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Cut-Through Plotter? from a Noob

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by DE, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. DE

    DE New Member

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    Well here is something you don't see every day, a noob with a question.:thumb:

    Anyhow I have a specific need to be able plot cut some screen printed pressure sensitive vinyl 13.5x20 sheets, however I need to cut through both the vinyl and the release liner for a custom die-cut look. I have talked to a few sales reps from various equipment suppliers. Some say this can be done and some say it can't be done & some have no idea what the hell it is that I want to do. I suppose what I am trying to do is not considered a normal process for a plotter cutter. A product I have found seems like it could do the job, it's called the Graphtec Robo Cutter Pro II, however it looks to be more of a hobbiests type of cutter, but it does mention doing cut-through via a carrier sheet. I am now assuming that any plotter cutter should be able to do the same thing but they do not mention cut-through ability. My plan is to get a used or new 15 or 24 inch plotter cutter, my budget is about $600. I assume I would need to use a carrier sheet or another backing (TransferRite?) on the back of the release liner to hold the cut shapes so that they don't fall off the sheet and screw up the blade that the plotter would be creating.

    I know I could get this done by a company that does die-cutting however these runs are low and the quantity does not justify the cost for the tooling of a die.

    So I'm asking if anyone has tried anything like this and is this a job that a plotter cutter can handle? Any recomended products & techniques is also appreciated.
     
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  2. mladams7259

    mladams7259 Very Active Member

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    how thick is the material? how many mils? I would not buy an expensive plotter and put it through such rigourous and demanding cutting. try something cheaper. there is a seller on ebay by the name of dcsign that sells cheaper plotters called MASTER made overseas that have a down force of 500g that should do the job. The prices are in your range too. I have a 32 inch one made by them that i use strictly for cutting magnet material. I would never use my roland for that. when my plotter has a new blade it will cut through the vinyl (3mil) and the backing paper when it is set on 100g so it should definately do what you want as long as your material and paper arent superthick.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2006
  3. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

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    bad idea. Don't do it.

    If your clients quantities don't justify di-cutting, then they need to do without di-cutting.
    If you're new to the industry, do yourself a favor & get good at saying NO! If you customers want something they can't afford, say no.

    Nobody needs di-cut stickers, they just want them because you didn't say NO yet. It's not worth the trouble trying to use the wrong tool forthe job, probably none of us offer that service, yet many of us are busy doing decals every day.

    Good Luck!
     
  4. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    Ya, like Doug says, Die cut is not necesary. Contour cut is all that is needed.
    Plus
    Along with die cut you will need to split the backing liner or the customer will ruin many decals trying to remove the backing liner. This adds another step and adds more costs. If he doesn't wish to pay for real die cuts then he will never be happy paying for the split back.

    Using a cutter to die cut could work for a whort while. However, you will ruin material and maybe your when it binds, and it will. Then, you will wear out that soft plastic wear strip in just one job.
     
  5. Rod

    Rod Member

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    Sounds like Half Cut support



    From what you are describing, it sounds like you are talking about what is referred to as a Half Cut feature. If so, then the way Half Cut is supported depends on the machine. Assuming that a given machine supports Half Cut, the Half Cut could be implemented in the form of a pounce, where the cuts are made like a dashed line. Or if the machine supports tool changing, you could set one tool to cut the vinyl, and another tool to cut the backing. A third possibility would be where the machine supports two cutting pressures, so that the driving software can indicate during the job where to use a deeper pressure to cut the backing.

    Does any of this sounds like what you're trying to do?

    Rod at CADlink
     
  6. DE

    DE New Member

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    Thanks all for the replies. I take all of your advice and throw it out the window :thumb: . Heh, only kidding, as for using the Plotter to make "die-cutting" it's something I have to do, this is partly my project and I would only be using the equipment for just that. If it were a client I would tell them no way but it is for me and I do realize the equipment is not made to do this but I'll be damned if I'm going to hand cut these things. I'm going to go with a cheap plotter cutter and probably the one from DCSigns, how's that for compounding to the problem?

    Anyhow I know most of you will frown upon my actions and it's understandable, as you all have more expierience with this equipment than I do, but I look at it this way, if it can cut through magnet material and sand blast rubber stencil material, it has to be able to cut through a release liner. I plan on convering the protective strip with ProtecRite and use an additional backing material (TransferRite) as a carrier sheet so that the blade does not contact the protective strip nor crash down. The carrier sheet will hold the die-cuts in place so that they will not bind and crash into the blade if I either cut through or use a pounce cut. The last screen for the design has guide marks on both sides on the material so that I can feed it as straight as possable. If anyone cares to wish me luck that would be nice and again any advice beside saying "don't do it" would be very appreciated. Someone has had to have done this before and I'm sure I'm not "inventing the wheel" here.

