Best Vinyl Cutters For Small Business – Call 800-215-0894 PST: 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM • Live Chat
Buying a vinyl cutter to go with your heat press can seem like a daunting task. How do I know which cutting machine will work best? What will get the best results for my budget? Do I even need a vinyl cutter? Here, we are not just heat press machines. Vinyl cutters are an essential tool for thousands of businesses and are the perfect complement to heat press machines. This blog post will give you the tools you need to make the best decision about the best vinyl cutter for you.
Best Vinyl Cutters For Small Business
Vinyl cutters are machines that help create heat transfers or decals by cutting the desired material by cutting the transfer graphic shape set using software. The most popular applications for vinyl cutters (sometimes called “plotters”) are heat transfer vinyl, adhesive decal vinyl, and contour cutting printed graphics.
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Heat transfer vinyl, commonly referred to as HTV, is primarily used to customize T-shirts, hoodies, and other apparel and textiles. HTVs come in a variety of colors and special finishes such as glitter, metallic, foil and more! Adhesive decal vinyl has a wide range of applications. The most popular are car decals, corporate window graphics and wall decorations. Adhesive decal vinyl comes in a variety of colors, as well as chalkboard, etched glass, and several premium glow-in-the-dark materials. Contour cutting printed graphics involves printing your graphics with registration marks, having your cutting machine read those registration marks using special optical sensors, and then using these marks as reference points to perfectly cut your printed graphics from the background.
Here are the top four features you need to look for when comparing the performance of vinyl cutters. These are Speed, Force, Cut, Media Width and Tracking.
Speed is listed based on how fast your cutter can cut in a straight line; it’s usually measured in inches, centimeters, or millimeters per second. Actual cutting speed may vary depending on the number of curves and angles in the drawing. Because each tool handles curves differently than other tools. Depending on the material being cut, you may need to further adjust the cutting speed. The maximum speeds listed on the cutter specification sheet provide a good basis for understanding the concept of cutting speed. Force is the amount of downward pressure exerted on the blade. Most heat transfer and adhesive decal vinyls require approximately 60-80 grams of strength. Glitter vinyl and heat transfer paper require approximately 90-120 grams, and there are other materials that require higher strength. Greater maximum force doesn’t necessarily mean a better knife, but it can be an important feature if you’re cutting thick, hard material.
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Cut width and media width are two different measurements. Media width is the widest material you can load into the cutter, and cutter width is the largest width of material that the cutter can cut. Some vinyl cutters advertise their cutting width and other media widths, both of which are listed in the cutter’s specifications. Cut and media width should be considered when choosing a cutter. Tracking is often overlooked when choosing a vinyl cutter. Tracks are listed in feet or meters and represent the maximum length of material the cutter can accurately cut. This is important if you plan to cut large jobs or lots of small jobs that require long material.
Now that we’ve discussed basic performance, let’s consider some more features. These are just as important, if not more important, when choosing a vinyl cutter. These would be the optical sensor, motor type and accompanying cutting software.
An optical sensor on the cutter enables it to detect registration marks. As mentioned earlier, the cutter alignment marks are used as reference points to ensure accurate cutting along the edges of printed graphics. The printer will print an image with alignment marks on the outer border of the media, and an optical sensor can align and map a path for the blade to accurately cut the printed image. Some cutting machines have a media detection feature that allows them to measure media width and length using an optical sensor, which is then passed to your cutting software so you know exactly how big your material is.
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A motor in a vinyl cutter drives the blade back and forth across the surface of the media from left to right. Vinyl cutters come with two types of motors: stepper motors and servo motors. Stepper motors are simpler in design and are often found in more affordable cutting machines. As the name suggests, they work in steps while cutting. Servo motors are more advanced due to their complex design. Servo motors are often used in high-end commercial-grade cutting machines, and they run faster, quieter, and with greater precision than stepper motors.
All cutters sold with cutting software are included free of charge. Vinyl cutters require image files in a specific format for cutting. These are called vector graphics, and the most common types are PDF, SVG, and EPS. Cutting software is used to process these vector graphics and send them to your cutting machine. But how to create these graphics? For this, you need vector graphic design software. The most commonly used vector design programs are Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw, and Inkscape. These programs are for design only and require you to export the image as a vector file and then import that file into your cutting software. Some cutting machines include combined programs that combine cutting and design software. Composition programs allow you to import graphics, edit them, create new graphics and send those graphics to your cutting machine – all in one go! Some composition programs, like Vinyl Systems’ SignMaster, also let you export the graphics you create for use with your favorite cutting software. Examples of combined programs are Vinyl Systems SignMaster, Silhouette Studio, and GrafTech Studio. In general, the composition program is easy for beginners, those who are new to vinyl cutters, or those with no previous graphic design experience. If you’re looking for a combo program compatible with a variety of vinyl cutters, consider getting Vinyl Systems SignMaster, which is included with every Vinyl System cutter and can be purchased separately.
Part of the difficulty of choosing a vinyl cutter is figuring out which one is best for your needs. Maybe you’re looking for a hobby of making t-shirts for friends and family. Maybe you’re looking to start a custom shirt business. Or you are about to open a full production facility with HTV as a primary product. Regardless, we’ve given you three main categories of vinyl cutters: home, small business, and commercial.
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For hobbyists, the best household knives are the most affordable and compact. Household knives are often called craft knives. Don’t be fooled by the small size and low price—these craft cutters can cut all kinds of heat transfer vinyl that the big boys can cut. This is why many people entering the industry choose a home cutting machine as their first machine. Some well-known home cutters are the Silhouette Cameo, Vinyl Systems Specialist, GCC’s i-Craft, and the AR-24.
Now that you’ve started a business and are ready to invest in a professional cutting machine, our small business class cutting machines are just what you need. Because of their larger size and operating speeds of up to 25 inches per second, these cutters are better suited to the increased volume and precision needs of professional small businesses. Some examples of small business class cutters include GCC’s Expert & Puma; Vinyl Systems Edge, Graftech’s CE Lite-50.
) vinyl knives. These cutters are specifically designed to handle the rigors of cutting in a commercial environment. These cutters are designed for high volume garment customization businesses and can be used in the sign and banner industry and beyond. A few examples of commercial grade cutters include GCC’s Jaguar and RX series; Vinyl Systems Evo, Graftech’s CE and FC series.
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Finally, there are a few extra accessories that are often bundled with vinyl cutters. Here are some considerations that may affect your decision on which vinyl cutter to choose. Most vinyl cutters can be used on a table or tabletop. However, there is a
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