Cutting Mats

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SteveHGraham
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Cutting Mats

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:44 pm

I keep seeing people with weird green mats on their workbenches. The mats have 1" grids on them. I feel inadequate because I don't have one. Apparently, everyone who does anything with tools is supposed to have one.

I looked these things up, and they are called "cutting mats." Wonder if anyone here has experience with them and could explain why they're so popular. I set up an indoor bench, and I put a gunsmithing mat on it, but maybe I chose the wrong thing.

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John Hasler
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by John Hasler » Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:53 pm

What's a gunsmithing mat?

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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:26 pm

I don't know if that's the right name for it. It's a long neoprene mat, like a mouse pad the size of a bath towel.
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BadDog
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by BadDog » Thu Apr 11, 2019 1:58 pm

They are popular for the very reason they are named as they are. You can use a razor or xacto style knife to cut through materials (usually paper and card stock, but other things too) without damaging the surface or the blade. They are said to be "self healing", meaning that they will withstand a LOT of (reasonable) cut through damage without becoming damaged sufficiently to interfere with normal use. Of course, that assumes you don't go at it like an 800 lb gorilla or strung out tweaker.

I've often thought it would be nice to have one for cutting gaskets, and making patterns. But the cost vs a piece of scrap cardboard box prevented me from pulling the trigger.
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jcfx
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by jcfx » Thu Apr 11, 2019 2:08 pm

I didn't know they were popular for machinists, I've seen them in videos and such it's probably because of the
grid for sense of scale, doesn't hurt that it's a slight cushion for when they fumble and drop a $10 grand Fickymanouli Whachamacallit
during a show and tell.
But its a go to for artists, they're the bees knees, self healing after a cut so a smooth surface for the second cut, nice feel when cutting on top of it,
printed grid for alignment, non slip surface, non stick surface for adhesive tape when you need that sliver of tape.
I have one that I use for cutting thin plastics, paper card stock for patterns an what not.

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Bentworker
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by Bentworker » Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:15 pm

I think they were made popular by the YouTube personality "AVE".

OLFA is a good brand, can remember using one in the 1990's on sewing projects with one of the OLFA pizza cutter style fabric knives.

They are neat just because they are tough, can be cleaned, and they are soft enough that if you drop a part on it you are most likely not going to damage it. Also with the grid scale is apparent on video... But I think most people have them just because they want to be a cool Canadian like AVE...
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SteveHGraham
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:06 pm

Bentworker wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 3:15 pm
I think they were made popular by the YouTube personality "AVE".
I noticed them while looking at videos by hipster "makers."

AvE is the last person I would model myself after!
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rudd
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by rudd » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:18 pm

Used 'em a ton back in architecture school and in building cardstock and museum board models in the office. That sort of stuff has gone the way of the T square in our business. We can make a 3D computer model that is much more realistic in less time, and it holds the bones of our design when we migrate to construction drawings. Or we can use the construction drawings to generate the model. Much cheaper, and no band-aids required.

I will never forget what I was told by the prof in my first "design communication" class. "Always be sure to get your hand *away* from the model before you pull the xacto blade out, less chance of getting blood on your model. And blood doesn't come out of museum board."

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NP317
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Re: Cutting Mats

Post by NP317 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 8:35 pm

I don't have a self-healing cutting mat.

I have self-healing fingers.
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