Stickers, decals, logos and sign letters are all cut using a vinyl plotter and not an inkjet plotter. A cutting plotter is similar to the inkjet pen plotter, except that the computer pen is replaced with a swivel cutting knife. Before being able to cut any stickers you need to set up the vinyl plotter and calibrate it using the instructional manual for the plotter make and model.
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Things you need
- Vinyl made for plotters
- Vinyl Cutting plotter
Install the drivers for the plotter from the CD packaged with it. Download the drivers from the plotter manufacturer website, if you no longer have the driver CD. The drivers allow the computer to communicate with the plotter. Install the cutting program packaged with the plotter. Download the cutting software from the plotter manufacturer, if you no longer have the CD that came with the plotter.
Design your decal in any image design software program you want. Save the image and open it in the plotter cutting software program that came with the plotter. You can also choose to design the image in the vinyl cutting software you installed.
Pull the plotter tension roller bar lock to the up position while the plotter is still off. Push the side guide to the side approximately 1 inch further than the width of the vinyl.
Load the vinyl into the printer using the plotter dial to roll it in until the vinyl is under the blades. Place the vinyl so that it is facing up and will be cut by the blades. Keep the edge against the fixed side of the cutting bed. Move the guide against the vinyl side to keep it steady and straight. Pull the vinyl through the plotter until it reaches the front side of the plotter and the tension roller. Push the tension roller bar back down over the vinyl.
Turn the plotter on and wait for it to go through it's initialisation process to get ready to cut. This should take a minute or two at most. Enter the cutting blade depth on the display screen by using the "mode key." Select the blade from the display options. Read the plotter manual for the appropriate blade and depth use for the vinyl type and design you are using.
Press the "Test" key to make a test cut and pull the cut through to the front side of the plotter to inspect. Test with several different blades and depth cuts to find the right cut configuration.
Return to the vinyl cutting software program on the computer and click "Cut" or "Print" from the software program. Wait for the sticker to be cut.
Pull up a corner of the cut vinyl design gently. This is called weeding and is the process of removing the surrounding vinyl from the sign or decal. Weed out extra spaces or unwanted areas from the decal using an X-acto knife.
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