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creation pcut opinions?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Plotters' started by ontario026, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. ontario026

    ontario026 New Member

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    Nov 10, 2006
    Thanks for looking, My family just purchased a marina which I am going to be the general manager of, and I was thinking about getting a vinyl cutter and trying to market vinyl boat names, registration numbers, and maybe a bit of signage for around the marina. Not looking to spend a lot to start, I saw the creation Pcut cutters on Ebay and they didn't look to bad from my limited research on cutters. Any opinion on this brand for what I plan on doing with it? I am from canada and the seller is as well, I emailed him Zengco inquiring about replacement parts and he emailed the following:

    "We supply all the replacement parts for the PCUT vinyl cutters such as blade holder and blads, cutting strip cushion, paperweight wheel, vinyl tray, stand, cable, motherboard, cool fan and power supply etc. 1 piece of blade for the vinyl cutter costs US$10 and 3 pieces package costs US$25. 1 blade usually lasts 3 months to 6 months if used properly.
    Thanks.
    "

    So it does sound like they support the product as well....

    I'm interested in hearing some input from some people with some knowledge in the subject.

    My other question is my Grandfather is into Autocad stuff and has probably 5 or 6 different plotters, at least 1 of them is a roland, Is there any similarities between the drafting autocad plotters and vinyl cutting plotters?? Is there any chance I may already have access to a suitable plotter with a knife upgrade, or are they totally different beasts??

    Thanks for your input!!
    Matthew
     
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  2. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    Why don't you just hire a good local sign maker to do that work for you and save yourself a load of expensive problems?

    That cutter is not from Canada. ITs from china..
     
  3. ontario026

    ontario026 New Member

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    Thanks Techman, I stated that the seller was from canada and so was I, meaning I would not have cross border duties etc involved when sourcing the plotter and accessories, I am well aware that the cutter is chinese made. I would prefer to have the ability to do my own work vs outsourcing for the convenience plus a little more cash in the marina's pocket...

    Matthew
     
  4. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    False economy.... You will run into the same problem so many truck stops, and other type bizzes and Marina's ran into trying to make a buck. One local truck stop tried to do the same thing and cut me out of the picture. It lasted exactly 9 months when they finally called me with an offer to buy the machine and supplies and get back to work for them. IT cost them a fortune in redo's, wasted materials, and lost time. Think about it. How could a $25.00 an hour manager save money make money doing a job that will just make $15 bux?

    Unless you do a load of stuff it will not pay for itself for a long time. Between your time, and materials, learning curve, and other considerations you would not save money..

    Why don't you manage the Marina, and subcontract with a local sign writer to do the work,,, and you take a 10% cut of pure profit like so many other Marina's around the world have learned to do? This is so much better for you and your customers by having a real genuine professional person with up to date skills and materials doing work that you should not be attepmting.
     
  5. Just Another Sign Guy

    Just Another Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Ontario i could write you a book on why i feel this way, giving you multiple examples but i as well of all of us in the industry have had to do this too many times....so go for it, make the BIG BUCKS, but here is my prediction.

    You will buy a cheap a$$ piece of junk plotter that has no resale value when you get frustrated doing this because it takes more work than you anticipated, the profit was not as high as you anticipated and your customers start coming to you complaining because their lettering is falling off because you do not have the knowledge or experience to do the job properly requiring you to higher a professional to redo the work you did to keep your morage customers happy because you screwed up their boats...and you are left with a piece of junk that you should have never bought but didnt listen to us that you can't even use as a boat anchor....have fun, i give it 18months TOPS.

    good luck your going to need it...

    but think of the bright side it will give you a tax loss to claim against the profits running your real business
     
  6. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Matthew,

    I would add onto the comments already here that you will also need a budget in far excess of the cost of the plotter for your vinyl, SignGold and transfer paper. Bear in mind that you cannot get away with calendared vinyls for boats. Only the good stuff will provide satisfactory results as it ages. Plan on at least 24 rolls of cast vinyl to satisfy the demand for different colors plus one or more patterns of SignGold.

    BTW, do you have software? You will need something like CorelDRAW or better to setup your jobs ($350 - $400).

    Most plotters are adapted pen plotters that have a knife holder instead of a pen holder along with variable weight and speed settings and firmware to deal with offsetting the cut of a swivel knife and improved feeding systems for vinyl. I doubt you would be able to get good results with a pen plotter.
     
  7. Pro Signs & Graphix

    Pro Signs & Graphix Very Active Member

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    Hello Mathew.

    We have to ask why the extra weight of an additional business that you know nothing of. I truly see that trying to learn the sign business will interefere with what you will be required to do - manage, manage, and even more managing. Believe me, and everyone here, that there is a lot more than just sticking stickers to the side of a boat or even sign substrates.

    Tech mentioned a good idea, which would be to align yourself with someone already in the business. You could realize profits via referral fees, and save money for the marina via discounts.

    Also, as for software, your grandfather may be into CAD but you did not mention that you are - so we will assume that you are not. You would be attempting to do the equivalent of a person that does not know how to swim yet insists that they want to swim in the ocean. There is a learning curve and without any basis, for experience, it will be huge.

