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Cutting 1.5 and 2.0 mm card. Scroll saw.

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:13 pm
by Chuffchuff
Has anyone used an electric scroll saw ( type with metal table with long arm and takes blades similar to a fret saw) for cutting card ? I am hoping for some advice and hints.

I have had a trial on some card and it seems to work ok'ish certainly no worse than my attempts wth a scalpel. Neither method of which are pretty.

I have a number of arches to cut and my fingers are getting sore !


Re: Cutting 1.5 and 2.0 mm card. Scroll saw.

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2020 5:17 pm
by Walkingthedog
No but I would imagine it will need a very fine blade to prevent it catching.

Re: Cutting 1.5 and 2.0 mm card. Scroll saw.

Posted: Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:00 am
by Steve M
You may be better off with a compass cutter. Basically a compass with a blade instead of a pencil - many different ones online.

Re: Cutting 1.5 and 2.0 mm card. Scroll saw.

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2020 5:49 pm
by Chuffchuff
Thanks for the replies,
Some more thoughts !
After dusting down the scroll saw, I think the last time it was used was by my kids for making projects at school. Now my grand children are same age!
I purchased some blades (Axminster Tools). Cheaper on some sites, but they had a good selection and advice on uses etc. Not knowing quite what I wanted seemed a wise choice.

Story so far:
I printed out Wordsworth arches on 80 gsm paper (thank you Mr Wordsworth), glued with Pritt Stick Original on to 1.5 and 2 mm card.

Scroll cutting is not good on the straight, so staying with a steel rule and new scaple blade was the best approach on the side walls of the arches. Also I found that cutting around the curve of the arches helped by forming a track, the scroll blade could follow and also stopped the delamination of the top paper from the card where glue had not taken.

Getting the feel of cutting takes a little while. I found that cutting about 2mm of the curve and going back 1 mm, twist in line with the curve of the arch and repeating the action worked well. Then for some reason, maybe the density, or the lay of the fibres in the card, I could cut on the curve up to 5mm quite easily.

Handling improved slightly by running radial cuts into the arch before starting the inner curve. These cuts allowed unwanted card to be removed.

Rightly, or otherwise, I alternated curved cuts clockwise and anti clockwise in an attempt to stop the blade becoming too formed in one direction. (A method I use on a band saw) However once you start cutting curves on either scroll and band saw blades, it is usually is the kiss of death for straight cutting.

The best blades for card cutting were the 20 tpi and 25 tpi, both the thickness and width of the blade gets smaller as you increase the tpi, I found the 20 tpi most manageable when cutting the inside curves of the arches. Maybe more practice will improve the technique.

Some positives.
The cuts are 90 degrees, thus avoiding my bad habit of leaning the scaple over a bit when a series of cuts are made.
Its a lot easier on the fingers if you have arthritic fingers. (29 arches so far !)
The finished cut is better than my attempts at using a scalpel and maybe safer.
A small amount of dust is produced, but it falls into the machine, so no mask is needed.
One mm card started to fray, however combinations of glued cards from 1.5mm up to 3mm (2 x 1.5 mm card) and 6mm (4 x 1.5mm and 3 X 2mm card) gave good results.

It helps to have a scroll saw.