Craft and Vinyl Cutters at Narwhal Labs
About our tools
Craft cutters are some of the most accessible and easy to use pieces of CNC technology, enabling anyone to create custom stickers, stencils, and even cut fabric, thin plastics (such as transparency sheets) and other materials. Narwhal Labs is equipped with two Silhouette Cameo 4 craft cutters, standard cutting mats, and "pixscan" mats for die-cutting printed stickers and other items. Each cutter is set up on a cart with materials that are available to all members for small to medium personal projects.
Our Silhouette Cameo 4's use Silhouette Studio. Silhouette Studio is free and no additional paid software packages required to operate our equipment at Narwhal Labs.
Download it from the manufacturer here:Silhouette Studio
You can connect one of our machines with this software using a USB connection or bluetooth. If you are having difficulty connecting, please ask a Narwhal Labs Staff member for assistance.
Like many other digifab tools like CNC routers or Laser Cutters, craft cutters depend on getting correct "feeds and speeds" for optimal material cutting. In Silhouette's software and documentation this is known as cut depth, force and speed. Silhouette Studio has an extensive material library built-in with suggested settings.
You should perform a test cut by pressing the "test" button in the software. This will cut a small triangular and square shape in the top left corner. If you can easily peel the square leaving the triangle behind, your cut settings are likely good. If not, you may need to increase the cut depth, force, or lower the speed.
Cut depth is how far the cutting tool sticks out from its carriage. The depth is set automatically based on configured settings in Silhouette Studio. The force is how hard it pierces the material when cutting. The speed is the speed at which it cuts.
One note, if cutting material without a cutting mat, the force and cut depth may be higher than with. With standard oracal 651 glossy permanent adhesive vinyl, a cut depth of 2 and a force of 11 appears to be sufficient.