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vinyl cutters

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Chris Walby19/06/2018 07:38:42
1189 forum posts
296 photos

Noticed that some modellers are using these and was wondering how useful they are and what different applications they can be used for.

  • Decals simple roundels. Can you do complex shapes/multi colour?
  • Masks for painting

Make/model of cutter in use would be a bonus

I have feeling that although not essential, once you have one there are many uses surprise

Broken Prop19/06/2018 08:25:59
623 forum posts
1 photos

There is a previous thread on here Chris which deals with vinyl cutters. Most of us (including me) seem to use the Silhouette Cameo, which comes with good software and will take files in other formats as well.

The cutter works in true 2D, so you can cut complicated shapes easily. Basically if you can draw it, you can cut it!

TruType texts can be imported so that lettering of your choice can be reproduced as well. The smallest that I have managed is about 3mm in height.

As the process involves no heat, covering film can also be cut. Vinyl sheet comes in a single colour but by cutting film you can do chequered sheets etc.

Paint masks are a doddle and I have even heard of people cutting printed tissue for free flight models, although I have not tried that!

The machine was produced for the craft industry and there are lots of videos on You Tube showing enthusiastic ladies cutting lacy trees and the like, (not that I suggest that you do that of course).

Supplies of vinyl in 300mm widths specifically for the Cameo can be obtained from MDA Supplies, although I buy wide sheet and cut it down the middle. It's cheaper that way.

A very useful machine and it is the old story.....the more you use it the more you find that it can do.


edited for bad spelin

Edited By Broken Prop on 19/06/2018 08:28:21

Broken Prop19/06/2018 08:37:15
623 forum posts
1 photos

Sorry Chris, the company is MDP Supplies. As for the other thread on here, search under 'Vinyl Cutting'


Chris Walby19/06/2018 10:58:41
1189 forum posts
296 photos

Thanks BP, I did a search for 'Vinyl Cutters' and gto no return then tried just "vinyl" but didn't spot 'Vinyl Cutting' buried in 2012. I would have thought products and technology have moved on a bit since then hence the reposting of the question.

Cheers for the info Pete, looks like that could be going on the Birthday present least the better half can't complain its another model!

Broken Prop19/06/2018 15:04:46
623 forum posts
1 photos

yesyes for the birthday present!

Another snippet that I heard was that some enterprising soul had managed to cut 1/16th thick balsa wing ribs using a Cameo.

Now, if that is true, it opens up a whole new world of home design and build. If anyone out there knows of such a thing, please post on here. (I am not sure I want to try it on my machine for fear of breaking something). laugh


PeterF19/06/2018 17:03:37
520 forum posts
720 photos

My wife has a Brother Scan'n'cut for crafting that I used for lettering, decals and paint masks on my 1/4 scale Tiger Moth. It worked OK, but the resolution accuracy of the machine was pushed to the limit with some of the lettering. True Type fonts can be imported, but this was a little clunky. If there is already one in the house then try it, but I do not recommend it for us modellers, I am sure that better is available.


Edited By PeterF on 19/06/2018 17:04:15

Allan Bennett19/06/2018 20:06:50
1648 forum posts
49 photos

+1 for the Silhouette Cameo. In addition to True Type fonts you can import pictures of any kind and tell the Cameo software to trace the outline. So you can make paint masks for airline logos etc.

There's one thing which the Cameo is supposed to be able to do, but which I haven't been able to achieve satisfactorily: You can import a drawing, and instruct it to print the picture with reference marks, on your printer, and then cut around its outline when the picture is fed into the Cameo. I tried it with a simple circular logo, which printed okay, but then it cut out an oval sad

Simon Feather19/06/2018 23:00:44
239 forum posts
175 photos

I heart my Silhouette Portrait.

I've done paint masks for clubmates (e.g. a large Miles Hawk), and one of the first things I did was our club logo, scanned from an old sticker, now I can do highly detailed any size any colour I want as long as it fits on the print bed:


and everything on here - roundels, numbers, and including the intricate (but upside down - oops) Yorkshire Rose was done on the Silhouette:


value for money = 11 / 10

The Portrait is a bit cheaper than the Cameo, I've not compared them directly but the Portrait has managed to do everything I've needed and in spades!

