Recently, the tool fairy brought me a consumer grade vinyl cutter.A feature that attracted me to this model is that it can cut paper. Making intricate cuts in paper is much easier with a tool like this, and much less expensive than with a laser cutter. The Silhouette Cameo is an interesting machine. It’s extremely affordable, and probably best for light personal use. As a classroom tool, it might not be durable enough. It definitely isn’t made for commercial use, but there appear to be plenty of things you can do with it.
One of the traditional first projects that computer programmers do with a new language is to write a Hello World program. This is the easiest way to use the program and prove that everything is working. In this initial vinyl cutter project, I made several Hello World stickers, which can be weeded in a few different ways.
The vinyl cutter acts a lot like a printer, in terms of computer hardware. It is a CNC tool, and cuts by moving a knife blade along three axes: Z is the blade moving up and down, Y is the material being rolled in and out of the machine, and X is the carriage moving side to side.
Beyond the super basic Hello World vinyl you see here, there are some really amazing things you can make with this tool. You can cut pictures that you have drawn, photos that you have shot, make custom signs, make your own silkscreen stencils for T-shirts, and create circuit boards with the vinyl stickers.
There are photos of this project.