Mat Boards Are Spendy, So DIY CNC Tool To The Rescue | Hackaday

Mats are flat pieces of paper-based material that fill the space between a frame and the art within. They perform a number of aesthetic and practical functions, and they can also be expensive to purchase. Making them by hand is an option, but it’s an exacting process. [wooddragon48] felt that a CNC solution would serve this need nicely, and began designing a DIY CNC tool to do exactly that.

One of the tricky parts about cutting mat boards is that cuts are at an angle, and there is really no tolerance for overcuts or any kind of visual blemish. CNC control would seem to offer a great solution to both the need for precisely straight cuts, as well as fine control over where cuts begin and end in a way that opens the door to complex designs that would be impractical to do by hand. Pom Plastic Cnc Router

Mat Boards Are Spendy, So DIY CNC Tool To The Rescue | Hackaday

[wooddragon48]’s design has an angled cutter designed to plunge perfectly on demand, surrounded by a ring — similar to that on a router — which ensures the cutting tool is always consistently positioned with the material. It’s still in the design phase, but this is a type of tool that doesn’t yet exist so far as we can tell. The ability to CNC cut mat board, especially in complex designs, would be a huge timesaver.

Art and DIY CNC have a long history of happy intersection, as we have seen with a CNC router repurposed for string art, a CNC painting robot, and even an interactive abstract sculpture generator.

hmm well they do already have hand tools that are for holding those angles specifically.. so this is kinda overkill, but interesting.

They have hand tools that will cut holes yet people buy drills.

– do they have a CNC drill ? – how much percent of the “people” need mat boards ?

Given the high price and easy availabilit of pre-cut standard-sized mats, I’d say a pretty big percentage of people need mat boards. An cheap and easy way to make custom mats will be a fantastic thing for a lot of people.

Also I don’t see your point about wanting a power drill meaning you should get a CNC drill, but I (and I imagine a lot of peple here) would love to have access to a CNC drill.

Also, CNC can allow increased creativity. See fancy matted frames by Nene Thomas

“It’s still in the design phase”….. So it hasn’t been built yet or or prototyped ? So this is vapor-ware. Lot’s of things have been designed but never built. Will wait for the report on a working unit.

So, to be clear, this widget doesn’t actually make the mat board — it is intended to assist in making decorative cuts in commercially-made mat board, right?

Sounds like an application for a Cricut.

Probably a bit thick for a CriCut, but you’ve missed the point – the blade needs to be on a 45 degree to make the cut edges bevelled.

Poor write-up from HaD (as usual) by saying “angled cut” rather than “bevelled edge”. I don’t think they knew what this tool is supposed to do either, but it’s a slow day so just slap an article together.

My daughter routinely cuts cork and dense foam, a bit thicker than mat board (3 mm or so) on her Cricut.

But yeah, lack of ability to make a beveled edge seems like a grave limitation of a Cricut drag-knife type cutter for the mat board application.

As far as I know, cricut’s (and the vast majority of pen plotters) can’t do angled and beveled cuts

Sounds like you’re not really familiar with what a mat cutter does, or the limitations of a Cricut.

Cnc mat cutters aren’t anything new, any moderately sized frame shop has one because doing it by hand is so time consuming. But of course they’re much too expensive for a hobbyist, having something like this for home use could be pretty great.

Cnc cutters for mats are totally a thing, any decent sized frame shop has one because doing it by hand is so time consuming. Of course they’re way to expensive for hobbyists so something like this could be very useful.

If I needed to cut a few hundred mat boards exactly the same, Id CNC. Thats the advantage to a program, repeatability. Otherwise, its like $30 for a new dexter cutter if I lost mine. I can cut a custom mat faster than I can gcode.

Friends of mine used to run an art gallery and framing shop. About 25 years ago, they purchased an automated mat cutter that consisted of a pen-plotter like device (about 4 foot wide by 4 foot high) with an Xacto blade angle-mounted where the pen would be. The set-up included a PC (loaded with one of the DOS versions of Windows… maybe Win95?) that provided the UI and ran the cutter.

A CNC router bit that cuts mat paper is a step in the right direction. The technology in use does need updating.

I build something similar, but much bigger (1300x1500mm). Still no time to document the project. Works quite well.

Snap a few pics, throw them on reddit or an image hosting site.

Cutting mat board correctly takes some practice and skill. A good cutter needs to rotate or plunge the blade into the work at the correct angle. Once cut its difficult to trim.

Using a rotating bit on paper board might be an issue. Plus the corners won’t be square they will be round.

I would try using a Router CNC first to see how well the circular cutting bit worked. You might need a special base to hold the mat flat like when using this proposed device.

scorchworks has a neat g-code producer called f-engrave, that uses a v tipped mill (aka mill-drill) to cut square corners by use of simultaneous three axis moves up the line formed by the two intersecting planes. It’s as square as the V-bit tip is sharp. I’m having troubles getting the current release to work because of some problems with numpy, but the site has older versions that work. There are a number of pictures of spectacular engraving/inlay work built using this tool. Amazing piece of software, worth a look.

The school I went to had a robotic mat cutter. Its workings were not very transparent, but I assume it was basically a 2 axis cnc machine with a fancy tool head that would hold the angle and could pivot to change the direction of the cut. I believe it had a pneumatic actuator for raising and lowering the blade.

The crazy thing was that even though the physical machine belonged to the school, the machine charged 50 cents for every corner it cut. So to cut a simple square was 2 dollars. It would do circles as well, those cost the same despite being charged by ‘corners’. If you were in good graces with your professor you could get them to cut your mats for you.

I enjoyed the craftsmanship, the simple math, and the act of doing it by hand so I never took them up on the offer. Many of my less mathematically included students would practically beg professors to cut the mats for them.

To this day it boggles the mind. You bought a machine and STILL are paying per cut.

You can rent office copiers and pay by the page. Normally they come with a service contract, so they will service for free (minus consumables like toner, paper, and in the case of a cutter, blades).

This type of machine definitely exists, but is on the pricey end for a hobbyist. Most professional frame shop and some art stores have a machine on site. The comment about paying per corner was correct until about 10-15 years ago because that concept didn’t work long term. If anyone wants to google it, the main producers of automated mat cutters are Valiani, Gunnar, and Wizard CMC. They are not cheap, but made very robust for production environments and not hobbyists. If you want a truly expensive one look up Zund. They are made in Switzerland and are very automated. A hobbyist tool would be a great addition though.

Always nice to see someone at least trying something new! Whether we succeed or fail, you will better understand the next adventure!

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Mat Boards Are Spendy, So DIY CNC Tool To The Rescue | Hackaday

Cnc Router Cpvc Plastic Plate By using our website and services, you expressly agree to the placement of our performance, functionality and advertising cookies. Learn more