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Any tricks for Cutting large format graphic edges by hand?

Discussion in 'Tips & Tricks' started by depps74, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. depps74

    depps74 Member

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    Any vets out there have good techniques for cutting large format vinyl 54" on the edges (by hand) so they can seam together? I'm using a ruler and box cutter. Maybe theres another way?


    d
     
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  2. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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  3. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

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    You should be overlapping seams. Butt joints will shrink a bit in addition to you fighting it like now. You can get away with pretty sloppy trimming, its a pet peeve of mine but pretty common.
     
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  4. depps74

    depps74 Member

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    I am overlapping by 1" total, 1/2" on each edge, but having a hard time getting rid of the white material edge. If I follow you correctly I can cheat the trim into the graphic a little? As long as its overlapped they wont see any unevenness or sloppy trimming?
     
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  5. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    yes go into the graphic. no harm no foul
     
  6. bob

    bob Major Contributor

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    Cut the bottom piece however you want nor not at all.

    Don't cut the top seam with a straight edge. Ditch the box knife, preferably in the garbage, get a proper Xacto knife with a new #11 blade, and cut the top seam edge in a gentle wave. If you're overlapping an inch then make the wave a 1/4" or so high. Or more. Or less. Just freehand it unless you're a total maladroit. This makes the seam a lot harder to see.
     
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  7. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

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    This :goodpost:
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2018
  8. letterman7

    letterman7 Very Active Member

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    ^ Interesting. My OCD would kick in screaming "the seam isn't straight"!!!
     
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  9. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I'll try the wave
     
  10. AKwrapguy

    AKwrapguy Active Member

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    So if you're overlap is 1/2" on either side that's only a 1/2" overlap not 1". A 1" overlap meant that you are using 1" of material to overlap 1" of material. Look at getting a better knife. Your not cutting a box, blades like this are awesome for the shop. Their flexible, blades are cheap and you can just snap them off when they get dull. Don't be afraid to trim into the graphics by a 1/32 or 1/16. It should match up anyways so it doesn't much matter.

    Also what are you cutting on, is your cutting surface clean and level with no dead spots? This might make a difference as well. If your not using a cutting mat, get one, it will make trimming so much easier.
     
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  11. TimToad

    TimToad Very Active Member

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    Are your work tables covered with cutting mat?

    Is it in good shape? If not, flip it over and use the other side until it gets too many cuts in it and you have to replace it.

    What kind of "ruler" are you using? Does it have the rubberized grip material on the back? We use the safety rulers that also have a smooth guide along the edge for smoother cuts and concentrate on keeping the blade of whatever cutting tool we're using as perpendicular to the material as possible.

    We use mostly Olfa knives and Exacto #11's, but try to match the tool to the need.
     
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  12. eahicks

    eahicks Magna Cum Laude - School of Hard Knocks

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    1" overlaps are what we do, and always, ALWAYS cut in to the graphic a good 1/16" so no white is left anywhere. You'll end up around 7/8" actual overlap if done right.
     
  13. fuzzy_cam

    fuzzy_cam The Granbury Wrap & Sign Guy

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    We panel all of our printed wraps with 0.6" overlap so that when they are trimmed out you're left with close to 1/2" overlap. Also just 1/2" overlap on large color-change wraps. 1" seams are too much, and 1/2" seams look a lot better, in our shop's opinion anyway.

    PS - have never had a failed wrap come back to us when using 1/2" seams. I figured I would throw that in before anyone asked.
     
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  14. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    a good SHARP knife, a true straight edge and a table that is VERY FLAT

    with those points, it is fast and easy.
    yesterday cut down 120' of panels in a little over 1 hour
     
  15. ams

    ams Very Active Member

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  16. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    If all you're doing is cutting straight lines, invest in a long Keen Cutter. Ours is 126" long and we use it for vinyl, PVC, styrene, gator, shocard and so many other substrates. It cuts up to 6mm PVC in 2 maybe three passes. Vinyl is a breeze. Best part is, ya only need one person to handle it.

    I just recently built this table and put the cutter on top with locking wheels. The materials cost about$90 and I had about 3 hours in cutting and assembling it and it's 100% dead balls level.


    keen on wheels.jpg
     
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  17. IDB Signs

    IDB Signs Member

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    I've been meaning to grab one of the Big Blue or Sooper Edge rulers for a while now. Have also been eyeballing that Keen Cut as well. We have rulers in 4ft, 6ft, and 8ft lengths. I ordered some thin cork roll material and attached to the underside to help prevent scratches and hold it in place better. I use these for whatever length I need with either a No. 11 Xacto or a snap off NT/ Olfa kinife. I use some Quik Clamps if I need to be perfect or have an especially long edge. Empire and Starrett are the rulers we have. I would recommend one with an anodized or non-painted finish, as you will most certainly cut into it at times and un-straighten your straight edge.
     
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