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.
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