Need a Special Longarm Ruler? No Problem!

I am working on a special quilted art piece using new materials and techniques that I am currently experimenting with. Leather, heat transfer vinyl, computerized cutting, and chainmail! Each of the blocks in the quilt have different styles of background quilting for the theme of the block. I wanted a gentle wave as background fill for the House Stark block and could not find a longarm ruler exactly like I needed, so I decided to make one using my Maxx Air.

Longarm rulers need to be ¼” thick so the hopping foot does not jump the ruler and cause damage to the needle bar and throw off the machine timing. Not to mention break needles! Since we cannot cut that thickness of material with our cutting machines, I decided to cut multiple layers of craft plastic and glue the layers together to get to the ¼” height I needed. It took ten layers of the .020mm plastic to achieve the proper thickness.

Materials

Grafix Craft Plastic .020 mm

KNK Zing/Zing Air/Maxx Air Standard Material Detail Blade

KNK Zing/Zing Air 12″ x 12″ Extra Sticky Mat Set (Green Grid)

Engraving Tool

Clear adhesive for plastics

 

Maxx Air Settings

Engrave Settings

Engraving Tool, Force = 120, Speed = 400, Passes = 3, Blade Offset = 0,

Blade Height = 25

Cut Layer Settings

Red Blade, Force = 190, Speed = 300, Passes = 3, Blade Offset = .25, Blade Height = 25

Process Details

Brought my Corel design for the ruler into Make the Cut! and added the text for the ruler name. Separated the text and guide lines as separate layers for the engraving. I only engraved one text layer and a few guidelines only layers, the rest I just cut the outline of the ruler.

I could get three ruler layers on one sheet of 12” x12” craft plastic. Using the Extra Sticky Mat, I taped down the edges of the plastic, just in case. First, I engraved the plastic using the Engraving Tool with the ruler name and then changed to the Red Blade to cut the ruler layers.

After removing the excess plastic, I glued the layers together carefully making sure that everything lined up properly. I encased the engraved layers between the clear layers so I got a smooth bottom to my ruler. And for a little extra bit of security I used a clear packing tape on the ends while the glue was drying.

I then applied a few pieces of ruler grip tape to the bottom so the ruler would not slip on the surface of the leather as I was quilting. I did notice some minor “fanning” of the layers when the hopping foot was in motion, but not enough to impact the outcome. Next time I will be sure to apply more glue along the edges.

I am pleased with the results using my new longarm ruler. This was a quick solution to fulfill my need and I will be making more longarm rulers for special projects in the future!

 

 

This entry was posted in post and tagged , , , , by Candace West. Bookmark the permalink.

About Candace West

Candace West is a multiple national award winning quilt artist and educator, whose art has been displayed at all major quilt show venues such as the International Quilt Festival in Houston, TX, and the American Quilting Society show in Paducah, KY and many others nationwide. Her award winning quilts and garments have appeared in several major magazines. A love of teaching and sharing the techniques that can make anyone’s quilts show worthy, is her mission.

6 thoughts on “Need a Special Longarm Ruler? No Problem!

Comments are closed.