Cricut - A modelers best friend

I wanted to briefly review/overview the Cricut machines, which are designed to cut out intricate designs in pretty much any thin 2D medium you can think of. My intention is increase awareness of these cool little machines. My mom crafts and has owned one for a few years and after hearing me talking to my dad about needing stencils for a build, bought me one for Christmas. Mine has already paid itself off.

Some of you may already know a lot about these machines, or like me you’ve heard about them in passing, but didn’t really know their capabilities. They are amazing little machines for cutting out stenciling. My current archer build was a really nice build, but the decals were a joke! Super thick and wouldn’t settle at all. I started researching decal sets and discovered i would need 4-5 sets of archer fine transfers at about $50. The machine on sale was $100 so it’s already half paid off!

First up, the machine. I got a Cricut Joy, it’s a nice compact machine that measures 8”x4” but it can make cuts up to 4 inches wide and 20 feet, yes 20 feet long!

You feed media into the machine and the little blade makes very intricate cuts exactly where you want them! That brings up the app. It can be installed on any phone or newish desktop computer. You can import photos (as I had to do for the serial numbers), images from the internet (as I did for the 5-point stars), and pre-built font, shapes, and designs. The interface is really user friendly. Step 1: import the design you want, then resize it, change its dimensions, angle it, crop it, etc.

Step 2:

Decide where you want them on your mat, this can also be used to layer complex shapes

Step 3:

Select the media you want cut, and the pressure. I will be cutting masking tape, so I used the paper setting on the lightest pressure.

Step 4: load media in and hit go, the machine will start cutting exactly where you told it to.


Step 5: remove media, and pick out your stencils


I used this to get most of the markings I needed for my archer build cut out. Here are the markings, and the resulting stencils. I’ll spray the markings tomorrow!


I can see this being super useful for masking markings, making markings often missing like swastikas, and making things like seatbelts. If you can find dimensions or an image of what you want stenciled, you can cut it!

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Nice. My wife has the other brand. It won’t do numbers like that - not enough resolution or something.

Since yours does such a fine job, I’ve put a large square piece of Tamiya tape in the mail with a list of the numbers I need. :innocent: :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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Lol! Where you located? I can probably cut them if you want! It’s really easy to do

Thanks for the kind offer. I absolutely must have stencils for panzers with zimmerit. I don’t have a build of one of those on the horizon, but maybe I’ll remember your offer when one of those comes up again.

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I’ll definitely be making some stencils for my tiger I when it comes time to build it

Next! :raising_hand_man: Haha!

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How well does it handle curves? Looking at the numbers it probably handles them well.

Those cut out numbers look really impressive

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It handles curves really well. The smaller the diameter the more it struggles, but it can cut kit some really small circles before it has an issue.

Yeah I’m pretty impressed with them. They are 3.5 mm high, so pretty small

Good review! Looks like a very handy machine!

Looks like another gadget added to the modeling mancave - I know this is heading me to a resin 3d printer. Oh Gawd make it stop.

Cheers
:beer: :nerd_face: :beer:

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I feel ya, it’s hard to stay on top of it all. Like I said o wasn’t 100% sure how useful this would be, but with how well it cuts and the price tag of after market decals, it’s pretty nice!

Interesting. So what is the thickest media it can cut? I am thinking very thin styrene here… It sure would make scratchbuilding easier but then I guess you are getting into 3d printer territory. But if we were to use very thin styrene… maybe?

I’m thinking it would do fine on thin styrene, but the thicker stuff is likely a challenge. I could do a test cut on some .02” stuff later today.

The vinyl it’s designed for is fairly thick

The vinyl it’s designed for is .011” so I imagine think styrene is fine. I suspect it may have problems with .04” and above

I notice you got the Cricut Joy, but there are other (more expensive…) models that can cut thicker material, such as leather… those might be better for cutting plastic card?

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Yeah I think so! My mom has the cricut maker and it has many more settings than mine does. The more expensive ones are likely a better all around investment. Now that I know how good they work I’ll probably upgrade mine down the road

• Is the device subscription-based only?
• Can you design and import your own artwork from other software, i.e. pdf format?
• Wondering about blade/sticky mat longevity and/or replacement cost.

TIA.

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Nope, if you want other peoples designs or require access to extra design tools then you’ll need the subscription but I’m on the free side. You can import JPG, PNG, etc. I think PDFs work, but if they don’t you can convert to JPG. The serial numbers were a photo of the decals in JPG format and then touched up in the app and printed

The sticky mats can be washed to enchance longevity. No idea on the blades but they are tungsten carbide apparently so they should be quite hard and long lasting.

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I’ve been using a Cricut Maker (Original) for a couple of years now. It’ll easily score the .020 sheet so that you can snap off or finish cutting out part. I’ve done lettering in in various fonts for a few people with it.

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