Vinyl Cutter Blades: Answering frequently asked questions

vinyl-cutter-blades

How important are blades of your vinyl cutting machine? Think of it like this. Your cutting machine may be a basic model or an advanced contour cutting, digital cutter. All of that power and accuracy is directed to your vinyl through the blades. So, if the blade is not installed correctly or you are using worn-out blades or wrong blades, all of the power and accuracy is nullified. On the other hand on using correctly installed and right blade you get to enjoy all the benefits your vinyl cutter is able to deliver.

To assist you get the most of your vinyl cutting machine, we are offering this cutter blade FAQ.

Does the brand matters?

vinyl-cutter-blades

In general, blades of vinyl cutting machines are not universally compatible. The blade must fit perfectly in the blade holder and the blade holder must fit perfectly in the tool carriage. So, whether you are out in the market buying a new blade holder or a blade, make sure it is compatible with the brand of cutter you use.

Geber cutters use Geber blades, Roland cutters use Roland blades, Graphtec cutters use Graphtec blades and so on. However, there are a few exceptions when talking about the newer manufacturers.

How much of the vinyl cutter blade should be visible?

vinyl-cutter-blades

Whether you are installing a replacement vinyl cutter blade or buying a cutter blasé or installing the OEM blade in a brand new vinyl cutting machine, the primary thing you have to know is how much of the blade should be visible or out? If the blade is enough out for you to see and feel the tip, it is probably too far out.

Most inexperienced vinyl cutter owners poorly install the blade with too much of it extended from the holder. Set it in a way that you hardly see the tip. Then manually drag the blade holder across a sheet of vinyl making a square or a box pattern. You must be able to weed that easily, but there should not be deep scoring of the release liner. On flipping the vinyl over, you should not feel the cut line in the back of the liner. If you are able to cut vinyl manually without carving up the liner, then the blade is placed just right.

What does window tint film mean?

vinyl-cutter-blades

Window tint film is generally 2 mil or thinner, and doesn’t include a Kraft paper release liner, so a 45° blade cuts too deeply. Vinyl Express Q Series and Graphtec users have the choice of using a specially made blade offered by Tint Tek 2020. This blade has a special angle optimized for accurately cutting window tint film.

What is a flock blade?

“Flock” is a particular type of cuttable thermal transfer film, also known as “T-shirt Vinyl” that is used to replicate the thick, velvet like feel of a letterman sweater. Due to its thickness, a 60° blade would be needed for cutting flock. Therefore, the term ‘flock blade’.

What about tiny graphics?

Trying to create finely detailed and very small fonts poses a challenge in front you. When a font size is approx. half inch, some parts of it are so small that the rotation of a standard 45° blade makes the edges of the vinyl to lift as the letter is being cut. It is like mowing around a sapling with a standard riding mower when you need a “Zero Turn” tractor. This is a difficult problem often termed to as ‘vinyl ears’. In this case, using a 60° blade works by properly tightening the rotation of the blade tip in the holder. It also decreases the size of the blade’s cutting edge. The result is accurately cut graphic with no lifting edges.

Blade and vinyl combinations

vinyl-cutter-blades

This is an important question, which blade to be used for which vinyl? The three most commonly used blade angles for vinyl cutting machine are 30, 45 and 60 degrees. Many manufacturers use only 45 and 60 degree blades. For standard sized graphics for PVC vinyls, a standard 45° blade is right choice. 30° blade option on the other hand is perfect for standard sized graphics in thin films like cast vinyl.

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