Vinyl cutting 101: A comprehensive guide to craft cutters- Part 2

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In the part 1 of ‘Vinyl cutting 101: A comprehensive guide to craft cutters’ we tried to cover several things that one should know about vinyl cutting when thinking about pursuing it as a hobby or a business. But, we feel still there are many things that a hobbyist or prospective vinyl cutter business owner must know. So, we are here with the Part 2 of this comprehensive guide.

Continue reading to know vinyl cutting better.

Which vinyl cutter machine gives the best quality cuts?

The costly ones. We are being straightforward and this is true. You won’t be able to achieve the highest professional standards with a vinyl cutter that costs you a few hundred dollars. But, that doesn’t mean breaking bank is essential to buy the best vinyl cutter.

In general, what one looks for in a cutter in terms of quality is a good motor, decent software and reliability.

Some of the cheap cutters have stepper motors, which are mechanical and operated by physical gears. These are not essentially bad, but they don’t provide the same precision and control as a digital servo motor which is driven by software commands.

Great blades also play an important role in great cuts. So, you will want a vinyl cutting machine that supports the best blades. Some machines provide adjustable pinch rollers, which prove helpful when working with different materials. These let you changes the amount of pressure blade puts on different materials. For example, you will need more pressure on hard materials like aluminum and wood than you would on a sheet of paper. Some of the newest cutters are actually able to automatically adjust their pressure setting according to the materials you are using.

Irrespective of what type of cutting machine you choose, your expectations play an important role. Don’t expect to find versatile products at cheap rates, but don’t neglect the cheaper cutters if you have limited usage.

But, if you have demanding customers who are likely to demand complicated designs and very precise and tight work of your cutter’s blades, then you must pay up for more advanced technology.

What software I will need?

Most vinyl cutting machines come with their own software that assist in creating basic designs, or to feed pre-existing files and templates that you have already created to the machine. This is enough to get started.

However, for great designs, great software is essential. Many people think that having access to the most costly cutters will significantly improve their work and as a result, they neglect the software where they actually make the designs.

This is a huge mistake. Always remember, software is important. The fastest way to improve your creations is to improve the design before it is sent to the cutter- i.e. in the software.

This involves practicing your design skills and using highly sophisticated software. Some of the most popular software include: AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator and CorelDraw.

What type of support is available for vinyl cutters?

Almost a decade back, the trick that many manufacturers used was, ‘Free Lifetime Phone Support’ that would have made a significant difference to a considerable number of buyers.

You have to invest time to master vinyl cutters. Some even take time just to assemble. Phone support is a nice backup and this is the reason why some buyers would prefer it over a manufacturer that send the cutter but doesn’t provide reliable support.

That said, things are now different and some of the best support you are likely to get is not from the technician over the phone or from the instruction manual, it is from other craft cutting enthusiasts.

There are websites, forums and YouTube videos that you will find of help.

What tools do I need to start vinyl cutting?

In order to star vinyl cutting, you will need a few tools. Aside from the best vinyl cutter itself, most of these tools are affordable.

Here is what you will need:

  • Vinyl cutting machine and software
  • Materials, like vinyl
  • Squeegee
  • X-Acto Double Knife Set for weeding
  • Transfer Tape
  • Application Fluid, for transfer

We hope by now you must have got answers to most if not all of your questions related to vinyl cutting.

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