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using CNC mill to cut vinyl letters and numbers

Looking for advice from people who have done this

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Jon Duke13/05/2021 11:54:16
2 forum posts

I need to cut some backed vinyl sheet to make some bespoke letters and numbers for the number-plate on an old motorcycle. I have a small CNC mill which I drive by making .dxf files from which I make GCODE that I send to Mach3, which then drives the mill.

I’m aware that one can buy small vinyl cutter knives cheaply on eBay and that these operate in swivelling heads which can be fitted to a CNC mill or router. There seem to be quite a variety of heads available, at a very wide range of prices. One of the cheaper ones seems to be:

**LINK**

I would very much welcome advice from people who have cut vinyl sheet this way on selecting a swivelling head that works ok.

Practical advice on setting up the mill to cut vinyl, e.g. downward force needed and how to achieve it, type of backing and how to mount the vinyl sheet, any things to watch out for, would also be very welcome.

Thanks for all help,

Jon

Martin Kyte13/05/2021 14:01:57
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2528 forum posts
45 photos

Would it be quicker or less fuss to use the mill to make a template, in say brass sheet, and then cut the letter out with a scalpel?

Just a thought.

regards Martin

Martin Connelly13/05/2021 14:03:46
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1848 forum posts
197 photos

I've not done this type of thing but there are a number of YouTube videos that cover it. Search for tangential, Mach3 tangential, tangential control, tangential vinyl or other suitable word combinations. Hopefully they cover what you need to know.

Martin C

Nicholas Wheeler 113/05/2021 14:05:14
720 forum posts
51 photos
Posted by Martin Kyte on 13/05/2021 14:01:57:

Would it be quicker or less fuss to use the mill to make a template, in say brass sheet, and then cut the letter out with a scalpel?

Just a thought.

regards Martin

Sounds good to me.

Although for just one number plate, I'd use a normal printer for the template and be a bit more careful with the scalpel.

KWIL13/05/2021 14:11:52
3412 forum posts
66 photos

My local garden centre used a specialist in house vinyl cutter for all of its instore advertising. Perhaps you could save yourself some effort if you can find someone like that to do it for beer money.

Michael Gilligan13/05/2021 15:36:27
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18704 forum posts
915 photos

I haven’t actually used them in a machine, but I was impressed by the quality of the ‘Roland style’ cutters that I bought cheaply ... I can’t see any reason why your plan should not succeed.

MichaelG.

.

Here’s a ‘card’ for a stereo viewer [or for ‘parallel’ free-viewing if you can do it]

0cd5c2b5-c0df-4b78-8fa2-84f74b1892ee.jpeg

Martin Connelly13/05/2021 16:12:56
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1848 forum posts
197 photos

I can see the 3D version on my screen, same eye relaxation technique as used for SIRDS (single image random dot stereograms).

Martin C

Jon Duke13/05/2021 18:07:43
2 forum posts

Thanks for replies so far.

I'm really looking for advice from people who have cut vinyl sheet this way regarding selecting a swivelling head that works ok. I'm also looking for practical advice on setting up the mill to cut vinyl, e.g. downward force needed and how to achieve it, type of backing and how to mount the vinyl sheet, any things to watch out for, would also be very welcome. If I can get a working system then I will have other uses for it, e.g. cutting gaskets or lettering for such as tank badges.

Kind regards,

Jon

Andy Carlson13/05/2021 20:01:57
387 forum posts
130 photos

I've done name tags on my CNC converted Proxxon MF70. These were done in quite a simple way using a 1mm cutter, trafolyte style layered sheet and a single stroke 'font'. The same cutter also cut around the outside of the tag and made a hole for a keyring.

It took a few failures but after a while I got the hang of it.

Not quite what you are planning I know but I'm happy to answer any questions.

blowlamp13/05/2021 21:14:16
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1498 forum posts
97 photos

Looking at this video, it seems to be quite easy to do. smiley

Martin.

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