Monday, 16 February 2015

Embossing with the Silver Bullet and SCAL 4.016

The Silver Bullet is well placed for embossing all sorts of materials because of the pressure it can use.  Some things emboss much better than others. Metal foils emboss easily, thick card is harder. The pressure used will be trial and error but I would decrease the speed to around 200 at first to avoid tearing. You can always increase it later.

To set the machine up for embossing you need to have some form of foam pad (fun foam will do) under the material to be embossed - unless embossing on leather, when you won't be likely to need it.

Have your foam slightly smaller than your embossing material and tape it to your carrier mat. Tape the material over that, hinging it on the mat itself, so that you can remove the foam without moving the embossed design. This won't matter if you are not cutting the outer edge but if you are, DON'T move the design off the mat, or remove the mat, until the cut is done! The cut is done after the embossing is finished.

As normal, use your spacer to set up the embossing tool. Place your rollers away from the material and foam, you don't want those imprinted! Ask yourself which side of the material you want to see in the finished product and make sure to put it on the foam with the correct side down.

To practise, start with a lower pressure and then either repeat or raise the pressure to get a clearer emboss. Some card will need the highest pressure, some very little. Experience is the key. I recommend doing 2 inch square samples and keeping them in a note book, along with the settings used -  the speed, force and repetitions.
A typical sample would be a letter inside a square with a border. Do the same design for all samples for a good comparison.

The smaller the head of the embossing tool, the more pressure is exerted on any one point, so if the material is more delicate you may want to use a larger one.

To cut metal foils (anything heavier than BBQ foil)  with a blade is likely to wreck them very rapidly. You can use a diamond tip engraving tool to cut them or leave a space around to cut by hand.

Video on Software Settings

I always use my machine to set the speed and pressure, it avoids more errors as it is easily seen.

In the software though, you must set embossing lines to pen, both in the Style window and in the 'Holder' section of the cutting page. If you don't, nothing will happen when you start the cut and you will be wondering why!

Don't forget to make the outer line a cut line (Style menu)  if you want to, the software will then prompt you to change to a blade after the embossing is done. This will also allow you to remove the padding.

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