I’m just getting started on working with paper. I sacrificed a piece of draftboard to use as an adhesive surface to hold down everything. It works well enough for paper that is dark and only one side will be seen but I get MDF residue on the back side.
I’m curious to hear from people using the seklema who do things that are lacy in some fashion – how easy is it to get all the leftover little bits off the mat? With the board I can just scrape them right off, but it seems like it might be harder with the gel-like mat. Do you use something like masking to pull it up, or is there an effective method of scraping pieces off? I don’t want to invest in one if it’s a pain to remove little leftover bits.
I’ve mostly been working on making another human, leaving me without the energy to spend designing and lasering All The Things. Up to you whether that counts as “equally impressive”
This is a sneak peek of the current paper project – three layers of paper featuring a beetle design I purchased. Still playing with the best paper color and type combinations before photographing and hopefully selling.
I use my small shop vac in one hand and, a lil chisler scraper in the other to remove all the tiny bits of paper from the Seklema mats after cutting. A plastic razor blade or an old bank card works well, too. It takes seconds to clear the mat.
The stickiness of the Seklema mat is different from what you have with adhesive-based mats. It’s more like a soft rubberiness. You might even be able to just hose off the stuck bits, and the mat would be good as new once dried.
I do remove the mat periodically (maybe every 4-5 dozen jobs) and, clean off the ash build-up with rubbing alcohol and paper towels. The build-up starts to interfere with the stickiness over time but, mostly comes right off.
You can reduce the wear on the mat by dialing in your settings to just cut through your stock. My mats, which get fairly heavy use, show some wear – lines that have burned into the surface, mostly where I have cut the same design dozens of times in approximately the same spot. I haven’t had to retire any mats yet, though.
I felt absolutely silly when I realized this, but try using acrylic as the base for the sticky board. No more smoke/resin residue from cutting. My tests worked great for it, and if you don’t want to sacrifice a nice piece of acrylic, you can ask at local sign places for off cuts or a scratched piece to use instead!