How to cut chip board and paper with a Donektool drag knife on XL?

I ordered a Shapeoko XL and I plan to cut chip board and art papers with my Xl. I would appreciate
any information I receive concerning the use of CarbideCreate to set-up for cutting chip board
and paper. I am very interested in the Donektool drag knife and whether it can be used with the Xl.

The big issues for using a drag knife:

  • securing the material — using a vacuum table is one good option
  • flat cutting surface which won’t dull the knife blade — I’d be glad to know of options for this (EDIT: which will work w/ a vacuum table)
  • CAM processing which will put in appropriate overcuts at acute changes of direction — Donek has a spreadsheet which works for this, and some CAM tools have more direct support.

There’s a bit on the wiki on this sort of thing which covers the free / opensource options: (search for drag knife on the Commercial page for those).

Shouldn’t be any issue w/ using the Donek on any Shapeoko — we even have a page on making one’s own:

The “carrier” for the silhouette cutters would probably work nicely. They’re a plastic sorta-self-healing sitcky carrier. Beyond that, a big self healing mat would probably work ok.


Will that carrier allow a vacuum table to work?

Stuff sticks to it, and it’s a big piece of sticky plastic…so…yeah? Vacuum table would hold it down just fine…not sure why you would use the two together though. Would be trivial to use a top clamp (toe clamps, rocker clamps) to hold down the carrier sheet, the sticky holds paper you’re cutting. The plastic protects the bed from the cutter (though if you have the cutter set right, it barely touches the backer) There are are two versions, one with “light stick” and one with “heavy stick.” A vacuum table would hold down a self healing matt, but would then need to figure out how to hold stuff down to that…usually done with tape for something like this.

I just ordered My Donek Knife.

I’ve had the 2’X8’ roll of magnetic sheet for awhile
I plan to cut out magnetic tracing templates for non CNC Plasma/torch users to trace, and cut by hand.
I think they’ll like it. I used to be one of those guys :slight_smile:
I’ll keep you updated. New venture for me.