Cutting Vinyl Windows

So, I can’t claim to have had this idea myself, I am just writing about my attempt at it. Thanks to having watched a number of videos on model railroading applications for the Cricut, I am now getting things recommended in my YouTube suggestions thanks to their algorithm. The original video I watched is at the bottom of this post for anyone interested. Its one of a couple of channels on YouTube I have found that have Cricut videos with a model railroading aim on how to use the machine I have started to watch in my downtime to learn.

In any event, I have a number of buildings that have large multi-panel industrial windows. I have not been able to find correct fits from commercial products for many of them, and some of these large windows are a stretch on the capabilities of 3D printing and resin casting. Finding the video suggesting that a Cricut can be used to cut vinyl masks. This may solve some of my problems for some of the remaining buildings on the layout.

So, how does this work? Much like cutting walls, once you have the windows drawn, you get them to scale in the Circut Design Space software and send it to print. My advise is when you draw the windows, make the buffer around the edge bigger than you need, so it gives a bit of wiggle room for placement on the wall and to ensure there are not visible gaps around the window. After cutting, you carefully peel away the vinyl you don’t want, around the edges and the areas that should be glass. Using what is called “Transfer Tape”, a material designed to stick to the vinyl to pull it from the backing and hold it to shape to allow you to transfer it to its final location, you can pull it and then burnish it onto the clear styrene. Once that is done, you cut out the windows and apply them from the rear of the wall.

Loading up the Cricut with some dark green vinyl, cutting out windows, transferring them to 0.010″ clear Styrene, then cutting out and installing into my test walls.

My initial reaction to seeing them is they really look good and give the feel and appearance of multi-panel industrial windows. There are some real opportunities for creating complex window shapes using this technique. I don’t think it will necessarily replace 3D printing & casting or commercially available windows for me, but it is definitely another tool in the arsenal of model making for creating different looks.

Test Windows installed in the 18 Mowat Avenue building’s Cricut wall cores.

As promised, the original video that inspired me is below.

4 thoughts on “Cutting Vinyl Windows

  1. I wonder if you could make a reverse mask (the vinyl hides the clear window styrene) and you could “peel away the frame areas” and then spray black paint over those exposed areas. Then, remove the window masks and you will have window frames painted onto the styrene (instead of the vinyl masks, which could eventually pull away over time.

    • While that could work with the “removable” version of vinyl that is out there, I’m not sure it would be the best with the styrene sheet. My experience has generally been that sheet styrene doesn’t like being painted no matter what you do to it. The Vinyl used is in theory permanent, and in such small applications, I doubt it is very likely to experience much movement from heat cycles in the layout room. Obviously time will tell for certain. Worst case, down the road they get replaced with something else, these windows that will be rear attached to the wall will be easily removable down the road.

      Stephen

    • Very nice, yes, this is the permanent vinyl. I see no reason to mess around with “removable” vinyl for an application like this. Mine are 2″ wide, so 0.022″ in HO Scale, pretty much the same as you achieved.

      Stephen

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