What thicknesses of balsa wood can I cut with Knife Blade?
What do I look for when purchasing balsa wood materials?
- No or minimal bow or warp
- Minimal blemishes, including knots
- If the wood has a knot, cuts should be positioned in a way that blade will not go over the knot.
- If using a board, use only single pieces. Do not use composite pieces or pieces that have been glued together.
- If using composite pieces, you may encounter inconsistent cutting over the seam, which may cause damage to the blade. This is because the glue is often harder than the wood itself.
- Pay attention to the color and grain of the wood; make sure you can buy enough of similar appearance to complete your project.
How large can my cuts be?
- Maximum size: 10.5” x 11.5” or 10.5” x 23.5”
- Minimum size: 0.75” x 0.75” (includes interior and exterior cuts)
- Width of cuts should not be smaller than the diameter of a pencil
- Make sure all cuts are at least ¼” away from the edge of the wood (if blades cross the edge of the wood, there is a high probability the blade will be damaged)
Tip: Cutting images or patterns smaller than our recommended settings could result in inconsistent cuts or blade damage. Smaller, or more intricate, cuts may work with some images and not with others. If you decide to assume the risk, we recommend mirroring your image and keeping supervising your material throughout the cut. If small pieces are dislodged during the cut, pause the machine and remove them without ejecting your mat before continuing to cut.
Which mat should I use?
- StrongGrip Mat
How do I prepare the materials?
- Handle the wood cautiously as it can be very fragile.
- Protect your work surface. Cut material to the size needed for the project using a craft knife and a safety ruler.
- Make multiple passes with the craft knife as needed.
- Remove any stickers or packaging from the wood.
- Wipe material down with a cloth or tack cloth or spray with compressed air to remove dust and stray particles.
- Mirror images in Design Space®.
- If the wood has a bow or warp, place it so that the curves go towards the mat (the concave side facing down).
- Use a brayer to create a firm bond between material and your machine mat's adhesive surface. Place project materials on the mat, then lightly roll the brayer over the entire surface.
- Tape all four edges of the material to the mat within 1” of the corner (masking tape or blue painter’s tape is recommended).
- Make sure all cuts are at least ¼” away from the edge of the wood.
- If Knife Blade crosses the edge of the wood, there is a high probability it will break.
- On Cricut Maker™ machine, move white star wheels all the way to the right (Learn More).
- If left in place, star wheels may leave an imprint on project material.
- Make sure no part of your material will go under the rubber rollers (this could cause the machine to jam or error.)
- Whenever possible, test a cut prior to cutting your main project.
- If edges come out rugged, replace blade prior to the final cut.
How long will my cuts take?
Thicker materials require multiple cut passes with gradually increasing pressure. This means that Knife Blade cuts will take significantly more time than cutting thinner materials with other blades. Design Space will tell you approximately how long a Knife Blade cut will take.
- Once you select a cut setting and load your mat for a Knife Blade project, an alert will inform you to expect a longer-than-usual cut time.
- When the first cut pass has been completed, Design Space calculates the expected cut-time remaining based on how long the first pass took and how many passes are pre-programmed for that material. It also displays which pass the machine is currently executing and the expected number of total passes.
Tip: The duration of the cut will vary depending on the material, size, and intricacy of the image(s) being cut.
What should I do while my machine is cutting?
- Check on the machine cutting frequently to review cuts.
- You may notice small pieces finish cutting and are no longer held down by the mat prior to all passes being completed. Pause the machine and remove pieces as needed.
- Some images may appear to be complete prior to the completion of all passes. For best results, allow the machine to complete all passes.
Once my cut is complete, what do I do next?
- Check your cut prior to removing the mat from the machine, if the cut is still connected to the material, press the Cricut “C” to add an additional cutting pass.
- Carefully remove the tape.
- Carefully bend the edge of the mat back opposite of the grain.
- Slowly run your fingers between the wood and the mat an inch at a time until the entire piece of wood has been removed from the mat.
- Expect to see Knife Blade impressions or cuts on the mat.
- For best results, if you're cutting several of the same images, place the image on different parts of your cutting mat.
- Examine cuts to confirm all pieces have been completely cut.
- If there are pieces that should have cut but didn’t, flip the piece over and use a craft knife to gently follow the cuts until the piece is free.
- If a piece is not completely cut, do not try to pop it out. Pushing on the piece could cause it to break.
- If your material moves as it is being cut, your mat may not be sticky enough.
- If your material is not completely cut, your blade may need to be replaced.
- Occasionally, the machine may stop during the cut, but additional passes are still required. If this happens, follow the on-screen prompts in Design Space®.
- If the machine continues to stop in the same area, repeat the process. This may take several tries.
- If the machine cannot move past this point, there may be imperfections in the material. Remove material from your machine, discard, and begin the cut again with a new piece of material.