Fairlight Works

Official blog of the High Weald Light Railway (1977) Co. Ltd.

I'll cut ya!

baguley-drewry hacks kits model-railways narrow-gauge

Not a personal threat, don’t worry.

The main thing I learned during production of the first batch of Baguley-Drewry kits was that while getting the parts made by the 3D printer and etcher was easy and reasonably quick, actually making all the bits of packaging to present them nicely was massively tedious. The nights before ExpoNG saw a few unscheduled visits to 3am armed with a steel rule and a scalpel and I knew I didn’t want to go through all that again with the next lot.

Fortunately technology has come to the rescue with the purchase of a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, which basically looks like a printer but has a cutting blade where the print head goes. Just like a printer you send it files and it cuts them onto paper, card, vinyl, even thin plastic or material. Its primarily designed for scrapbooking and other paper crafts, and will probably get some use as such from the rest of the family, but for my purposes its turned out to be pretty much perfect.

I'll cut ya

So now the machine does the work, sounding like a combination of a staple gun, scanner and the Eastenders theme tune, and I can sit back and get on with other stuff. I still have to actual put the bits in boxes, but you can’t have everything, can you?

As well it as being the packaging robot, I’ve also realised that this can be applied to many other areas of modelling. Cutting mock-up parts for buildings, or even fine detail for final use such as window frames or decorative canopy parts that would take ages if cut by hand and never come out quite the same twice. You could see it as a bit of a cheat, but I say if you have the technology, use it! I haven’t quite figured out reliable cutting of plastic sheet yet, but I’ll get there.


Here’s the packing line for the second batch of kits, the Cameo has taken packing time from a couple of long evenings down to a couple of hours. Actually almost all of these have homes to go to already (although some will be FR shop stock) so I soon need to start the cycle all over again…