Instructables

Vinyl LP Butterfly

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Picture of Vinyl LP Butterfly
After a lot of web searching I could not find satisfactory instruction on cutting vinyl records for art. They are various suggestion scroll saw, band saw. dremel etc. but these l felt all left a rough or melted edge. I tried contacting Paul Villinski (http://www.paulvillinski.com) as he produces some great art but after several weeks he never replied. I finally found the solution and this instructable shows it.
 
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Step 1: Tools for Cutting

Picture of Tools for Cutting
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The tool I discovered that works is call a hot knife normally used for cutting foam and leather according to the packet. It was a happy accident that lead to this discovery, I have been wanting to try pyrography for a while so picked up this kit http://www.amazon.co.uk/Weller-Woodburning-and-Hobbyists-Kit/dp/B000X8I86C/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1347454707&sr=8-2  and included was a hot knife so I gave it a go. It is by no means a fast processes but it does cut the vinyl leaving a smooth edge. I found you could either cut  with several light passes or one slow deep pass. An alternative with works for big pieces was to cut part way through and then snap along the line. You do need to be aware that there is a chemical smell given off when cutting but this was no were near as bad as I expected and working in a well ventilated area seemed to dissipate it quickly. The kit also had other burning tips which could be used to add texture and detail to the design.
davemirl29 days ago

I've had good luck cutting records with a scroll saw. I would be worried about the PVC fumes you are exposing yourself to with the hot knife, so please be careful! Take a look at what I do at www.LPVinylArt.com.

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Kristos864 months ago

Hey there! I just tried doing this today following your guide. I've got to ask you though, how on earth did you get it to cut so clean around the edges? With my hot knife I ended up with plenty of melted "debris" sticking to the edges as I cut them. Yours seems perfect though, which I find incredible given melted vinyl gets all over the place. Please help!! And thanks for posting this guide!

pudtiny (author)  Kristos864 months ago
hi the picture makes the edges look smoother than they are. the debris seems to build up if you try and drag the knife to far when cutting, try sort of plunging the knife in then taking it out and plunging again. the cleanest edge is from the score and snap technique. you can always sand the edges when finished to smooth them. keeping your blade clean helps to as gunk tries to build up on it. best of luck

Oh and PS. I had contacted Paul Valinski as well about a year ago. His studio manager basically turned me away, telling me his process was a trade secret. Understandable I guess, but he must have a different process to be able to mass produce these. Doing each and every butterfly by hand would take an eternity.

karalalala1 year ago
Ahhhh neat! My sister has one of these to draw on leather, I should tell her she can cut up my Dad's Genesis records and decorate the living room with Phil Collins butterflies !
Don't melt Phil!
pudtiny (author)  karalalala1 year ago
Reading that has made my Monday start well :)
poignancy1 year ago
Hot knife is a great idea! In case you're still interested in Paul Villinski's technique, here's a youtube link that explains some of it (basically band saw, scroll saw, dremel sander):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieSn5Kpr6cs
pudtiny (author)  poignancy1 year ago
Thanks it does still interest me and I don't know how I missed finding that!

Great idea! i didn't know vinyl could be cut that easily; that said I will never be able to bring myself to it ( tracks are the only thing I like cut into vinyl).
pudtiny (author)  Retro Correct1 year ago
The records used in this instructable were not contributing to the world of music anything worth listening too
M3G1 year ago
Great idea!
pudtiny (author) 1 year ago
Thanks, I'm sure you can think of something great to make
Fun project! This is definitely a new reuse idea to me!