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!

 

 

A Cactus in a Box

 

I was fortunate to be one of the instructors at the recent Light Your Fire with KNK retreat in Chandler, Arizona.  As part of the planning for the retreat I wanted to create a little memento that we could give to each of the attendees.  I suggested a 3D saguaro cactus cut from acrylic and it was approved by the other instructors.

CactusOrnament-Optimized

To create the cactus and a box to hold it, the following materials and equipment were used:

Grafix 0.020 Craft Plastic

Blue painter’s tape

Blue tip/Thick Material Blade

Engraving Blade

Bazzill Cardstock

Crafter’s Pick The Ultimate! glue

KNK Maxx Air

A sticky cutting mat for the Maxx Air

The designs for the cactus and box were created in my KNK Studio software and converted to the Make the Cut and PDF formats.

The plastic is supplied with a protective film of blue plastic on both sides which needs to be removed prior to placing it on the mat for cutting.  The plastic also needs to be taped to the mat on all four sides.  Consult the user manual for your particular cutter for the recommended settings for engraving and cutting of the plastic.  In order to get the detail lines to show up more, I used 2 passes with the engraving tool.  Be sure to use either the “Pen” option or “no offset” when using the engraving tool.  Also remember that you want to use the “WYSIWYG” or “Sign Blank” option when performing more than one procedure on a particular design.

The box was cut from cardstock, assembled, and then flattened so it could be transported safely without being crushed in my suitcase.  Since the cactus is made with two pieces, it’s assembly was delayed until after I had gotten to Arizona.  The two pieces of the cactus are easily assembled using the slots cut into the pieces.  The box was sized to fit the cactus ornament.

CactusInBox-Optimized

When all of the ornaments and boxes were assembled, I had my own saguaro forest or maybe a condo.

CactusCondo-Optimized

The files for the cactus and box and the instructions for assembling and flattening the box can be downloaded from the link below.

Saguaro Cactus Ornament & Box Cutting Files_Judy_Kay

 

 

 

Using a Zing to Engrave a Mermaid in Scratchboard

Engraved Mermaid

For an upcoming segment on Scrapbook Soup TV, I worked collaboratively with Carole Lassak to design an “Inspiration Book” to highlight different techniques you could use with a Zing! One of the techniques we explored was engraving.

First we had to choose a material to engrave – acrylic, vellum, metal, etc. We decided to try a material I used back in grammar school; scratchboard.

Traditional scratchboard is a layer of white China clay that is coated with black India ink. Scratchboard can also be made with several layers of multi-colored clay, so the pressure exerted on the instrument used determines the color that is revealed. Scratchboard can be used to yield highly detailed, precise and even textured artwork.

Modern scratchboard comes with a paper or cardboard backing and can be found at most hobby and craft stores.

To design the file, I used Inkscape.

First, I created a fill pattern. I wanted paths (lines) and not polygons. Since the finished piece was a mermaid, I -thought swirls would be a great filling for her tail.

  • Use the Create Spirals tool to create an assortment of shapes (different sizes, etc.) that are relatively close together and as a whole, are large enough to cover the area you want to engrave.
  • Path>Combine all the individual shapes in to a single path.
  • Save the file
  • You can download my example Swirls.svg.

Next, you need a shape to fill. I found a free mermaid stained glass pattern on VIT-MAR (www.stainedglass.on.ca) and used Inkscape again to create an SVG file from it.

To “fill” portions of the pattern with the swirls, do the following in Inkscape:

  • Open the SVG file for the main image
  • File>Import the fill pattern SVG (e.g. Swirl). Make sure it’s a single path – not a group. By default, Inkscape will pull the file in as a group, so you’ll need to Object>Ungroup it to get it back to a path.
  • Place the main image is below the fill pattern (e.g. Swirl) using Object>Lower To Bottom.
  • Move the swirl pattern over the main image
  • Select the two paths (the main image and the swirl pattern) and then select Path>Division. This will cut the swirl pattern to the shape of the main image.
  • Be sure you grab the “pieces” of the area you just filled and Path>Combine them in to a single path.

Repeat these steps as often as necessary to “fill” your main image. I like to drag portions of my main image off to the side, fill them there, and then drag them in to place (like in the sample screenshots).  I sometimes fill the shapes with color so they are easier to see that they are below the fill pattern (yellow in the sample screenshots). Click on an image to enlarge it.

