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Best vinyl for die cut stickers

Discussion in 'Labels and Decals' started by BigPrintPro, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. BigPrintPro

    BigPrintPro New Member

    Aug 10, 2019
    Hello there,

    Hope you’re doing well!

    I’m new to this forum.

    We opened our print shop 20 months ago.

    Many of my customers request die cut stickers for various indoor and outdoor uses.

    The problem I need help with is finding the right vinyl with an optimal backliner that can be completely cut without ripping.

    The problem is not in the cutter, it’s new. I tried various knife pressures. The higher the pressure the better the cut, but at the risk of releasing the sticker from the vinyl sheet, which get them struck by the cutter’s head and ruin the whole print job!

    I tried several vinyl brands over the course of the last 2 years, such as B-line, orafol, arlon, and even 3M IJ35. The latter’s backliner proved to be better than all others, but not as smooth as it shows in various YouTube videos. It’s still prone to ripping.

    What vinyl do you use at your shop to make stickers?

  2. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

    Jan 2, 2010
    Mitten State
    Your title says "die cut", but your post infers that they're plotter cut. (Die cutting is done either by steel rule die that cuts like a cookie cutter or a thermal die plate that cuts by melting the perimeter of decal.)

    What is your typical decal size? Font size?

    What brand of cutter are you using? Ripping, how? (as the vinyl is being cut, or when you separate the decals?)

  3. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    Port Coquitlam, bc
    You say it's not your cutter.... But it could be. What brand is it?

    We contour cut on all then materials with zero problems. We use a graphtec - if your using a cheap $500 Chinese cutter,It could have uneven surfaces.

    Have you changed your blade at all in the 20 months you've been around? A dull non pointy knife will cause irregular cuts around corners and turns.

    There's lots of things it could be... Switching vinyl is probably the last option I'd look at. Paper is paper... Some.vinyls have heavier release liners which may help with the situation... But odds are it's a setting or the cutter, and not the print.
  4. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    Sounds more like hes trying to contour cut all the way through the backer.
  5. Saturn

    Saturn Member

    Aug 14, 2018
    Any 2-6mil calendared vinyl with an 80-90# liner should cut similarly (laminated or not), with changes to the depth and pressure.

    I will say that it took me about 6 months doing this on my Summa tangential to really feel like I have all aspects of the process 99.9% nailed down. I'm an owner operator, so many long nights and weekends were spent beating my head against walls and running tests, trying different things, etc. Aside from starting with a known good plotter, one of the really fundamental keys was getting all the extra pinch rollers. I make perfectly clean cuts in one pass without the perf/flex feature, to the tune of about 10-14k custom die-cut stickers a month (6-25 square inches average.) If you have things set perfectly you can get (at an absolute minimum) a month or two on the blade and cut strip. If you err on the side of too much blade extension, or using a worn strip, you're pretty much hosed right out of the gate. Die-cutting is not forgiving the way kiss cutting is.

    I would agree with ikarasu that it's most likely the cutter, and/or the settings. I wouldn't expect great or "easy" results from anything other than a Graphtec or Summa. Obviously every shop will have slightly different expectations when it comes to how good the final result is, but I can definitely vouch for the vinyl you're using most likely not being the issue.

    I think most folks are fortunate to have the wisdom grandfathered in by a co-worker or boss that shows them the routine, so I was definitely shocked at how little accurate and detailed info there was available online about setting this up perfectly—don't be shy about asking specific questions here. The more detail you can provide the better.

    Good luck!
    • Like Like x 1
  6. BigPrintPro

    BigPrintPro New Member

    Aug 10, 2019
    Thanks for your answers and inquiries.

    Yes, I’m trying to do all-the-way-through contour cut using HP cutter.

    I noticed that generic vinyl have thicker backliner and hence doesn’t cut all they way through evenly, which results in sides that pop off easily and others that are incompletely cut and therefore I have to rip the backliner to separate it from the rest of the vinyl sheet.

    The 3M IJ35 has less of a problem, but it still rips.

    I wonder if there’s a brand of vinyl with thin backliner that can be cut easily.
  7. ikarasu

    ikarasu Very Active Member

    Jun 10, 2016
    Port Coquitlam, bc
    The thicker the backer the better for perf cuts.

    Hps just a rebranded sums...so it should be fine. I haven't used summa so I can't tell you what settings work best. Graphtec allows you to choose the cut line pattern... I imagine summa also does, so I'd play with that.

    Perf cutting is an art on a roll cutter... If the settings not perfect it won't come out good. Every media is a different setting also..

    How is your cutting strip? Does it look damaged at all? I know Summas have a harder cutting strip... But an inexperienced user can chew through it pretty quick, and it'd cause your uneven cut issue...especially if you're learning to do perf cuts.

    Summa calls it flex cut. I'd start by watching some tutorials on how to flex cut.. You'll pick up some tips and tricks.
  8. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2005
    Lawton, OK, USA
    :welcome: 2 :signs101smilie:

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