Vinyl plotter cutters produce designs made by a computer software application. After a design is created on the computer, it is broken down into vector fields and then sent to the machine to be precisely cut. Vinyl plotter cutters can create large signs, car graphics or several small vinyl graphics. Operating a vinyl plotter cutter may vary according to the cutter model; however, the basic operation steps are universal.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- USB/Serial cable
- Vinyl material sheet
Connect the computer to the vinyl plotter cutter. Depending on the make and model of the cutter, this process may vary, but it typically involves connecting the two units through a USB cord or provided serial cable. The owner's manual for the plotter will outline information on how to connect the computer to the machine.
Locate the tension rollers on the plotter. The exact location may vary according to plotter model, but tension rollers are typically found on the top rail. Release the rollers by releasing the locking mechanism.
Position the side gauge so it is at least 1-inch wider than the width of the vinyl sheet you'll be using.
Load the vinyl material sheet into the loading dock. Feed the material so it rests underneath the top rail and stop when 3-inches of the material protrude on the other side of the cutter.
Move the side gauge so it gently touches the edge of the vinyl sheet. This will ensure the vinyl is properly fed to the cutter.
Secure the tension rollers along the surface of the vinyl sheet. To do this, you will typically slide the tension rollers along the top rail. Make sure these rollers are evenly spaced. Lock the rollers into position by pushing on the locking mechanism.
Alter the blade pressure based on the thickness of the vinyl sheet. Depending on the model, this is done by rotating the blade pressure knobs on the side of the machine or through the control panel. If you have a more advanced plotter, the blade pressure may be automatically adjusted before cutting begins. Refer to your owner's manual to determine how to adjust the blade pressure.
Send the image file from the computer to the cutter. This process will vary according to the plotter cutter software program you have installed. After the file is sent, the cutter will perform self-diagnostic procedures to ensure the image is properly cut into the vinyl. Once completed, the plotter will begin cutting the image.
Press the "Trim" button on the plotter cutter once it has completed. This button may also be known as "Cut" or "Remove."
Tips and warnings
- Thoroughly read the owner's manual for the vinyl plotter cutter before use to ensure you perform the proper set-up steps.
- Never begin cutting an image without first setting the blade pressure as this could result in an image not being fully cut out of the vinyl.
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