Initially, vinyl lettering was a technique to make signs. But, today it has entered into almost every aspect of our life. The whole industry started as a way to replace the time-consuming and tedious art of hand lettering. Computers were newly launched and someone realized that if a printer could print something create on paper then possibly you could cut shapes too. In fact, the first vinyl plotter was a HP (Hewlett Packard) plotter.
HP had originally made the plotter for engineers and architects. The machine worked like a robot moving the paper in one direction, while the pen moved in the other direction. A vigilant person recognized that if a knife was substituted for the paper then the vinyl lettering and shapes could be applied to almost anything.
Soon after there were many companies providing vinyl cutter machines for sale. Until recently some of these machines were really big and bulky and created vinyl lettering and shapes of the size of bedsheets. Autocad was the first drawing program that would work for this operation but shortly other drawing programs like Adobe and Coreldraw could also be used.
Although there were a number of vinyl lettering that could be made with vinyl cutters, there was no way to do shades of colors. Additionally, multicolored and very intricate designs could be a problem to do with ordinary vinyl. But, thankfully soon someone came up with the idea to print on the vinyl. It takes a special type of printer and ink but by using solvent ink it is possible to print on the vinyl.
Today, one can make as colorful and as intricate vinyl lettering or decals as possible. Besides, it is widely used by people all across the globe and is a nice thriving business for many.
A vinyl lettering machine consists of a few basic parts. Most of the vinyl cutters basically have the same design. All vinyl machines have a pinch roller which holds the vinyl sheet allowing it to move forward and back in the machine. They will all have a knife that cuts down into the vinyl sheet.
One common question people ask is how does the knife not cut through the sheet? It is because the vinyl is very thin as compared to the wax coated backing paper combined with the force of the pen being adjusted just the right amount. So, when you will see a machine work you will notice that the pen lefts up and down and rolling the sheet back and forth cutting just the vinyl on the surface. Once the cut is finished you will have to remove the unwanted material manually.
When you are out in the market to buy a vinyl cutting machine you should consider the usage of the cutter. Typical sizes range from 15", 30", 54", 60". Say, you got a 15" cutter to cut vinyl lettering, then you would only be able to cut lettering that is about 14" tall, although you will possibly be able to make the piece as long as you want. However, if you want to make letter taller than your machine then you will have to use a feature called tiling in your software. Tiling is a standard feature and breaks your work automatically into sections that have to be overlayed manually.
You will be tempted during your search to find a vinyl lettering machine to look at cheap brands. There are online site where they are available in abundance. This will again come to the intended use of the machine and what are you going to run with it? If the purpose is crafts and arts then you can go for a very cheap cutter, although it still is not recommended. Look for a cutter with a good brand name before going for a cheap brand. Prices may differ slightly but it will be worth it, as you will be able to enjoy the smooth operations and working for many years to come.