Vinyl cutting blades and blade holders: Things to know

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Vinyl cutting blades

If we talk about vinyl cutting blades and blade holder, then their job is to hold up a hard blade to a piece of material and create something artistic out of it.

A blade holder works with a number of blades depending on the type of material it will be working with. Like, it can work with a skinny deep blade with a 60 degree angle. This angle of blade is used on vinyl cutting machine when you want to cut thicker materials like sandblast mask or flock or abrasive materials like Siser Glitter and reflective vinyl. The blade doesn’t have a lot of surface area to offer resistance so it glides smoothly through the media. However, this means it wears out very quickly. For a good job and making clean cuts, you must replace this blade at least twice a year.

Then there is one very common blade, 46 degrees of sharp hard carbide steel. This is a shallower fatter blade so it wears longer with constant use. This is an ideal choice for a majority of cutting jobs, for printable media and indoor and outdoor vinyl graphics. A 30 degree blade on the other hand is very flat and shallow, so it won’t cut too deep and works well for scoring too. Recommended for sheer ultra-thin materials like paper, laminate and window tint and heat transfer vinyl.

The nice thing about blade holder in a vinyl cutter machine is that it is interchangeable and adjustable. So, if you are not satisfied with the job your blade holder is doing like it is not cutting through the liner or leaving behind unweedable vinyl then you must change your blade holder that will be apt for the material you will be working on.

How your vinyl cutter blade holder works?

The blade holder as name suggests holds the plotter blade during operation. That is quite simple because the holder uses bearings to ensure the blade is kept exactly straight as it gets carried across the platen during cutting. In order for the cutting offset to work aptly, the blade must be held perpendicularly at a 90 degree angle from media surface.

This ensure that tangents at the start and end of paths meet where they should and that your designs are cut with no visible break in the cut path. This definitely lets you to weed and apply the letters. Gradually, the bearings wear out and the holder’s grip weakens and the blade starts tilting slightly eccentric during use.

Signs it is time to change the blade holder of vinyl cutting machine?

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This can also be caused due to a bad offset.

Partly cut shapes for example, “tags” in the corners are signs of a worn out blade holder.

The two most common signs of a worn out blade holder include: one sign is the failure of the cutter to fully cut characters with corners. There will be small gaps at the meeting ends of the corners. The other sign, which is more common is the failure to join start and end of circular paths. Circles will start looking like open arcs.

However, this is commonly misdiagnosed as an offset issue. Some simple observations will help find the actual cause. If you start to notice this on best vinyl cutter on which you have not changed the offset parameters, then it is probably due to a worn blade holder. When checking the blade holder, try opening the cap and cleaning it out once in a while to get rid of small pieces of vinyl that may have gotten inside during the operation. That won’t make it wear out prematurely, but collected debris can create other issues by limiting the ability of the blade to rotate in the holder as it moves around the platen.

Ways to fix vinyl cutter blade holder?

Once you know that your blade holder now needs replacement, the solution is simple. Get a new one. Just remember that you find a correct replacement. Some are compatible only for particular brand of vinyl cutting machines while some are compatible with all brands. And for some brands, more than one option is available.

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