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Engraving Metal Sheets with my Zoom Precision Engraving Tool and Silhouette Cameo 4!

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Okay.... I might sound like a crafting crazy lady by admitting this, but using the new Zoom Precision Aluminum Sheets with my Zoom Precision Tool actually had me squealing with delight! Especially when I combined these tools with my Silhouette Cameo. From graduation gifts to holiday decor to luggage tags, the list goes on and on for quality creations that you can make thanks to the variety of colors and the quality of metal!

Really though. I was so excited about the way they turned out! Clean lines, deep engravings, AND you can fill your images in with different design textures, which ends up giving REALLY cool 3D looking effects, like these ones:

While I did this on my Silhouette Cameo 4, this can be done on earlier Cameo models or the Curio, you just need this Zoom Precision Engraving tool instead!

Follow these step by step instructions and you’ll quickly understand my obsession with using my Zoom Precision Tool on the Zoom Precision Aluminum Sheets.

  1. Upload your image to the Silhouette Studio

    1. You can do this by clicking “File” → “Open” → Select your PNG image

  2. Resize your image to ensure that it’s the appropriate size for whichever metal sheet you’ll be etching using the side rulers

  3. Open the “Trace” Panel on the right-hand side of your studio

  4. Click “Select Trace Area”

  5. Highlight your entire image by simply clicking and dragging your cursor over the image

    1. This should highlight your engravable image in yellow

    2. If you don’t see the yellow, or it hasn’t highlighted everything you want to engrave, go ahead and increase your threshold so that everything you want to engrave is now yellow. You can do this by increasing the number under "Threshold" in the "Trace Panel".

  6. Once everything you want to engrave is highlighted yellow and appropriately sized for the card you're using, select “Trace and Detach”

  7. Click and drag the excess cut material off your mat or delete it (This is the stuff you don’t want to engrave)

  8. Next, open the “Line Effects” panel on the right-hand side of the studio

  9. Again, highlight your entire image and select a fill effect from the listed options. (TIP - for the 3D looking effect, I selected “Spiral” or “Concentric”

  10. Change the spacing to 0.004 so that it engraves every possible space, giving that clean “filled in” look

  11. Before getting too far, you'll want to load your Zoom Precision Engraving Tool into carriage 1 on your Cameo machine. I prefer to use the precision tip on these sheets! It gives such a clean cut! But you can select whichever tip (blunt, regular, or precision) is right for your project.

    1. Pro Tip: Make sure you utilize double-sided tape to secure your material and ensure that it won’t move around. For a detailed walk-through explaining how to arrange and secure your materials to your mat, click here.

  12. At this point, you’re ready to click “Send”. Make sure your machine settings are as follows:

Material: Cardstock, Plain

Action: Sketch

Tool: Pen

Force: 20-25

Passes: 2-3

13. Last of all, click “Send” and let your Zoom Precision Tool do the rest of the work.

Pro Tip: Periodically check on your engraving as it’s going. It does take a minute because of how many fine lines there are, but the result is so worth it! When you do check in on it, try blowing some of the excess shavings away from your mat so that they don’t end up stuck all over your mat later. Be sure to give one last good blow or dust off before removing your plate at the end.

That’s it! It really is that simple. Now the hardest part is just picking from the many color options because they’re ALL. SO. GOOD! And there are SO many possibilities for what you can create with them.

My personal favorite part though? How perfectly my precision tip engraves these sheets giving such a clean, easy to see engraving. And of course, my tip still looked flawless at the end. These sheets were made for your precision tool!! Give it a try and be sure to tag @ZoomPrecision in your creations! I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!

Pro Tip: One of my favorite things to make with the mini aluminum sheets has been key chains and luggage tags! (See the "Clegg" picture below). I made this particular key chain for the cutest 7 year old who just finished his tee ball season. And yes, I got major "cool aunt" points! He LOVED it! If you want to turn any of your creations into a luggage tag or keychain, you'll want something that can easily create a hole in the aluminum. I used this specific tool and was impressed with how easy it was to use! Plus it has two different sides which allows you to customize the size of hole you want to create.

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1 Comment

Jun 06, 2023

Tool keeps on getting pushed out of the head on the machine.

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