Craft Robo is an electronic paper cutting device. Physically Craft Robo is very similar to an inkjet printer and is controlled through your home computer. The mechanical arm inside the device has a blade instead of an ink cartridge that runs across the paper, laying down the desired shape line by line. Craft Robo is intended to cut cleanly through paper. Some artists use the machine to engrave designs into thin sheets of metal or plastic. This off-label use is a way to create etched lines with mechanical precision.
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Work with soft metals such as copper or aluminium when engraving with Craft Robo. This will give you a deep etch and keep the blade from immediately dulling. If you are using your etching for printmaking, apply a layer of hard-ground coating to the top of a copper plate before you run it through the machine. This will cause the etch to occur on the coating rather than directly within the plate. You can then immerse the plate in a bath of ferric chloride, and the acid will eat through the shallow cuts in the hard-ground surface to create bold, deep etching lines in the copper plate.
Although it is possible to use Craft Robo for engraving with the normal blade, for optimal results use a special engraving tool. This third-party blade has a diamond tip, so it will not quickly wear out when cutting into metal.
Some users have modified their machine to fit a slightly thicker piece of metal or plastic. In doing so, you risk permanently damaging the machine. If you are comfortable taking this risk, you can trim down the cap.
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