Saturday 3 March 2018

Using Cricut cutting machines to create masks (sponsored)

Hey ho - here's something a bit different. Just so you're aware upfront, this is an unpaid sponsored post with some affiliate links.

Towards the end of last year I was contacted by the UK reps from Cricut. They asked if I was interested in trying out an Explore Air cutting machine for some modelling work. You'd normally find Cricut machines in papercraft studios - for making cards and decorating gift wrapping etc. I don't want to sell that hobby short at all. There's a lot of amazing projects that come out of that hobby barn, but it's not a common thing to see one being used for scale models or wargaming.

Cricut Explore Air, plus a bunch of tools I won't need.

And that's what Cricut wanted me to figure out - how can I do something cool with this fancy tool that isn't standard or run-of-the-mill.

I'm in the middle of an X-Wing fighter build for a Facebook group build, and I thought I'd get the Cricut involved with creating some masks to help speed along the difficult bits.

Pro Painted 1:72 figure. eBay quality.

The first thing I'm going to use the Explore Air with is the canopy. Ban Dai provide stickers in the box as alternatives for the decals - not everyone building these snap kits is comfortable with working with decals - but some are also useful for masking.

This is perfect for testing the viability of the Cricut for the job. I already have vinyl masks in the form of the canopy stickers, so I can copy those and learn to use the cloud-based Cricut Design Space software.

Ban Dai stickers, ready to be scanned
I scanned the canopy frame sticker, tweaked it in Photoshop, imported it to Cricut Design Space, and double-checked the actual size for cutting.

Photoshopped masks x2 for safety

Once I had the cutting file ready, I went and found some self-adhesive vinyl sheet on Amazon - it doesn't matter which colour you get (it's getting painted over) - and loaded it into the Explore Air.

Take a look at the video - I've filmed the whole cutting process, as well as the preamble and painting.

So that's vinyl cutting using the Cricut Explore Air. I have other plans for masks, too, including some complex aztec patterns for the AMT Enterprise-D. I'm figuring out how to share the files, so that other Cricut users can benefit from this test as well.

Thanks for stopping by - there's more to come, as well as an interesting team-up that's on the horizon.

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