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areas:screenprinting:vinylcutterchecklist

Design Creation and Preparation

The vinyl cutter is driven by the open source vector software program Inkscape, which is free for you to download and use.

Create your drawings using line and polygon drawing tools in Inkscape. Be aware that when you cut your design, a line will always be cut as a single line, regardless of the width you select for the line in Inkscape. If you want to draw a wider line, use a box instead of a line.

You can also import and trace artwork in Inkscape, which will allow you to cut artwork that you don't draw freehand.

Loading Vinyl

To load vinyl into the cutter

  1. push down on the black release lever on the back right side of the cutter
  2. position your vinyl on the feed rollers. The left side must align with one of the blue bars on the top feed roller track.
  3. Move the left-hand feed roller so that it is positioned on the left edge of your vinyl
  4. Move the right feed roller so that it is somewhere in the wide right-hand blue bar
  5. Raise the black lever on the back of the cutter
  6. Select the appropriate material measurement setting
    1. Select “Roll 1” if you want the cutter to measure the width of your material and align the front edge of the vinyl
    2. Select “Roll 2” if you want the cutter to only measure the width of your material. In this case you have to align the front edge yourself

Operating the Cutter

After creating your design in Inkscape and loading your media, you need to convert your design to a “path” to cut it.

  1. Select your entire design by doing a CTRL-A, or
  2. Select Path → Object to Path

Next you send your design to the cutter.

  1. Select Extensions → Export → Plot
  2. If you wish, you can change the orientation of the cut (which way is “up”) by selecting “Plotter Settings” and changing the “Rotation” setting
    • Plese don't change any other settings for the plotter
  3. Select “Apply” and your design is sent to the cutter

You can also re-position your media, and where the cut starts. Use the arrow keys to move the vinyl in and out of the cutter after the cutter has measured it. To reset the “origin” (where the cutter starts cutting), position both the vinyl and the cutter head using the arrow keys, then press the “F1 / Origin” button to set the origin point under the current cutter position.

Cleanup and Shutdown

To clean up,

  1. remove the vinyl from the cutter by dropping the black lever, and removing your material
  2. check the cutter head for debris and remove if any
  3. cover the cutter with it's cover
  4. turn off the computer and the cutter (or just the power strip)

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If your design doesn't cut, or doesn't cut cleanly
    1. Check the cutter for vinyl or other debris blocking the knife
    2. Verify that the retention screw for the cutter pen is tight. Please don't use tools, but it should be good and tight using your fingers. If you use a tool, don't over tighten.
  • The cutter doesn't start cutting
    1. check the display for a “Reposition feed roller” message - this means one or both of your feed rollers aren't aligned with the blue bars
    2. verify that nobody has added the cutter as a “printer” to the computer. Remove it if they have.
    3. verify the power is on and the cables connected (duh)
    4. Power cycle the cutter

References

areas/screenprinting/vinylcutterchecklist.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/29 15:19 by keithm