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Masters 24" - Any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Plotters' started by Bigdawg, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    We are definite newbies to the vinyl cutting business. Mostly we are a graphic design firm. The bulk of our vinyl business will be small (6" or smaller) vinyl decals and lettering, with some (few) larger graphics as needed. Some of it fairly intricate. Won't be doing large signs or windows any time soon. For the price ($700-$800) the masters looks like it will be a good beginning cutter for us - but give us the flexibility to cut larger if needed. We needed a cutter originally to cut thermoflex for shirts (and will still be doing that), but have found that we have a pretty wide open market for small graphics and there seems to be a need - but this is about all the money we can invest right now. I really can't afford to spend any more than the $800 - but we got to get something going and we have the orders to at least start out.
    Does anyone have any experience with these machines? Or the EasySign software that comes with it? I have read good reviews by people that have them, but then in the forums they seem to get pretty trashed when people ask what to buy.Tried a used 15" roland and it didn't work out too well for us... whether it's the machine or the drivers we have not been able to get it to consistently cut correctly for us and we have no tech support. So... if this isn't a good idea (heavily leaning toward getting it as opposed to getting a used something else) can anyone tell me specifically why? Or if it's good please let me know that too. Thanks for your input!
     
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  2. WVB

    WVB Very Active Member

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    To cut thermoflex you will need a machine with capable downforce to cut such. Make sure this machine has the correct amount of downforce. Example would be lets say you need 225 of downforce to cut x material. Do not get a machine that has a max amount of downforce of 225 or 250. Also the stika's are very basic, and are for hobbiest only. They really do not have the correct amount of downforce or adjustments to be used for such as you will be using it for. I have never used a Masters, but have heard both good and bad. Bad being very slow machine, tracking issues, not completing a cut, and driver issues with various software titles. Not to mention very noisey. On the good side it does good for the money you paid for it. Being you only pay $800 for a cutter we generally pay $2000 for, kinda makes ya wonder how good it really is. It is just like you say, the owners of the machine seem to like it, however when the question arrises to purchase one it generally is a negative.
     
  3. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    Thanks Will for the advice. This has 500 downforce - supposed to be able to cut magnetic material but I don't think we'll test it that far!! I went ahead and ordered it this afternoon. Paid for it on my credit card so if it really is junk I can invoke the protection the card gives me to send it back - although it has a year warrantly on it. Software is supposed to allow me to cut from Illustrator, so we'll see. I'll post how it goes - not seen much about it on the forum and we are about as novice as they come in this area!
    -Stacy
     
  4. Graphic Language

    Graphic Language Member

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    we've got a master xy-300p that we use a a backup and when we go mobile. Gutting thermoflex with it is a piece of cake... set the downforce to about 110 and you're good to go. We use lots of thermoflex.

    As for the magnetic material.. well.. it'll do it... we've tried it, but don't make a habbit of using it for that. I can't imagine that it's too healthy for it. When we do use it for that, we have it just cut part way through the mag material and then bend the material so that the cut out comes loose.

    It's noisey (stepper motor) and we had one die shortly after we got it. We can get ours to track OK now, but don't count n it for really long runs... as soon as you get it to track right, put a strip of vinyl on the front so you can line it up in the same place again.

    Our's came with Win PC Sign software... OK for basic lettering. You can cut directly out of Corel with it, but it cuts from the left side and the printer defaults to the right, so you have to re-home the print head every time you reset it or power it off.

    It's not a bad unit, but plan on upgrading to a new one after this one makes you some money and then have it as a spare or when you get busy and need a second cutter going.

    Oh ya.. if you're going to use a USB dongle to hook up to the serial, let me know and I'll help you get it going... it was bit of a trial and error to get it working.

    I hope you delt with June up there at Desay.. Dave is a PITA. We had troubles with him when our original one died.

    Bryce
     
  5. South End Signs

    South End Signs Member

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    I almost made the mistake of buying from Desay, got nervous when I wasn't getting straight answers about shipping dates and other stuff after sending a bank transfer for payment.

    I got a refund and called Blair at Corbin Graphics in Edmonton AB to order a Creation Pcut 630 or a Raven as they call it. I've been more than pleased with it and they've provided more customer support assistance than I thought I'd ever receive from a company for a few minor issues that came up, especially when my purchase wasn't a top of the line, gold plated machine.

    Their number is 1-877-900-3344 (ask for Blair or George) or their website is www.corbingraphics.com

    Jean-Claude
     
  6. rockongraphix

    rockongraphix Member

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    i use the master 32" with fleix starter , everything has been going good , had a problem with it going off a few time when i just got it , but now everything has been going better , i use it about 1-2 hours a day for orders.

    Michael
    Rockongraphix
     
  7. Leondo

    Leondo Member

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    I have a master 24" and its been good to me (so far) *knocks on wood*

    only thing i dont like about it is its very noisey!!! and sounds like its breaking down when it does big long jobs but thats just the normal noise it makes, i think i was waking up the neighbors when i lived at my apartment. :Big Laugh

    I wish i got the easy sign software if it cuts directly from corel but instead got the flexi starter and do not like it. all i use that for is cutting, i just copy and paste from corel to flexi and cut from there. Only thing thats not good about it is the resizing issue, i still havent tried doing 2 color jobs and kinda scared because of that sizing problem.

