Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cutting Acrylic with the Vagabond

Well, this post has been a long time coming... it will be part of a series of other posts I have coming up using the Vagabond.

SO!!! We are going to be cutting acrylic today! When I first heard of the Vagabond, my head started swirling with crafty ideas. I was elated to hear that the Vagabond was going to be a "heavy-duty" die cutter. Everyone's first question is always, "Why is it different than my BigShot Express? My BigShot does everything I need it to." Behold, motor size comparison:

The Vagabond motor is on the left and that puny one on the right is the BigShot Express motor.
Picture courtesy of Scrapbook Update

Pretty sweet, right? Now as soon as I got the machine out of the box I wanted to know exactly what it could do and thick I could go with the cutting, especially when it came to acrylic.

I'm going to try cutting three different thicknesses of acrylic/plastic; Packaging from some of the Tim Holtz products, Bazzill 12x12 plastic paper, and "Kits 2 Remember" acrylic. The packaging (which come with your idea-ology, grungeboard, Sizzix dies, Embossing plates, etc...) is by far the thinnest. You could even cut a few layers of it with the Vagabond. The bazzill 12x12 plastic paper is also just slightly thicker than the packaging and again cuts easily with the Vagabond. The "Kits 2 Remember" acrylic is thick... very thick. It's comparable to the "Clear Scraps" acrylic. It's more of a "display" acrylic sheet, than a "paper" that you would use to put in an actual scrapbook. The Vagabond will go through thicker acrylic like this, but I'd say this is the thickest and hardest material you should attempt at cutting with the 'Bond. (You'll see why later.)**Now before I go any further, I wouldn't suggest cutting through thick material like this. I did just for experimental purposes only. CUT AT YOUR OWN RISK.** I highly suggest running your acrylic through the machine a few times until you stop hearing that loud "lightning cracking" sound. This is one reason I love that little button on the Vagabond that throws your die into the opposite direction it was just going through. Handy, Handy! Also, the more detailed the die is, the more difficulty you're going to have getting through the plastic. You might have to take your tonic scissors afterwards and kind of help parts of it out. I WOULD NOT try cutting something as ornate as the butterfly; I did and while the body and "outer" wings came out fine, the "decorative" wings did not turn out.

I know this is kind of hard to see the difference, but starting on the left we have the thickest "display board" acrylic, then the Bazzill plastic paper and finally the packaging.

Take off any protective filming that may be on your acrylic. This will allow the Vagabond to get through a bit easier and make for a cleaner cut. Every millimeter counts when running thick materials through the machine. Oh, and STAND BACK! Don't be putting your face in front of the opening... I had some projectiles while playing!!!!

And now kiddies... I'm going to show you what NOT to cut with your Vagabond!

This is heavy-duty acrylic from Home Depot that I had bought a while back. This acrylic is about two milimeters shy of being as thick as a cutting pad. Shhhh... I know I'm crazy but I had to try it. So, "What happened?" you ask??? Well after it sounded as though a lightning storm was happening right inside my studio I discovered I officially jacked-up my ornamental flourish die.


On the right is the messed-up die, on the left is an extra Elegant flourish die I have. (Have I mentioned I'm obsessed with Tim's products? Bwahahahaha!) See how the foam started to pop-out of the die's casing?

I apparently forced the die to cut in the WRONG direction; meaning it tried to cut through the plastic backing... whoops. Also, most of the acrylic was jammed into all of the crevisces of the die; I had to sit and pick them out with an xacto and piercer. And these peices were sharp as glass! Yikes!! Well, learn from my mistakes, kiddies! And now that I totally goobered up that die, I might as well take it apart to see what the guts look like!

So that's it!!! Learn from my mistakes and let me know if you have any questions. If you can think of it, I will try it!!!

Can I say that I just LOVE LOVE LOVE my Vagabond! I have some pretty shnazzy project planned with my acrylic cut-outs... stay tuned for some more fun!

Loves and kisses,


Lori said...

Aha! Very interesting! I was going to try it with my regular Big Shot, but now I'm glad I didn't to see your poor broken die! I was hoping to cut thicker acrylic too, dang it. I tried a CD once, came out about the same as yours, cracked all over, but it didn't effect my die, thankfully. I wonder if heating the plastic first would be better. Hmmm...nope, don't think I'm going to try it...chicken!

Tambo said...

OH my. I was wondering about cutting thin plastic. I only have a Big Shot, but had thought about the Vegabond for my hands. I suppose I could use the shrink art plastic. That's pretty thin, then I could heat up the shapes. I will have to try it out. Very good info here. Thanks for sharing. Tami

Saphira said...

So and again me:
(sorry for my English)
thanks for this look inside :)

and again you will find a link her

Its German - I hope the Google Translater helps a little bit??

here you can see what I try to cut with Sizzix :o)
its a long Post - on the End of the Post you find the pictures:

or here-also at the end:

or here

And you have a new Reader :o)
I like your Blog!!!

Thanks you very much!!!!

Desire1978 said...

Interesting! Did your discovery of the guts of the die lead you to any insight on how one might be able to make their own custom dies?

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