Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 30

there is a heat-cutting attachment available
that can help remedy the situation.
" The SF cutter foot can be installed on
the handheld unit and the table-style
unit. This tool is used for simulating a
worktable style cut while on-site. "
While handheld units offer portability,
there are some advantages to higher
production table units, Cheatham says,
because the units have a potentiometer
dial for setting different temperatures for
different synthetic product thicknesses
and blade sizes. " The handheld units are
intended as an intermittent style of use
due to there not being any possible venting
or having a potentiometer set up but
are still a very popular choice. "
For more frequent use or larger jobs
he recommends the table-style units because
they can be used for longer periods
of time without overheating.
Heat-cutting basics
When cutting with heat, the key is understanding
what you are cutting, according
to Cheatham. " Is your material
100 percent synthetic? Blends will not
cut thoroughly, and natural fibers will
burn, " he says. " You need to check the
MSDS [material safety data sheet] to
make sure that what you are about to cut
is safe, and take proper precautions, like
making sure you have the proper ventilation
and always wear a proper mask.
" Then there is the flashpoint, " he
TOP: Fabricators like tools with versatility.
At Allerton Harbor Canvas, they use this
hydraulic grommet/punch setter.
BOTTOM: If you can't fi nd a tool, make your
own! At Allerton, they fashioned a binder
caddy that eliminates the need to unwind
a spool of binding, which will otherwise
twist. Photos: Allerton Harbor Canvas
adds. How does this product react
when heat is applied? Does it produce
fire or flame? Does it just melt and make
a mess, and its finish is unacceptable?
After this has been established, a fabricator
needs to decide which style of cut
would suit the project best. A tabletop
surface cut, an air rip style cut or the
downward guillotine cut? " Then the
most important thing is the selection of
the proper blade style for your cuts. "
Cheatham says the thickness of the
material being cut also comes into play
because the product naturally pulls
30 Marine Fabricator | July/August 2022
energy and heat from the blade tips at
the cutting surface. " If this happens,
the potentiometer-style table models
are the better option because the heat
can be increased to remedy this loss
of temperature through the different
potentiometer settings. "
The type of surface a fabricator cuts
on also makes a difference. Cheatham
says that when doing surface cuts, it's
important to cut on a nonconductive
surface. " We recommend using a beveled
sheet of glass. Glass is nonconductive
and can be easily cleaned with a razor,
window cleaner and a rag. "
Heat prevents fraying
Many fabricators find fraying seams can
be an issue during and after cutting.
Heat-cutting tools solve that problem
by sealing the edges while they cut.
" When you cut with a knife blade
or razor, " says Cheatham, " you need
to hurry to pin the seam edges due to
it unraveling and then rush to get the
product to a sewing machine. But a
sealed heat-cut seam can be laid aside
and sent to the machine at your leisure,
requiring no pinning. As a bonus, you
can seal two pieces of synthetic fabric
with a sealing blade, although it's not
a permanent seal. It will hold together
soundly enough to get to the sewing machine
and can be separated by pulling
the seam apart if need be. The boat-top
industry loves this feature, as do many
other industries due to the seal-as-youcut
capability, eliminating the fraying
problems of standard cold blade cuts. "
Hot knives are a hot item
Someone who makes frequent use of
heat-cutting tools is Carl Van Damme
of Marine Tops Unlimited in Omro,
Wis. " We pretty much cut everything
with a heat knife because we do acrylic
fabrics, and that way they don't fray. We
have probably 10 heat knives around the
shop, and we use them all the time. "

Marine Fabricator July/August 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Marine Fabricator July/August 2022

Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover1
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover2
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 1
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 2
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - 3
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Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover3
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Cover4
Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 1
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Marine Fabricator July/August 2022 - Expo Brochure 6
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