Friday, March 1, 2013

Cutting and Plotting

Sometimes I want to smash our Graphtec Craft ROBO Pro cutter. It's a professional vinyl cutter but we always want to cut paper, not vinyl. The Craft ROBO does not want to comply, and we have difficulty getting it to cut through anything heavier than standard copy paper.  In desperation, we finally figured out that we could cut and paste a design over itself so that the cutter would cut all the lines twice, and that finally did the trick, at least for some of our pieces. I think the most successful one so far is this one, where we cut out a paper model with tabs that can be glued up into an interesting shape. In the picture it's only partially glued together so you can still see the tabs: 

Despite our rocky start, the cutter is currently forgiven because it can also draw with a pen attachment in place of the blade. We made it plot some really nice space-filling curves, as you can see below. The cutter head is somehow off alignment at corners but at the moment that is making the drawings look almost handmade so we are leaving it that way for now:

The cutter works through an Adobe Illustrator plug-in that reads files to the Cutting Master software. The files need to be .svg files, which you can find online or convert to from PDF (although this can cause some issues). You can also use Tinkercad to export an .svg file of whatever shape is intersecting the workplane, and we'll be trying Mathematica .svg exports next.

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