    Thanks again, this is really a great forum.
    :thankyou: :signs101: :thumb:
     
  7. Hollywood

    Hollywood Member

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    Your right Flame, I apoligize.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2006
  8. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

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    He never said it was for a client.... atleast from what I read. I think everyone just assumed it.




    Okay bud, I'll give you the advice you want. You want to buy a Graphtec flatbed plotter. That will die-cut your decals nicely. They are a mere $14,500. Or you can go with a complete label system from graphic marking systems. It will die-cut the labels AND put the split backs on them. Should only set you back around... oh... $60,000.

    Other than that, you can attempt to die-cut with a regular plotter, but you'd better be GOOD before you try it. First off, I'm assuming you know that you'll need to make registration marks in your screen print... right? Being so, you'll need to get a plotter that can work with the registration marks you print, and not too many plotters can do that. My Graphtec FC7000 can, but it costs extra. Mine was over $4,000.

    Now, let's say you DID buy the same plotter as I did. Like I said, you have to be good. Basically what you'll need to do is put the plotter on a light pressure setting, and in your RIP software (I use Flexi myself) check about 3-4 passes (rather than the normal 1). This will make your blade go over the same lines more than once. You'll have to do a lot of fiddling to find the PRECISE settings for each vinyl thickness (if you're using more than one kind of vinyl). Once done, you will then be able to take the sheet off and "snap" the decals off of the sheet. It's risky, hard on your blade, and won't always work perfect. BUT... I've done it, and it IS possible with a regular plotter. I cut my specialy 22mil decals out "die-cut style" for guys, but I'm constantly adjusting stuff to make it cut exactly how I need it to.

    Hope that helps.
     
  9. gvgraphics

    gvgraphics Very Active Member

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    Hollywood,
    Re-read the original post, he never once said it was for a client. Actually he states "his" budget is around $600. Any how he is now going to ruin a good cutter to do nothing. His shape is 13.5" x 20", I think a T-square and razor knife would do the job.

    P.S. Not being rude, just thought you might have read the post wrong.
     
  10. Hollywood

    Hollywood Member

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    DE I apoligize to you as well, thought it said it was for a client, sorry.
     
  11. Hollywood

    Hollywood Member

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    Yes I did and I APOLIGIZE AGAIN.
     
  12. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    Sorry... As for cutters..
    They do not cut thru magnetic material. They score it. They do not cut thru sand blast masking,, They cut it down to the liner just like vinyl.
     
  13. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

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    I don't feel like risking ruining my plotter by running magnetic material through it.... however. I've cut through 30mil material, DIE CUT style before. Just takes maximum pressure (for me, 600 grams) and about 7-8 passes. Would I recommend it? No. Does it look perfect? No (scores the surface because it's so thick, and times that by 7 it looks crappy). But it IS possible.

    Now comes the question, for stuff other than motorcycle graphics and magnets... why would you want to die-cut style cut through that thick of material???:beer
     
  14. Techman

    Techman Major Contributor

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    As I said..

    They,, meaning the cutters,, Operated by those with experienced and competant skills. No need to cut thru 30 mil material.. just score it and it almost comes apart.

    Sometimes when i read yer posts I wonder if you really did what you say u did..
     
  15. Geary

    Geary Very Active Member

    uh uh.....don't try it.

    Just send it out to be die cut professionally. This is stupid to even discuss the project with regular vinyl cutters. I know, rude statement.....but I assure you it's very truth oriented. Just feel like brutal honesty tonight guys. I'm in a bad mood. Sorry. :rolleyes:


    ~G.
     
  16. jeph4e

    jeph4e Member

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  17. WYLDGFI

    WYLDGFI Active Member

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    do the prints you are doing have to be silk screened?? why not digital of some sort? Makes it easier that way on some machine that prints then cuts or someone who is able to print then contour/half-cut later on.
     
  18. djenurm

    djenurm Member

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    I called Graphtec and asked if it was possible to use their craft robo carrier sheet (which is 2 11x16 sheets for $40) for die cutting paper for craft purposes with my ce3000mk2-60 and they said I could. My girlfriend wants custom embellishments for her scrapbook pages. Has anyone ever tried something like this? I wonder if there would be pressure or knife issues with paper in comparison to vinyl?
     
  19. Flame

    Flame Major Contributor

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    Ya' talking about me? Want to come over and have a cup of coffee while I show you how to die-cut a set of triple laminated, 28mil motorcyle graphics? How about Friday morning?


    :Coffee:
     
  20. mtmdesigns

    mtmdesigns Active Member

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    put a couple layers of trnsfer tape on the back, the get the needle just deep enough to go through.
     
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