The Cricut Maker cutting machine can work with several different materials, some of which are thick materials, like leather and chipboard.
One of the benefits of the Cricut Maker over other Cricut systems is that it can handle these thicker materials with relative ease.
But can the Cricut Maker cut wood? Yes, the knife blade of the Maker can indeed be used to cut wood, but there’s a lot you’re going to have to consider when using such a material.
The following article will break down everything you might need to know about cutting wood- specifically balsa wood- with your Cricut Maker.
Type Of Wood Required
When selecting balsa wood for your Cricut Maker, there are a few things you should be bearing in mind.
The thickness of the wood can be 1/32 inches, 1/16 inches, or 3/32 inches. If you were using basswood, you could have a thickness of either 1/32 inches or 1/16 inches.
The balsa wood you purchase should have either zero or very little warp or bow, and there should be no discernible knots or blemishes.
If you’ve already acquired balsa wood for the project (or if you already had some balsa wood on hand) and there are knots, make sure that you position it so that the blade won’t pass through said knots.
You’ll also want to ensure that there is enough balsa wood of the same grain and the same color for you to finish your project.
You wouldn’t want some parts of the finished product to look uneven compared to the rest. This won’t apply if your project is small.
The maximum size of your cuts will be either 10.5 inches by 11.5 inches or 10.5 inches by 23.5 inches.
The minimum, on the other hand, will be 0.75 by 0.75 inches. These dimensions take into account both exterior and interior cuts.
The width of your cuts shouldn’t be any smaller than the average diameter of any given pencil. Also, every cut must be a minimum of a quarter-inch away from the wood’s edge.
Crossing the wood’s edge could end up damaging the blade.
Length Of Time Required For Wood Cuttings
It’s hard to provide an average for the amount of time you should be expecting to wait for wood cuttings to be completed because it depends on how big your design is, as well as how complex it is.
Generally, though, the knife blade will require multiple passes through the wood. It shouldn’t take any longer than a couple of hours, especially if your design is fairly simple. For basswood, it can take even longer.
Luckily, once the machine has started the process of cutting the wood, you won’t need to keep much of an eye on it.
The machine will just get on with it. Check-in now and then, though, to make sure everything’s going smoothly.
The reason it takes so long for the Cricut’s knife blade to cut through wood is that the machine needs to make shallow passes in the material, and the pressure of the cuts gradually increases.
This not only makes for cuts of more precision, but it also extends your knife blade’s lifespan.
For the reasons stated above, you can’t use Fast Mode when your Cricut is using the knife blade.
How To Cut Wood With The Cricut Maker
The first step of cutting wood with your Cricut Maker is doing all the necessary preparation. Make sure your star wheels (the rubber grips) are at the far side of the machine’s pole.
The purpose of the star wheels is to keep thinner materials in place, but any kind of wood will be too thick for them to serve the said purpose. It’s best if they’re just out of the way.
Next, place your wood on your strong grip mat. Unlike with other materials, you’re going to need to tape it to the mat on every side.
If it’s not properly taped to the mat, there’s a high risk of the wood slipping, which could be disastrous.
Painter’s tape is one of the best ways to tape down wood, because not only is it completely adhesive, it’s also very easy to remove from the material afterward.
Insert your knife blade, and then click Make It. You’ll then get to choose the material that you’re working with, at which point you’ll be given several instructions (as well as warnings) regarding that specific material.
If you’ve never used your Cricut Maker to cut this material before, then these messages are worth a read, just in case.
Next, on your Cricut machine, hit the Go button. Then… wait. As previously mentioned, the knife blade will take several passes across the wood.
This process will take an hour at the very least, but a few hours longer if your design is particularly intricate.
How To Calibrate The Knife Blade On Your Cricut
You’re going to have to calibrate your Cricut’s knife blade when you’re using it for the first time, and you should also be recalibrating the blade when you’re using it again after not having used it for a while, or if you’ve been using it but you’ve been using it for a long time.
To calibrate the knife blade of your Cricut Maker, head to Cricut Design Space. Navigate to your account menu, and then click Calibration, then Knife Blade.
Make sure that the knife blade is actually attached to your Cricut machine, and then place a piece of paper onto the mat. Click on the Continue option in Design Space, and hit Go on the Cricut machine.
The machine will now start to calibrate the knife blade by cutting seven different sets of lines. There will be some overlap between these lines.
Once the calibration is complete, take out the mat. Select the set of lines in the paper that appear to be one single line, meaning there are zero gaps between both lines.
Determine which set has the optimal overlap (which will be a number between one to seven, naturally). Design Space will ask you for this number, so type it in and you’ll be good to go.
Make sure you double-check which set of lines has the optimal overlap. If you input the wrong number, it could end up messing with the calibration of the knife blade.
Since you’re dealing with such thick material, it’s important to ensure that everything is working as it should, otherwise you’ll be risking damage to the knife blade, which would be very inconvenient, as well as costly.
The Cricut Maker can indeed cut wood, whether it’s basswood or balsa wood. As these materials are a lot thicker than other materials, the knife blade makes more passes through the wood.
This means that, depending on the intricacy of your design, the Cricut will take anywhere between one hour to more than three hours to complete the cutting process.
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