Author Topic: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter  (Read 4688 times)

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pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2013, 09:07:39 PM »
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I also found today that the BlackCat seems to be happier cutting at higher speeds, like 400 mm/s. That's 4X the Silhouette's max speed, which I have never used, preferring about 60mm/s. That was counter-intuitive at first. But it is meant to be a production machine (with up to a 24-inch bed), and it uses a drag blade, so perhaps that makes sense. I haven't cranked it up to top speed of 600 mm/s yet. Still, scribing 42-rib shipping containers for the outside of a 4 x 6 stack (just the six outside surfaces, the bottom surface nearly blank, and blank interior reinforcements) took eight minutes. I was hoping for $0.25 containers, albeit in a stack. That isn't going to happen. I am not touting the BlackCat--there is little documentation, so I am discovering how to use it pretty much on my own, and it is finicky, and still unproven to me. While it is wowy! when it works, it often doesn't work.

Let's see what my single resin-cast containers look like. I just paid $3 a container for unpainted scantily-detailed containers from a major mfg. Was not impressed.

pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2013, 10:01:35 PM »
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This is one finicky beast. It seems I'm going to have to be the one to figure out how to cut styrene with it. Some pieces cut perfectly; others, well, not so good. It seems to have more muscle in one area than was designed for another. I think it puts more pressure on the blade holder than the blade holder can withstand, so the blade holder creeps upward. And this causes other problems . . . and on and on. Score and snap on the Silhouette is at least accurate, although labor intensive when it comes to inside cuts such as windows.

I am determined to make this venture work, so am ploughing onward, with a cutter that sometimes ploughs off-the-line!

pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2014, 08:38:27 PM »
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It's been more than a year, but I may have finally figured out how to cut .020 styrene with a vinyl cutter like the Blackcat Cougar. It has been a long journey for sure, and I'm not certain anyone else can reproduce my results. Lately I've been able to use 1 mm design rules on .5 mm styrene, resulting in this walkway for the Mobil Engineer tanker.



The pipe brackets are also cut with the cutter.

Styrene has such a drag on the blade (as Zox noted) that long cuts still wander. I did a little experiment with my poor beaten to death Silhouette cutter, which cuts straight as an arrow no matter the length of the piece, but only lightly scores the styrene. I tried manually pressing down on the blade mechanism while it was cutting, to add pressure. Guess what? It wandered just as badly as the huge BlackCat! So pressure was the cause. When I backed way off the pressure, and way down on the speed, and used multiple cuts, I was able to cut all the way through .020 styrene, which made this structure easy to cut and build:



The boom supports are also cut with the cutter.

So, after what, after 16 months of pulling out my hair, I finally got the damn thing to work. And, once it works, it does do great modeling stuff.

Zox

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2014, 09:29:56 PM »
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When I backed way off the pressure, and way down on the speed, and used multiple cuts, I was able to cut all the way through .020 styrene...

Pete, how many passes and what pressure did you use?

If it's light enough pressure, I'm wondering if it might still be within the Silhouette's capability, and I just have to be willing to try 20 passes or so... :)
Rob M., a.k.a. Zox
z o x @ v e r i z o n . n e t
http://lordzox.com/
It is said a Shaolin chef can wok through walls...

pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2014, 10:38:34 PM »
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Zox,

Send me a PM and I'll try to explain
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 10:41:21 PM by pnolan48 »

pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2014, 10:46:38 PM »
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Zox,

I modified one of the Silhouette's guides to allow for a 0.4x mm cutting depth--just by sanding off some of the surface. Couldn't get to 0.508 mm. But it made score and snap much easier. But it did take about 6 passes. Now, my poor Silhouette has been beaten to death over the past two years.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 10:51:03 PM by pnolan48 »

pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2014, 11:48:51 PM »
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I've cut some small stuff from 0.5 mm (0.20") styrene, like this pipe support. I needed 30 of them, so PE brass was probably not an option. Actually, even if I needed 150 of them.



I like these because they glue to styrene piping.  Sure, I'd like to use metal tubing and PE brass brackets, but at what cost?

pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2014, 10:26:45 PM »
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Now I wish I could tame the beasty cutter to cut .010" (0.25 mm) styrene. I wish it was just a matter of raising the blade by .010. It would seem like it's just a matter of raising the blade. The problem is that I'm extending the blade far beyond recommendation to cut .020 styrene, like twice the recommended depth, and using three cuts at light pressure and slow speed to just barely cut through. So how do I replicate that which took me freaking 16 months to figure out? I DON"T WANT TO TOUCH THE CUTTER! Maybe I should just buy a second cutter, and take 16 months to figure out how to cut thinner styrene?

I think, if I could really get this cutter in tune with .010 styrene, I could do stuff approaching photo-etch brass.


pnolan48

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Re: Black Cat Cougar Digital Cutter
« Reply #23 on: July 30, 2014, 09:02:02 PM »
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Another four months of cutting, another four months of learning. The primary lesson is that styrene, for all its good points, is finicky to cut. It's much more art than science. I just got a new batch of styrene, and it is completely different than the last batch.

First, it's .022" thick, rather than .020". When I've got things set up to cut .019", that .003" extra thickness causes huge problems. Windows don't fall out with a touch; they need to be snapped out, and that can't be done with small separations. You might think a simple depth adjustment was in order, BUT--

The glossy surface on this batch is much shinier (good) and much harder (bad) than the previous batch. So just adjusting the depth still leaves me with too much material. So I start cranking up the pressure. It takes four increases, and four trial cuts, about a 50% increase it all, to drive the blade down to the bottom, but guess what? The increased pressure causes the blade to drift! So I back off the speed by 50%.

Oh, I did put in a new blade early in this process, as I realized the surface was so much harder.

It took me half a day to get back to acceptable cuts in .022" styrene.

Other lessons:

The manually set top rollers eventually drift off the bottom rollers. Check them every time.

The blade holder can get filled with styrene chips and fuzz, which prevents the blade from turning freely, which causes major drift.

The supplied software will quit in the middle of a big cut, so keep sheets simpler than the max.

Styrene from different suppliers, or even from the same supplier, will be vastly different batch to batch.

I'm writing down this stuff for anyone interested in learning about cutting styrene with one of these cutters.