A while back I got a cheap Chinese 3018 CNC desktop mill. It can mill wood, acrylic and many other softer materials. Some people even used it to engrave aluminum.
You can buy these devices in many different versions and sizes. They are usually built with 2020 and 2040 extrusion elements and 3D printed parts. 3 stepper motors control the position of the tool. Mine is called 3018 in reference to the size of the build table: 30x18cm.
A spindle motor rotates the tool bit to engrave or cut away from the base material. With many of these CNC machines, you can replace the spindle motor with a (weak) laser module for engraving or cutting. I extended mine with a 2.5W laser and it is strong enough to cut cardboard or even thin balsa wood.
But Daniel wanted to turn the desktop CNC mill into a vinyl cutter. Vinyl cutters may be used to create stickers. Or create T-Shirt patterns with heat transfer vinyl.
It turns out with the right tools it’s really easy. All you need is a drag knife and a 3d printed converter.
You can make the drag knife from a razor blade. Or you can buy a replacement part intended for a professional vinyl cutter. I believe it’s worth to spend $10 on this part rather than making it yourself. This will have a big impact on the quality of your cuts.
We are angry, frustrated, and in pain because of the violence and murder of Black people by the police because of racism. We are in the fight AGAINST RACISM. George Floyd was murdered, his life stolen. The Adafruit teams have specific actions we’ve done, are doing, and will do together as a company and culture. We are asking the Adafruit community to get involved and share what you are doing. The Adafruit teams will not settle for a hash tag, a Tweet, or an icon change. We will work on real change, and that requires real action and real work together. That is what we will do each day, each month, each year – we will hold ourselves accountable and publish our collective efforts, partnerships, activism, donations, openly and publicly. Our blog and social media platforms will be utilized in actionable ways. Join us and the anti-racist efforts working to end police brutality, reform the criminal justice system, and dismantle the many other forms of systemic racism at work in this country, read more @ adafruit.com/blacklivesmatter
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.