Friday, April 22, 2022

Success with the Brother Scan and Cut

WOW --- what a day! I accomplished so much, and I learned a TON. I bought my digital cutter (I have the Brother Scan and Cut -- the DX 225), which is discontinued. As with most tools, there's a learning curve, and I was either too afraid or too lazy to really dig into making that thing work. 

With all the machine embroidery and other people interested in digital cutters, there's no time like NOW to get it out and learn. Remember, it now sits on a table in Studio B, so I don't have to dig it out. 

I had a project that needed to get done, and I thought what better time than now to do it with the cutter. 

I think I mentioned that I drew the design in EQ8 and printed out the template. The template got scanned and I loaded some fabric into the cutter and hit CUT. 

Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed with the results. The cut wasn't smooth, and I basically had to cut the entire thing out with scissors. 

A BAD cut 

After walking the dogs (late because it had been raining), I decided to give this cutter another whirl. Perhaps the pressure isn't enough, although I have an auto sensor on my digital cutter. 

Now, let me read those instructions (sh -- don't tell anyone that I hadn't read the instructions!). Hmm -- what's this reference chart on the back of the quick start guide? I have to DOWNLOAD the instructions, which I think I'll do later today. HEY -- if I'm going to use the cutter, I want to know EVERYTHING about the cutter. OH MY GOSH -- there are TWO blades, and if I'm cutting fabric, I need to use the BEIGE cover, not the black one. 

Will that make a difference? You be the judge. 


NIGHT and DAY  -- the difference was night and day. I was doing the happy dance around Studio B, to be sure. Yippee --- this cutter is fantastic, and it was so easy and fast once I knew what I was doing. I'm able to cut and delete extra stuff on the screen -- oh yes -- -I know enough to be dangerous now!!

Here's my squeegee that I bought -- one side is plastic, and one side is fuzzy, so it doesn't scratch your work or flatten textured paper?  Anyway -- it works like a charm. Well worth the $8.

My squeegee 

Then I got into production mode -- I plugged in the Singer Steam Press to make it easy to apply the fusible and stick the applique shapes in place. 

The Singer Steam Press

I love that Steam Press -- it's amazing how well things work when you have the right tools. 

Fusing the fusible to the wrong side of the fabric

And I'm using my crappy mat. 

My crappy mat

Now the mat is only crappy because I did a bad thing when I first used it years ago. I got a piece of card stock stuck to it and left it. In which case, it literally became glued to the mat. But it has loads of stickiness still. It needs to be washed with a baby wipe, and I just haven't had time. I should do that now, so it can dry. But be sure to use the protective plastic cover that comes with the mat. It is essential so they don't get covered in lint, and we all know how linty our sewing rooms can be. 

And my fabric stuck like a charm!! Even on the crappy mat. 

Fabric well adhered to the mat

I was using Heat n Bond Lite. 

Heat n Bond Lite

I got into a rhythm, and I was cutting and pressing, and I couldn't keep up with the machines doing all the work. 

Then I got really cocky! 

When I first got this cutter, Susan gave me a picture of something she wanted to cut from fabric. Did I know how to do it successfully? She has another brand of digital cutter. Of course, I took on the challenge but was too afraid to try. Yesterday, I thought I could do anything, so I got out that photo, which wasn't hard to find since it and the piece of batik fabric I would use were in the supply box for the cutter. 

Will the cutter cut this tree?

Do I even dare to attempt to cut that tree? It was for some Christmas wall hanging that Susan wanted to make. 

There's no time like NOW to give it a whirl. I applied the Heat N Bond Lite to the back of the batik. I made sure all was well adhered, and I scanned the image and cut the star out of the cut file. 

Then I put my fabric on the mat, hit CUT, and prayed. 

The cutter is working

The blade went back and forth sideways, the mat went back and forth through the cutter, and I was filming it because my Dad would love to see this. He is all about CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) stuff, and that's essentially what the digital cutters are. Except my Dad wouldn't mess with fabric or quilting, he wants to use a plasma cutter and steel! 

The cut is finished

There were a couple of minor blips when the cutting was finished. It took 4 minutes, and during that entire time, I was expecting to hear some weird noise as the fabric got jammed in the cutter. How pessimistic of me -- but then I know my history with this thing. 

Two small blips

Then I unloaded the mat and started to peel the background away. 

Peeling the background away

OH MY GOSH --- it cut -- and it cut all those tiny leaves, and it cut CLEAN. I was really dancing now. This is amazing!!!!

And there it is -- the entire tree cut in 4 minutes on the digital cutter. YES!!!!!!  

The entire tree was cut in four minutes

BUT WAIT --- there was one slight issue, and I need to figure out how to resolve it. 

When I removed the tree from the mat, I realized that it had DOUBLE cut the tree. In fact, it cut on the inside and the outside of the drawn line. 

Hmmm --- a double cut?

While this is NOT what I wanted, this is amazing that it cut that fine and didn't make a mess. OH YES -- the possibilities are endless now.

That is very weird, and because some of the branches were very small, they became detached from the main tree. I'm not going to worry about it now, and I got to use my new weeding tools. 

A double cut line -- now to figure out why.

A couple of things to note -- The line is not consistently dark, so could that have caused it to cut inside and outside the line? The previous images I used had a very solid black line. 

Are the lines consistent enough?

And that tree is very delicate, mainly because the outer edges got cut off. If I were going to machine embroidery around that image, I might have to use the transfer tape, so it doesn't distort. Can I use that transfer tape on fabric? 

It's incredible how one thing leads to another, and now I have more questions. This is why it's always a good idea to do the homework suggested in a class. If something doesn't work or brings up more questions, you get a chance to get them answered right there. If you wait until afterward, you no longer have the option to ask the teacher!

In this instance, I'm the teacher and the student, and I have so much I want to try. 

Oh, shoot --- I took the tree and fused it to a piece of background fabric -- just because! I forgot to take a picture, so I had to run downstairs to get that. I am in LOVE with the results. This isn't perfect, but it's a huge step in the right direction. 

My tree on a fabric background

After I finished that experiment, I got to work and finished my project. It's simple but charming, and I love it. I'll share it with you when I can. And I have to say that I hope for more days like yesterday. I puttered away at my own speed and didn't get fazed -- nothing went wrong; I got to play and tinker, and I was a very happy camper!! Well, I mean crazy wrong! 

However, this morning, when I was doing the final touches, I was worried I would run out of thread. 

Do I have enough thread?

But I won! I still have LOADS of thread left!!!

Of course, I do!

The dogs were out of sorts yesterday. It was pouring rain at our usual walk time, and I wasn't keen on walking in the rain. So I waited for a bit, and Murphy was bored, so she went to bed. 

Murphy sleeping in the new dog bed

I've been encouraging Lexi to get in the bed, and imagine my surprise when I went into the front sometime in the afternoon, and there she was!! Yeah, Lexi!!!! I even caught her looking out the window at some other point in the day. 

Even Lexi sleeps in the bed

Well, on that note, it's another crazy day, but no time for learning today. 

Have a super day!!!


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