25 February, 2014

Silhouette Hack 03: Constellation mat mod

This is a mod to let you position things on your mat with much greater accuracy, especially if you're using a non-Silhouette mat. How it works is you create a file with some markings, and make a corresponding set of markings on the mat. This way, you can use the markings as reference points.

The first thing to do is to load the mat, then take a permanent marker and mark the edges of the mat on both sides:
Don't worry about using a permanent marker, it erases easily with alcohol, or a pencil eraser. Don't use acetone, though. I like the Pilot Twin Marker for its extra fine point. In fact, even with the Silhouette mat, I'd take a while to find the correct loading position and do this step, just because it's easier to see than the Silhouette's markings. This lets you load the mat consistently each time.

Next, create a file with several reference points. I thought they looked like stars, that's why I called this mod the "constellation".

Now to transfer these markings onto the mat. I've thought of 2 ways: 1 less permanent and 1 more permanent.

At first, I wasn't sure if this would work, so I didn't want to make it permanent. How to do this: choose a thin type of paper for the markings.
  1. Ctrl + A to select all the markings, then choose do not cut.
  2. Select the first marking and choose cut.
  3. Load the paper on the mat in the general vicinity of that marking and cut it.
  4. Leave the marking on the mat.
  5. Repeat for all markings.
If you've done this correctly, you should end up with all the markings as paper markings on your mat:
Problems with this method: the paper markings may interfere with cuts, especially sensitive materials. The paper markings can move. The paper markings will eventually get cut up and fall apart. If you like this mod, you can make the markings permanent.

To make this permanent, this time cut all the markings without loading any paper on your mat, using a light force. This cuts the markings directly onto your mat. Then, take your permanent marker (again, Pilot Twin Marker) and trace the cuttings so that instead of paper marks, you have permanent ink. I've already done this with the circle in the picture above (below the "u" in "Cricut").

Now you're done! Important notes:
  • Remember to set all the markings in the Silhouette file to no cut after transferring them to your mat.
  • Make backups of your constellation file.
  • To use this mod, open your constellation file and transfer your designs to it, using the markings as reference. DO NOT SAVE. Save as a new file if necessary.

No more being limited to the top-left corner of the mat!

No comments:

Post a Comment