 Zing Engraving - Step 1  Zing Engraving - Step 2 Zing Engraving - Step 3 Zing Engraving - Step 4
The main image and the fill pattern The main image below the fill pattern The pattern “cut out” in the shape of the main image The patterned piece placed back in to the main image

I also took portions of the mermaid and Path>Inset areas repeatedly to create another fun fill effect.

For the final piece, I imported the SVG file in to Make The Cut and worked with it in layers.

For the first pass, I used a layer to engrave the scratchboard. Use a very light pressure setting so you only remove the top coating of ink on the board and don’t tear up the clay layer. I used the Zing! Engraving Tool. I expected there to be a lot of dust, but since you’re only scratching through ink, I didn’t notice any!!

After engraving, switch to the Thick Material Blade and cut out the silhouette of the main image, using a second layer.

When you’re done, you’ll have a wonderful engraved piece reminiscent of the engravings done in the 19th century in Britain and France!

You can see more of my projects on my blog on Create & Craft.

Happy Crafting!

Joe

 

Engraving a Dog Tag on a KNK

After a near scare with our beloved 12 year old Llasa-Bichon, Chibi, we decided we needed a little more info on her dog tag. Chibi had wandered off one Saturday morning and the man who found her was responsive and dialed the number on the county-registered tag on Chibi’s collar. However, the number had been discontinued! Fortunately, my husband found a web site called Lost My Doggie and was able to have their automatic service call every home phone within a two mile range of our home. One of our neighbors received the call and knew right away that this must be the dog HER next door neighbor had found earlier that morning. Within a short time, Chibi was reunited with her family.

Needless to say, we were quite unhappy that the phone number on her collar had been discontinued by the government agency which issued it! My husband suggested we get her tag engraved with our home phone number. Bingo! A perfect application for my KNK Maxx!

The first step was to measure the tag. It was 1-1/8″ in diameter, so I created a circle in KNK Studio, just slightly larger – 1.15″. I wanted it large enough so that when I cut out that circle in chipboard, the tag would fit within the hole I cut. You’ll later see why.

Next, I designed the text I wanted to engrave. KNK Studio comes with a selection of single line and multi-line engraving fonts. I selected one that I felt would create easy-to-read text. I made sure the text was positioned so that it would be engraved exactly where I wanted it to be on the tag. The following screen shots show the text with both the fill turned on and the fill turned off:

I needed to make sure the engraving would be made in the exact place on the tag I needed. I set the cutting mode in KNK Studio to Sign Blank. Then, I taped a sheet of chipboard to the cutting mat. After doing a test cut to make sure I had the correct blade length and cutting force, I set the origin and cut out the circle only from the chipboard:

Important… right after the circle was cut, I did NOT lift the pinch wheel levers. Instead, I went Offline and used the lower “-” key to move the mat forward until I could lift out the cut circle with a paper piercer. I then placed the tag into the hole and put small pieces of tape along the very top and bottom to hold the tag in place during the engraving. I’m not sure that’s absolute necessary but I didn’t want the tag to shift during the engraving process, so it seemed like good insurance:

Then, I pressed the Online button so that the blade carriage would return to the same origin. I then switched out the blade for the engraving tool, set the cutting force to 150, and the number of passes to 3. I then sent the text only to the cutting window and the text was engraved EXACTLY where I needed it:

So, having our dog’s name and home phone number on her dog tag gives us a lot more reassurance that if she were to wander off again, anyone finding her would be able to contact us directly.

My thanks to Michelle Hessler for posting on one of the KNK Yahoo groups this method of aligning an engraving. It worked great and is perfect for non-rectangular shapes, such as this circular dog tag.

Acrylic Cover Album or home decor

 

 

 

This is an acrylic sheet that was engraved with my KNK Groove-E using the green capped engraving tool. I used these setting: Velocity = 600 and Force =140.

In KNK Studio, you send the image to the cut window and before you cut, right click on the Banner Fill icon. Then, make the following settings; Pen Diameter = .02000, Fill Style = S-Sweep, Fill Overlap = .01500 75% and Fill Angle = 45. Don’t think that I am super brilliant, LOL, the honor is for Sandy who taugh me that in the Tampa Retreat. THANK YOU SANDY, AGAIN I love the results.

 

After I engraved everything, I painted with acrylic and fabric paint. The glitter is glue it with decoupage medium glue.