Blades aren't cheap,around £9, but I've done a lot of cutting and not had to replace it yet.

If you've not already got some, I recommend you get some transfer tape - this lets you cut intricate markings, weed them, then use the transfer tape to move all the separate bits as a single entity to your model.

The other most useful item is a simple domestic spray bottle filled with a mild detergent mix: spray this on first, then the fresh decals can be slid around precisely until you're happy with the positioning, then squeegeed out. Without this, you have exactly one go to get it right...



Edited By Simon Feather on 19/06/2018 23:04:24

Andy Sephton 120/06/2018 06:11:30
156 forum posts
395 photos

I've been using a Craft Robo cutter plotter for over 10 years, I recently upgraded to a Silhouette Cameo 3. The machine is an outstanding aid to any modeller who wants to decorate their model, I wholly recommend

I wrote a brief review of the Cameo 3 illustrated with a decorated example model with masked stripes and squares plus cut lettering, for my Scale Column in the April issue of BMFA News.

For info, cut tissue is possible on the Cameo 3 and Craft Robo. The technique is to pre-dope the tissue, then fix it to a carrier sheet when putting it through the cutter/plotter.

Christopher Long 120/06/2018 08:25:35
44 forum posts
3 photos

The Silhouette Portrait was one of my best buys, I have used it to cut vinyl roundels and letters some as small as 10mm high and also water slide decals using the print and cut feature which I have found to be very accurate. It is a bit fussy on which TrueType fonts it will import (some it won't for some reason). It also imports DXF file so that I can create images and custom text in my CAD programme and then import them into the Portrait's design software - although they do need to be resized as for some reason it always enlarges them, but that is very easy.

Max Z23/06/2018 21:21:48
552 forum posts
248 photos

++1 for the Silhouette Cameo! I printed some 5 mm high text recently, ISO font iirc. Amazing quality!

Your biggest problem will be finding the correct transfer film/tape. I experimented with masking film, scotch tape and regular paper masking tape, all with less than satisfying results. The vinyl does not stick very much to the backing paper (which is how it should be), but the main problem seems to be that the cut sort of pushes it down into the backing paper, and you have to carefully pry some letters loose with a sharp object (I use a #1 modelling knife for that) to make sure the transfer film lifts them without shifting or tearing.

Edited By Max Z on 23/06/2018 21:24:28

Andy C25/02/2019 20:33:49
163 forum posts

Hi all. I've all but decided to get a Silhouette Cameo. However, do I the need to buy the software upgrade to make best use of it or is the standard free software good Enough? I'm a bit confused about importing ready made files and also using jpegs of images to get cut out. Any thoughts please?

Graham R25/02/2019 20:59:35
340 forum posts
26 photos

I also recently bought a Silhouette Studio.I didn't go for the software upgrade. I bought Easy Cut Studio. very happy with it.

Max Z25/02/2019 21:45:17
552 forum posts
248 photos

I use the standard Silhouette Studio software. Most of the stuff I cut gets designed in my Rhinoceros cad software, then exported as .dxf which Silhouette Studio can import. Any cad program that can export in .dxf can be used of course.

You can download the software for free from and see the possibilities for yourself.



Edited By Max Z on 25/02/2019 21:50:23

Broken Prop27/02/2019 12:32:09
623 forum posts
1 photos

Hi Andy

I bought the Design Software upgrade but to be honest I did not find much difference between that and the original. As with Max, I do a lot of the design on CAD and export the files to the Cameo in dxf format.


Max Z28/02/2019 13:39:25
552 forum posts
248 photos

THIS is a good page to compare features of the different upgrades, with prices, and complete with links to YT videos showing the details of each feature.

Oh, and remember to place your dxf design somewhere near the origin before exporting. It will save you searching for it in space when imported into Silhouette Studio wink.


Edited By Max Z on 28/02/2019 13:42:50

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