thin cotton wool pad on the electrode but a bath is better and easier to manage.

don't expect tiny little writing with either method using a vinyl resist and with acid dabing the smaller the writing the more likely it is to peel during the process.

If Shed9 can't do it, I can. I can also do the conversion for you from dwg/dxf to suit my cutter.

Damn it. by David Rees, on Flickr

I suspect this is more like what you want though.
IMAG0289.jpg


which looked like this with resist
IMAG0279.jpg


went in to a salty bath like this
IMAG0284.jpg


had power from a 9v battery to make this
IMAG0286.jpg


took about 10 minutes. no acid to dispose of afterwards just salt water.
 

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flh801978

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I have a vynyl cutter and can do you what you want very quickly but if your font is small it probably wont work
I can do you a brass plate on my cnc machine if you let me know what you need (FOC )
 

Fergal

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novocaine":311hcmpa said:
Yes I have and I've done what you want previously too.

don't use acid etching it works great but it's messy as hell.

took about 10 minutes. no acid to dispose of afterwards just salt water.
I made a branding iron for our Men's Shed using this technique with a laser printed etch resist. I found it was a bit hit and miss getting the toner to transfer to the steel using a clothes iron. It did work eventually, although the etching wasn't as deep as I'd have liked as I had to stop it before the fine details melted away. I found it worked best if you suspend the thing to be etched face down in the etchant so that the particles just fall off it rather than dabbing with a rag or whatever which can disturb the mask.
 

Nick Laguna UK

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Sawdust=manglitter":ldtntzc0 said:
I should then be able to export the AutoCAD drawing as a .wmf file which from what I understand is a vector type file, but have no idea if that’s right as never done anything to do with vectors or cnc type machines etc.

I would be very grateful if you could speak to Sam about this, it would be a great help! And 3 or 4 sets for practice would also be perfect. The plate would probably only be around 100x60mm anyway.

Once I get the design sorted I’ll email you the details if that’s ok? If you could please confirm about the best kind of file type that would also be great.
Hi, I've spoken to Sam, she is more than happy to help. She did have reservations about the size being quite small though if there's potentially a lot of detail, as she mentioned something about vinyl stretching. She's happy to give it a go though.
Regarding file types - she said just a high quality Jpeg or similar is fine as the Wizard software requires an initial vector to be done using that system & she is happy to do that.

Sawdust=manglitter":ldtntzc0 said:
Thank you very much for the offer of help, and good luck at the Newmark Show. (Also the Laguna kit looks the bees knees!)
No worries, happy to help & thanks, it was a great show with superb feedback on the Laguna machines I took.
Cheers and if you can mail me the image when you have it then Sam can work on producing a few sets.
Nick
 

Nick Laguna UK

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Hi Sawdust=manglitter, as per our mails, sorry we weren't able to help out on this due to the small scale, hope you find a solution to get it made.

All the best, Cheers,
Nick
 

Sawdust=manglitter

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Thanks again Nick for your help.

Having tried two different places for the vinyl and being told that my design is too small or intricate for vinyl printing, I am now going to attempt the laserjet printed transfer method for an acid resist as I already have access to what I need for that. Fingers crossed that will turn out ok! Will post my results with the test piece
 

Sawdust=manglitter

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The results of test piece number one...



Only a very shallow etch, so needed a lot longer. Got a second test piece in the acid as i type, but looks like a couple of small areas of ink have lifted so this one will also be a bust! But will keep it in the acid to test how long i need for a deep enough etch. See how it goes
 

bourbon

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I can't help you in anyway, but just wanted to applaud you for doing this your way. Yes, you could have taken it to a professional with a CNC machine, But that would have lost the intimacy of the piece, which I see you are trying to do, by doing it yourself If that makes any sense. Hope you get it sorted. best of luck
 

Sawdust=manglitter

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Thanks bourbon, that’s exactly it, wanting to be able to do it all myself. Means more to me and to my family. Another benefit was that I’ve had both my brothers and my dad over to help me with it (none of them are woodworkers), so it they also feel better having a hand in making it too.

Anyway, the first attempt was on the ‘brushed steel’ finish side of the stainless steel plate, so I put down some of the ‘bleeding’ of the etch to the brushed finish providing tiny valleys for the acid to travel along. So for this next trial I tied polishing up the back to a nice (almost mirror) shine before cleaning with acetone.

Even though the inside of the a’s and e’s came off after about an hour I took it out after a total of about 1.5hrs expecting it to be a bit blurry, but turned out alright, quite pleased with the finish.





It’s still a fairly shallow etch, but I’ve ordered a lacquer-stik to try and colour in the writing so depending how that turns out I may try another attempt at etching it :D
 

Sawdust=manglitter

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Since my earlier attempts i’ve realised that the ferric chloride i have is already 40% dilute, so I decided to attempt the etching again with the full strength ferric chloride.

And this is the final attempt. Not exactly a deep enough etch to colour the letters accurately using a lacquer-stik, but the family preferred it with nothing as the ‘raw’ etch. I’m pleased with it, and more importantly the family are pleased :D



Will post photos of the final box once its 100% complete
 
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