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Craftcutter Projects for Hobbyists
This article was originally written for our model railroading pages, in the "Structures" section. However, we wanted to share information about this topic that would overlap into several other areas, so we are republishing it, with updates and additions here.
We define "craftcutters" as tabletop machines that are designed chiefly for the purpose of cutting vinyl and other materials for craft projects. These machines are mostly interesting to me because they can also be used to cut out objects used for other hobbies such as model railroading, wargaming sets, dollhouses, putz houses, and more.
Dateline, March, 2021
Since I wrote the original article, much has changed. Unfortunately, that means that many of the amateur sites describing things you can do with specific products are outdated or just plain wrong.
For that reason, the approximate date of publication is prominently displayed, in case I don't update this page and you come back to it in five year. At least you'll know it may ot be current.
About "Projects"The wonderful thing about these machines is that once you have an idea of any kind, it's possible to take it quite far. For example, if you download .svg files that will allow you to cut the windowframes for a two-story building, it's relatively simple to tweak the same file to make it cut windowframes for a ten-story building. (Your cutter just stays busy longer.) If you see an example of a slate roof pattern you like, and it's in the wrong scale, it's not hard to change it to the scale you use (although HO can be tricky with some patterns, and I'm not going to vouch for N).
So while we will be providing original patterns here for various projects, we'll also try to link to examples of other folks doing projects that should inspire you to try your own.
About SVG FilesMost folks who share cutter-friendly files share them in .svg (Simple Vector Graphic) format. That's a format that stores images as lines and curves. Not all .svg files are cutter-friendly. But most cutters' software, including Cricut's newest programs, can import .svg files easily. To me it's important to save any graphics you create as .svg files as well, in case you change cutters later, or your vendor abandons support for your machine (which HAS happened).
Note about Silhouette Studio and .svg Files: For some indiscernable reason, Silhouette's "free" software does not import .svg files, though it will import several other formats, including .dxf (an Autocad format). If you have CorelDraw, Adobe Illustrator, or Inkscape (a free program), you can export .dxf files for your Silhouette to read. Alternatives include:
More information about graphics programs and file formats is contained in our Graphic Software for Craftcutters article.
Our ProjectsThis section will contain projects we have done with our cutters. Right now, it's a pretty short list, but I hope it keeps growing.
Other Hobbyists' ProjectsThe more I look for answers to questions online, the more I find projects that inspire me to try new things, as well as projects that I had thought about trying but wasn't sure they would work.
Here are a few resources from other folks that include project ideas (and in some classes plans you can download), plus a lot of supplementary information abut cutters, materials, etc.
We have more articles about specific projects planned, but we got so many questions from the first few things we posted, we thought establishing some context would be helpful. Consequently, this article is mostly background information for people who are just getting their feet wet, but if that describes you, I hope is helps steer you in a good direction. And maybe clears up some common misconceptions.
Watch this page: more articles are in the works.
As always, we want to hear your suggestions, criticisms, additions, etc. Enjoy your hobbies, and especially any time you can spend with your family in the coming months!
Note: Family Garden Trains™, Garden Train Store™, Big Christmas Trains™, BIG Indoor Trains™, and BIG Train Store™ are trademarks of Breakthrough Communications (www.btcomm.com). All information, data, text, and illustrations on this web site are Copyright (c) 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 by Paul D. Race. Reuse or republication without prior written permission is specifically
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