Sign making film

Does anyone have any recommendations on masking film that will hold up to being milled with the x-carve? I want to try making some multi colored plaques/signs while engraving/milling an still be able to keep a crisp line.

I’m not aware of any films that would hold up to the router bit, but I could be wrong. Maybe someone else will know for sure. I think most that cut vinyl or similar materials, tend to use a drag knife. I think this requires special software as well.

There are lots of them to choose from, like the Donke, or Rockcliff. Others have built their own, which I would love to do.

You may want to just try some painter’s tape and see how it goes… I think that is where I might start:

Place painter’s tape over the surface of the plaque
Paint in the carved parts
Peel off the tape (with fingers crossed)

LIke this?

I saw this and it looks pretty good but dang it’s expensive for something that will get one use and then thrown away.

FYI: Have you seen the multi color “Great Wave” project?
That may give you some ideas to try out too.

I wonder if something like this: would work.

I have the Rockcliff drag knife and really like what it can do. I bought the vinyl sign material from a local sign shop and the Aspire software has a special tool for creating drag knife toolpaths.
The trick I found with this was to set the drag knife depth properly. It isn’t the depth of the spindle that sets the depth of the cut but the actual drag knife itself is adjusted to set how much of the blade sticks out.
Here are a few I made.

I use this paint mask. It works!

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I think what @PaulKinlaw is wanting to do is still carve in wood, but have something that masks the surface so that when he goes to paint what was carved, it won’t get on the top surface…

That being said, the tip about drag knife stick out will definitely be useful when I start my drag knife adventure.

[quote=“sketch42, post:10, topic:10109”]I think what @PaulKinlaw is wanting to do is still carve in wood, but have something that masks the surface so that when he goes to paint what was carved, it won’t get on the top surface…

That’s exactly what vinyl paint mask is made to do . Professional sign makers use it all the time.

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Yep, I know I’ll be getting some of the stuff myself for a few projects I have in mind.

This is exactly what I’m looking for. using painters tape or frog tape does not work at all.

Does it leave any residue behind once you pull it off? And dang this stuff is expensive. Do you think it will stand up to being milled on the x-carve?

Tried painters tape and it gummed up the bit so bad that it created some problems with the cutout.


Yuck, sorry that happened @ScottWillis.

Hopefully, the stuff that @BillArnold recommend will do the trick. (I’m sure it will)

Yes, it will leave some adhesive residue, but I removed it with denatured alcohol. I’m still feeling my way through the process. For instance, I applied a couple of coats of sealer and let them cure before applying the vinyl mask. I used a roller to make sure the mask was adhered good.

I made my cuts; one pass with a pointed round over bit for the frame; the second pass with a 90° V-bit for the field of the plaque. When finished, I ran the roller over the vinyl again before applying a coat of sealer. When that was cured, I sprayed several light coats of dark finish to get good coverage without pooling. When the top coat was dry, I began peeling off the vinyl, which took a while because some of my graphic elements were quite small. After getting all of the vinyl and adhesive removed, I lightly sanded the surface to enhance some of the smaller elements, then coated the entire surface with clear sealer.

It can get a bit tedious, but the result is worth it.

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Bill, that sounds like a project I’d love to try. Do you have any photos of the finished pieces?

Spray or brush sealer on the wood first and let it cure. Apply mask.

When the carve is finished, spray color on the item and let it cure.

Peel off the mask and clean up any fuzzies.

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