Sunday, August 15, 2010

eCraft Test - Model Grade Birch Plywood

I'm very interested in the idea of expanding the use of digital die cutting machines into markets beyond scrapbooking.  The more sales digital die makers can make, the lower the costs to everyone and the greater the encouragement for innovation.

One of those potential new areas is model airplanes and model railroading.  So, I decided to test some of the materials common in both.  Balsa wood, the most common material turns out to have a grain that is to easily shattered.  It's not that the eCraft cannot cut it.  But, as yet, I have not found the right setting before running out of test material.  I think I was using too much pressure.

But, I did have a large sheet of Midwest Products Birch Plywood 1/64th of an inch thick.  So, I decided to try it.

And, I am glad that I did.  It cuts beautifully.  Here is a sample cut.  One tip is missing because I had set up the head too close to the edge and the blade ran off the edge on that side.  You'll also notice that one of the cuts of the multicut setting of 5 seems to be offset ever so slightly.

I want to make sure to follow up on the slight offset issue.  While the other side of this plywood, the side that is actually the 'Up' side, does NOT show the offset, it is something of which we need to be aware.  Had I cut this face up, then the face would have been marred.


Just before trying the plywood cut, I once again tried chipboard.  The blade never even scratched the surface.  I couldn't even see where the blade had crossed over the surface.  It was this failure that led me to try to see if it was the blade by trying the plywood.  It was NOT the blade, as you can see from the above image that the eCraft was able to cut the plywood quite easily.

As you can see, even after making numerous cardboard cuts, several attempts at cutting chipboard and cutting the plywood quite easily, the blade is still in reasonably good sharpness.  The tip is finally beginning to show the merest signs of flattening.  But, not as much as I expected after the chipboard failures.  This is good news because I ran the blade across the chipboard at the highest pressure setting for using at least 5 multi-cuts per attempt and 8 multi-cuts.  So, it looks like the blades hold up quite well.

If someone is able to find the magic settings for cutting chipboard, please let us know.


Kathy said...

Thanks for all your insight into the Ecraft I am fairly convinced I will get one, but just absolutely gutted about Fun foam it is one of my favourite materials.

Tom Meeks said...

Thank you Kathy,

It was tough for me too, to learn that the fun foam that most accessible to me would not work. It's not the foam material, it's the depth of the easily available foam.

Perhaps as more people use the eCraft someone will identify a brand that will work.

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