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Getting started short list

Discussion in 'Newbie Forum' started by trakers, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. trakers

    trakers Very Active Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    Anyone want to comment on a short list of things I need to get started. Graphtec plotter is due here soon. Very excited about that.

    Here is what else I purchased.

    - Roll of mid-level calandered vinyl to practice on and a roll of quality Oracal cast for doing the real thing.

    - Roll of application tape

    - Some gold squeeges (Anyone have a favorite brand?)

    - Nice long level

    - Nice metal ruler

    - X-acto knife, blades

    Did I miss anything obvious?

    Someone mentioned some type of special marker?

    Still need to score some alcohol for cleaning the substrate. Suggestions for that? Someone mentioned WallyWorld carried an acceptable solution, haven't looked yet.
  2. mtmdesigns

    mtmdesigns Active Member

    Jun 23, 2006
    A good salesman!
  3. Creative_Lance

    Creative_Lance Very Active Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    It all depends on what you will be doing, but since you purchased the Graphtec i assume you will only be doing vinyl cut signs and i think this is what you need to start your business other than skills and creativity.
    Good luck
  4. Ken

    Ken Major Contributor

    Feb 7, 2005
    If you can find a vinyl supplier that sells by the yard, rather than full rolls, that would be good. You may have a full roll of white, but what happens when you want to apply to a white vehicle or wall?
    So you need some color choices on hand.
    The right supplier will also sell you a full roll(log) of application tape and they can slit it to various sizes at a nominal charge. No point in having a 6 inch roll of app tape when you need to do 2 inch letters. Conversely, if you have tape that is too small to cover your letters/graphics and try to apply mutiple strips of tape to cover you will find that you will get air entrapment where the tape overlaps. Always best to have the tape large enough to do it in one pass.
    You may want a tape roll holder mounted to the end of your work table so you can stretch the app tape across your letters/graphic.
    The Big Squeegee guy, Dale, was kind enough to send me his "little" squeegee. It's about 9 inches wide with a felt cover on the edges and I find this to be a very good tool in my shop. I would get one of those.
    For a newbie, application fluid, such as RapidTac(there are other brands), can be quite helpful.
    Do you know about the "hinge method" of applying vinyl?
    MOst important is what software will you use to design your layouts?
    Did your machine come with a program to do this or will you use something like Corel or Adobe? This is where the learning curve gets pretty steep.
    Good luck!
    Keep asking questions..
  5. trakers

    trakers Very Active Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    Wow, thanks for the quick replies. I chose Graphtec due to the information I gained here by reading these forums (and any others I could get my greedy eyes on) the last few weeks. My cutter will mainly be used for personal use and probably for a few of my friends who own businesses once I get proficient.

    The software I ordered is the LXi Master level. Not the highest, but next to highest level of that software. I have been designing original graphics at my day job for well over 15 years, currently using Photoshop (and my personal preference PhotoImpact when the boss is away or I'm working at night at home as I feel Photoshop sux eggs) for raster and Corel for vector so I'm thinking I should have a good head start on the cutter software's learning curve. We shall see.

    Obviously I agree on needing more than one color vinyl, that will come with time and on a need basis. I have a friend who also cuts with one of the Master (ugh) cutters. We have discussed splitting 50yd rolls which I think is a good idea.

    I have actually purchased parts to build a tape holder. It may look a bit odd when finished, but I love to build my own stuff when possible.

    On the hinge method, yes, I have read extensively and have even applied my fair share of vinyl in the past for various reasons. Nothing like you fellas, of course, but more that the average Joe off the street. I am really looking forward to perfecting my technique! I am a perfectionist so anything less than perfect bothers me.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2007
  6. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    some quills, 4, 6, 8 , 20.....1 SHOT 1/2 pints in all 8 colors...some turps and some rags.....couple stabelos....and put in your trunk and go to work....OH IAM SORRY....was reminising.....)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
  7. Ken

    Ken Major Contributor

    Feb 7, 2005
    Sorry, Trak..just didn't know your level of ability..
    You'll be fine, let's see some of your jobs in the future and best of luck!
  8. trakers

    trakers Very Active Member

    Mar 31, 2007
    My gosh don't be sorry. I'll take any and all advice I can get from you fellas. I can talk the talk much better than walking the walk. I'm still crawling here. ;)

    This forum has been a great source of info thus far. I'm planning to give back once I get going, but for now I'm all ears.
  9. PGSigns

    PGSigns Active Member

    Apr 1, 2005
    Here is what i would add to your list
    1) a couple of big squigies great for application tape and lots of other things.
    2) a big work bench, I started with a 3X6 and it fell short fast do a 4X8 and get a cut mat.
    3) 10 yard rolls of 651 in your basic colors, yellow, blue, red, black and silver. You will do well with these colors and it will give you the supplies you need for yard signs, banner and magnetics all good places to start.
    4) Rapid prep and rapid tac to use for cleaning and application. Will be your best frind until you get some practice.
  10. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    A 4x8 work table and easel ,, buy as you need other stuff
    thank you n enjoy life
  11. Shovelhead

    Shovelhead Major Contributor

    Dec 5, 2003
    The only thing a "nice long level" is good for....

    is beating non-paying customers.
  12. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

    Mar 25, 2006
    Mars Florida
    I'd suggest that you get your hands on everything related to operating a business profitably. Learn how to value your work and charge accordingly. Its ok to have fun being creative but don't undermine the industry or yourself by pricing your work to low. This is the biggest problem thats ruining the sign profession today.
  13. imaSIGNr

    imaSIGNr Very Active Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    The markers you asked about are either STABILO or STAEDLER marking pencils. Get some black ( or blue ) and white.
    Maybe get some clipart cd's. Fred has some on discount two threads down...
  14. Signsforwhile

    Signsforwhile Very Active Member

    Feb 17, 2006
    New York
    You missed one thing......

    .........a business plan!
  15. Checkers

    Checkers Very Active Member

    Jul 24, 2003
    SeeSigns beat me to it :)
    A good plan is the most important part of any business.
    Anither important thing you need is liability insurance.

  16. jagsouthern

    jagsouthern Member

    Apr 21, 2006
    Long ago I got tired of replacing soft table tops so I got thin sheets of sheetmetal for my tops. You can put grooves in them with your exacto but you won't EVER have to replace them. I don't do much vinyl anymore as we are all digital but the tables still get a workout. Best place to get the sheetmetal is a roofing supplier.

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