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which cutter for small letters, advice please?

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Post Mon May 06, 2013 11:59 pm

which cutter for small letters, advice please?

HI
I'm quite new to vinyl and cutting staff so don't have much knowledge.
All I know is that I need to replace my Silhouette cameo with something much better.

I got myself a contract for Aston Martin decals in plain colour.
The letters are quite thin and only 8mm high.
I have tried to cut them with my current cutter and it's a no no.
I had read for a past week about vinyl cutters and it's not surprise i can't do it on my cutter as it's run on mechanical steppers.

So, looks like at my budget £1300 inc. vat. (I will only buy brand new machine) I'm looking at Graphtec CE6000-60 and Roland gx24
I'm more convinced on Graphtec as it's so quite and more people recommend this machine on the forums.

Will this machine be good for the job I need to do?
I have attached picture of what I need to cut out in a solid colour vinyl.

Your help will be appreciated.
Regards
Thomas

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Aston_Martin_logo.png
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Post Mon May 13, 2013 10:54 pm

Roland and Graphtec cutters are both very good.
that size of text will need the machine run in Tangental mode for more accurate cuts.
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Post Mon May 13, 2013 11:02 pm

Robert Lambie wrote:Roland and Graphtec cutters are both very good.
that size of text will need the machine run in Tangental mode for more accurate cuts.

Does Graphtec got this mode?
I know it might be a stupid question but I'm just started to learn.

Is there a book or something for me to have to understand the basics of cutting vinyl you could recommend?
I was reading about blades, angels etc. which I have no clue what so ever :oops:
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Post Mon May 13, 2013 11:30 pm

I might be wrong, but most of the high end brands of cutter will have this mode or a watered down version of the mode. either way it will be capable in that mode.
you can also slow down the speed of the machine, which improves accuracy.
you also can reduce/increase pressure of the blade.

using a good vinyl like a cast can also aid in eas weeding as it is a thin soft vinyl, but more expensive.
however, if you go cheap, it can be thick, difficult to weed etc

if you buy a good brand machine you will have a manual, its not a difficult thing to pickup and run. there will also be videos on youtube and the like for the manufacturers of the machines.

dont buy cheap ebay crap...
this is your livelyhood and a key purchase for your business.
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Post Mon May 13, 2013 11:44 pm

Thank you very much for your advice.
I don't like those cheap machines as well as 2nd hand ones.
I will get my Graphtec 6000 in few weeks time so I will post some feedback.
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Post Mon May 13, 2013 11:45 pm

Like Robert says Graphtec, Rolland or Suma would all be suitable brands, not sure if all models in their ranges will have a Tangential mode but if you are looking at machine specifications it should be mentioned in the sales blurb.
My Graphtec is about 12 years old now & has this function which is great for cutting small text & fine detail.
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Post Tue May 14, 2013 5:47 am

Can someone please explain what is tangential mode? I have never heard of this.
Simon.
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Post Tue May 14, 2013 5:50 am

And, as regards weeding, I recently had some black shapes with sharp angles to cut, and tried them on Avery 900, but the sharp corners lifted. I tried the same on Oracal 751, and the results were perfect. Both are thin cast vinyl, of similar quality. Why would one be so much better at cutting than the other?
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Post Tue May 14, 2013 9:41 am

if the Aston Martin Text is 8mm high then a CE5000 will be OK, no problem, I do even smaller letters daily with a CE5000. As Robert said, the tangential mode helps in this case (CE5000 has a kind of tangential that you can enable/disablee as you wish).

I'm surprised that a Cameo can't do that but for sure a CE5000 can do if correctly set (blade height, pressure,...)
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Post Tue May 14, 2013 11:34 am

I've got the Graphtec 5000 and don't find any problems with doing the smaller characters so long as you have the blade and vinyl settings correct.
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Post Tue May 14, 2013 9:30 pm

Simon Worrall wrote:Can someone please explain what is tangential mode? I have never heard of this.
Simon.


most plotter use a 'drag knife' that is held in free floating bearings so as the blade changes direction it jerks round...fine if it's a smooth curve...not so great for sharp angles as it can lead to misshapen changes of direction.

True tangential plotters have a small servo to physically change the knife angle rather than it floating / dragging round.

Makes for perfect corners, most noticeable on small text.


Regarding used plotters v's £1300 new ones.

I'd have a used high / top quality over any new plotter that costs only £1300 bucks new.

Pick up a 3-4 year old £5k plotter for about that sort of money and it WILL run for another 10+years fast, accurate and a joy to use.

Not a fan of the CE5000 personally (not heavy duty or solidly built enough for my liking) although they do the job well enough...
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Post Tue May 14, 2013 10:00 pm

Thanks for that, David.
Last night I went through the manual for my Roland cx500 plotter that I have had for ten years... and I discovered that while it doesnt have tangential mode, it has "Overcut" mode.
I tried this out. It cuts an extra mm on the outside of an angle, to give the dragging blade time to line up. Seems like a good idea for very sharp angles, but it doesnt make any allowance if the angle is within a letter, so it makes little cuts into the letters.
This certainly improves fast weeding though.

I second your opinion on cheap plotters. They will end up costing you more.

Simon.
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Post Wed May 15, 2013 8:45 am

Tangential mode is a Graphtec option, on the old Graphtecs it was called thick mode but essentially the same thing in as much as the blade stops, lifts, turns and then goes down again. I've not needed to use it for vinyl and cutting down to 5mm is do-able if font is not too fine. I only use thick/tangential mode for cutting flock or reflective. I also have a tangential Summa cutter and this struggles with very small text as it tries to chop out very small curves rather than steering round them although it does have other advantages. If my arm was twisted for one or the other I'd go Graphtec. Mine is a very old (12+ years) FC3100-60 and still performs very well and is very robustly built, not sure modern cutters regardless of brand have the same build quality.
Alan D

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