Saturday, August 25, 2012

Tutorial for using an Accuquilt Studio Die Cutter

Due to popular request, I'm demonstrating here how the Accuquilt Die Cutter works and I'll show you some tips I've learned on my own.

The first question most people ask is which Accuquilt cutter to buy:  the Studio, the Go!, or the Go! baby.  The Studio is the biggest and the most expensive.  It needs a dedicated surface on which to live.  It's too heavy to take to a retreat.  But it has the most available dies.  And it can cut more layers of fabric at the same time.  

The Go! and the Go! Baby are both portable.  You can take them with you to retreats.  You can pack them away in a closet and pull out when needed.  There are lots of dies available for these, but they are all smaller ones.  For example with my Studio cutter, I have a die which will cut an 8.5 inch circle.  The Go! and Go! Baby can't cut a piece that big.

Are dies interchangeable between the three models?  No.   The Studio dies are thicker than the Go! and Go! Baby dies.  So Studio dies cannot be used in the Go! and the Go! Baby.  Plus as noted above, many of them are too wide to go through the Go! or Go! Baby.  However, Accuquilt does offer an adapter for the Studio to allow it to use the thinner dies of the Go! and the Go! Baby.  The adapter is a thick slab of plastic.  You may wonder why a Studio owner would ever need the adapter.  Why not just buy the desired die in the Studio version?  The answer is that Accuquilt doesn't offer every die made for the Go! and the Go! Baby in a Studio version.


Here's a picture of my Accuquilt Studio Cutter.  I put the scissors there so you could get an idea of the scale.

Here is the bottom side of one of my dies - this one cuts 3 inch finished half square triangle.  You may notice that the blades on the die are not lined up with the sides.  This is how they are supposed to be.  If you want your pieces cut on the grain of the fabric, you will need to slant it appropriately.

Here I have folded two different fabrics so that they are about the size of the die.  I used to use my rotary cutter and ruler to cut layers of fabric the correct size, but I've learned I can just fold up a fat quarter to fit - big time saver.  Above I have four layers each of two fabrics.  Place the wood side (bottom) of the die down and place the fabric onto the foam side of the die.

The die with fabric on top is placed on the tray.  Then I place the appropriately sized acrylic sheet on top of the fabric.

I push the tray and die so that it touches the roller.

While continuing to push the die under the roller with one hand, I crank it through with the other.

Halfway through!

Done!  Now I pick up the acrylic and retrieve my cut piece.

Often there will be a thread here are there that isn't cut all the way through.  Instead of worrying with having scissors handy to snip, I have found the quickest and easiest way to remove the cut fabric from the die is my "Pinch and Jerk" method.  Pinch a stack of cut pieces.

Then quickly jerk it away from the die.  This will sever any attached threads and works great.

So I pinch and jerk each stack of pieces and I'm left with some nice scraps to save for something else.  With one run through the machine, I just cut 48 perfect triangles.

They even have notches cut off each end for easy piecing.

I hope this help you understand how the die cutter works.  Let me know if you have any questions.


Debby said...

Thanks for sharing this!! I have thought about buying one but wondered if the cost was worth it!

Brenda said...

Is the plastic really acrylic or is it another kind of plastic? Have you always bought the replacements online? Thank you