    Let us know if easysign works well because ill just try to return flexi starter and get that instead.
     
  8. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    Thanks all for your input. We called Desay several times before we bought it - dealt with Shirley. Answered all our questions - didn't act like we were bugging them - had a shipping number when I got to work this morning so that part has been a good experience. One of the questions we asked was about it's ability to cut from Illustrator 9 and Shirley is the one that told me I would probably want Easysign instead of flexi (same price). I had heard it is noisey but for now we will deal with it - I don't think we will use it outside the shop and we have an isolated room where we can put it. I realize this is just a starter machine and will be saving my pennies for a printer/cutter - there is a REAL need for that around here! Maybe if I'm a good girl Santa will bring me one for Christmas...

    We should get the machine Monday... will let y'all know how it (and the software) works! Again, thanks for all your input - it is appreciated!

    -Stacy
     
  9. Leondo

    Leondo Member

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    it = Flexi

    Sorry just caught that and confused myself, the cutter doesnt resize files, Flexi does.:wine-smi:
     
  10. South End Signs

    South End Signs Member

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    They aren't as noisy as the old Gerber 4B's and Sprints. The noise from my Pcut machine is mostly the blower when its turned on, cutting is pretty quiet compared to other machines using stepper motors like the old Gerbers did. No need to wear earplugs or anything :) Good Luck!

    Jean-Claude
     
  11. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    YEAH!!! My new cutter just got here - EARLY!! Husband is putting stand together now... so at least I will have the weekend to get the (basic) hang of it. It was well packed and looks good so far - going to install the software and see what kind of pain that is going to be. I am SO EXCITED!!! Now we'll see if it lives up to my expectations... here we go!
    -Stacy
     
  12. TC49010

    TC49010 Active Member

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    Got my fingers and toes crossed for you!!!

    Trixie
    :thumb:
     
  13. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    Yeeeee haaaaaaa!!! Got the cutter going - stand was a PITA to assemble but it works well, got everything hooked up (one minor glitch but tech support email pix on how to fix here - internal cable to LCD came undone). We are some cuttin' fools at this point. Software works well - when I finish something in Illustrator, I click a menu and it shoots everything over to EasySign as is. Now just have to figure out how to fine tune the plotter controls. Can anyone recommend an online "How to cut vinyl for the complete idiot" lesson or maybe y'all can help. We're cutting reasonably good, not cutting through the backing, but I don't understand the whole "downforce" setting and exactly what it does as opposed to adjusting the blade. And other than the obvious speed reasons - why would you want to drop the speed down when cutting and how does it affect the cut? I know these are very elementary question, but I never claimed to know what I was doing... yet!
    Thanks for the good wishes Trixie!
    Stacy
     
  14. South End Signs

    South End Signs Member

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    Downforce is the amount of pressure (or weight) being put on the blade as it cuts through the material. The old Gerbers used sets of stacking weights to accomplish this task. My PCut machine is similar to yours and for 3mil vinyl I've got it set at 68 if not mistaken. You'll need to play around with different material types and keep a log of what the best setting was. Just do a test cut instead of wasting material on unknown materials.

    The blade setting or depth should be that it cuts through the vinyl completly so you can weed it but not so much that you cut into the backing paper as paper fibers and weeding don't mix real well.

    I slow my cutter way down when cutting fancy (ie. narrow script fonts or swirls for stripping) or small stuff (less than 1/2") than as it prevents the vinyl from getting torn and distorted.

    Hope this helps in some way. Enjoy the weekend of playing with the new "toy"!

    Jean-Claude
     
  15. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

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    Slowing the plotter down helps to reduce backlash and overshoot errors and is particularly useful with materials that require more weight (downforce) to cut. Slowing the plotter down also reduces the amount of weight needed to accomplish a cut.

    Too much speed is also the cause of poorly cut start end points. When the blade lowers it must pierce the film before it begins moving to have a clean starting point cut. When the plotter is moving too fast, partial cuts are not unusual.
     
  16. Bigdawg

    Bigdawg Just Me

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    Thanks for the info guys, we're still learning to fine-tune this cutter, but have been doing very well with it. I know I said we wouldn't be cutting anything large with it, but we have windows all around our front office with extremely high visibility (across from the post office) so we decided, what the hell - we'll do our windows. Did the small door piece first and it went good, but boy did we learn how much we DON'T know about application of large pieces! There were two 63" x 91" windows. Luckily we had a friend with experience that came in and saved our butts by showing us how to line up and properly apply. I have a whole new respect for y'all that do the large pieces!!! Biggest thing we learned is that we have a lot to learn!!

    We are real pleased with the cutter itself - yeah, it is pretty noisey but the cuts are good and easy to weed. The EasySign software is okay, but I can't get it to cut from Illustrator yet and haven't had time to get with tech support to find out why so I have just been importing my Illustrator files into EasySign and cutting from there. Thanks again for the help and info everyone has provided!

    -Stacy
     
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