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.
Step 1: Tools for Cutting
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.
Step 2: Marking and Cutting
I then sourced a butterfly picture to scale and make a template out off. I used coral draw for this as that is what I had installed. You only need the body and one wing. It can then be printed and draw around on to your record with pencil, I then flipped it to draw the other wing. (I have no idea if butterflies are truly symmetrical but mine is). The hot knife takes around five minutes to get hot enough to cut, then work in sections to cut out your design.
Different parts of the knife blade seem to get hotter than others, as this hot knife has a standard craft knife size chuck some experimentation with other blades is need, I think the shorter the better may be the way forward.
Step 3: Bending and Shaping
Once you have your cut out its time to give it some shape. To bend and shape vinyl you need to warm it shape it and then hold it while it cools, there seemed to be a reasonable amount of spring in it so it needs holding or weighting. I used a hot air gun and slowly moved along the line of the body until it was soft enough to bend then held it in place until cool. Try not to get to close or apply too much heat or the vinyl will start to ripple and blister.
Step 4: Antenna
To finish off my butterfly I added antenna made of wire with a bead on the end. I found it tricky to get good looking antenna just cutting the vinyl. I cut about 1.25" of wire thin enough to go though the beads and bent a hook in the end. The wire hook was then dipped into super glue and the bead slid into place. Then using a pin vice with a small drill bit I drilled two holes into the side of the butterfly. I then dipped the non beaded end of the antenna into the glue and stuck them into the holes.