    Lastly, about the Creation, it is a hobby machine. It is not intended for serious work or even stripes (which ill be requested). Strong names like Graphtec, Ioline, Roland, and DGI, are the only way to go. That is only part of the equation. After that, as Fred mentioned, you have supplies (smallest sold is 10 yard rolls, except Signgold), transfer tape, cleaners, tolls, and even software. The killer....time, and lots of it to learn how the whole process works.

    You would be further ahead to purchase a BBQ grill and sell hot dogs and soda. Easy, easy, easy.

    JMHO
     
  8. Ken

    Ken Major Contributor

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    Hey Ontario..first I must say, Welcome to signs 101..I think I missed your introduction.
    I would also like to say that the previous posters have given some sound advice.
    I have a P-Cut machine for about 3 years now. I think it was good value for my dollar. If your plan is to do strictly boat names and small signs around the marina, it is my opinion that this is very do-able. IF YOU HAVE THE TIME FOR THE LEARNING CURVE. On a customers boat , you will want to use high-performance vinyl ( lasts 8-9 years continuos outdoor exposure. Most boats are protected in the off season.( direct sunlight is the killer).
    East-West Plastics( Mississauga) are able to provide vinyl " by the yard"..YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BUY FULL ROLLS.
    If you buy a Creation P-Cut (CT630), get the WinPC software..not Art-cut.
    Visit the www.signmax.us site for more info there.
    The hardest part about boat graphics is to put a straight line down the length of the boat. Avoid that , if possible. So many compound curves to deal with. To place registration numbers/ names on a boat is not rocket science. But to develop a "flair" for it takes considerable effort. IF YOU REALLY THINK YOU HAVE THE TIME TO LEARN ALL OF THIS---GO FOR IT! This will be a skill you can take to other ventures.
    From hands on experience..I would recommend the CT630.
    Other will recommend Graphtec, Roland etc but at a much higher entry level.
    The CT630 cuts vinyl..that's what it does. Your instructions to the machine is what matters. And your choice of materials. Use the best you can get on a boat!
    A proper preparation of the boat surface is critical to an enduring applcation. You need to study this if you are going ahead with this idea.
    IF..you wish to out-source these jobs...I will gladly provide you with pre-cut vinyl names etc and full instructions on how to apply the graphics. Tell me what you need by e-mail, we'll bounce it back and forth a couple of times. I will send your graphics, ready to apply.
    I'm ready to help..but I think "GO FOR IT" fits.
    Kind regards...Ken
     
  9. gvgraphics

    gvgraphics Very Active Member

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    Let me mention one more think nobody else has yet. I hope the marina has "EXCELLENT" insurance. Because the first time you use the wrong chemical to clean that hull and it eats the paint and or the fiberglass it can get really damn expensive to repair. And one more thing to think about, you screw up $100,000 boats that wont help the marina's business. They will think you are incompetent and take ALL of there business else where.

    Sounds like a good 401k plan to me, lol.
     
  10. StarCad

    StarCad New Member

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    Dec 9, 2006
    Let me add some advice here Mathew. First of all don't let these answers scare you off your idea. Sign making is not really rocket sicence like it is being protrayed above. You have been given some good advice above in this thread concernng what vinyl to use and how much it will cost you to start. If our still thinking of doing this project then dive in and get you hands wet as the only way to learn is by doing it.

    I started by doing model airplane graphics for my models and soon members of my club were asking me to do graphics for them. I had bought a used Stitka 10" off ebay and was just playing around. Within a year I had saved enough from doing the models to buy a PCut 24" and have not looked back. My wife and I now only do Magnetics of Construction Company Fleets along with an occassional banner and window graphics. We average between 5 and 8 sets a week and do this very part time in the evening and Sunday afternoons. Our prices are compettitive with the Swapmeet people and we only advertise by word of mouth.

    It can be done and all you have to do is is take the good advice above and go from there.

    Most of all have fun and give your customers the best deal you can along with the best service.
     
  11. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    No its not rocket sience. But it is more than just sticking on some letters. Its more than a hobby to be subsudized by your regular job. It's more than just sitting around in a kitchen and cutting out a few inches of plastic letters to stick onto some model airplane.

    Selling magnetic signs for construction fleets at a price competitive to swap meet prices is not being in business. Its playing around. My 11 yr old does it himself and probably makes more than you on each job.

    Best deal? what does this mean? does it mean charging the maximum you can and doing great work? Or, does it mean line up some words onto some material and doing it as cheap and as near to cost as you can?

    There is a big difference between being a sign company and a hobby sign shop.

    Oh yes, There is a reason why the price in sign cutter machines is falling out of the bottom. Its called over saturation. Every one has a cutter. I'll bet at least 3 or 4 ppl in that marina have cutters within their midst. People wealthy enough to own nice boats are usually business people of some kind and they all know each other. Word spreads. And. I'll be willing to bet again that you will not get the work you believe you will. I've seen it happen more than a few times.

    Oh yes, Look around at the posts concerning cutters. You will see all too many people having problems with their low end cheap no name brand cutters.
     
  12. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    I would have to differ with that.

    Most of all have fun and give your customers the best product you can along with the best service and you will find lots of people more than willing to pay you handsomely.
     
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