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New guy, old questions

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by JThw8, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. JThw8

    JThw8 New Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Well, questions about old equipment anyway.
    Im not a signmaker, just a hobbyist who wanted to try my hand at making some vinyl graphics for my cars and such. I was looking at some smaller entry level (I guess they are entry level) machines like the Roland SX 12 or 15

    But I happened across a Gerber 4b with 20 or so font cartridges and about 3 dozen rolls of vinyl and it followed me home.

    So since Im interested in doing graphics I really need to interface this to a PC. I doesnt currently have an interface card (like an LMK or unilink) and it looks like they arent cheap if you can find them.

    I guess my questions are
    a) are there any cost effective alternatives to hook this up to a PC?
    b) Would I be better off trying to sell/trade this to someone who could put it to proper use and getting the roland?
    c) if the answer to b is yes, is the value of this machine with its font cartridges enough to make a trade for a Roland sx 15 (or something similar) attractive to someone? aka, what is the value of this machine?

    Either way Im actually looking forward to just trying it out. I used some old cutters back when I was in the military and it was always a challenge to "work blind" on machines like this, but an interesting challenge.

    So, thanks for tolerating a newbie and his questions!

  2. 2NinerNiner2

    2NinerNiner2 Very Active Member

    Mar 21, 2006
    Calgary, AB
    Bonjour de Montréal, Jim and welcome to Signs 101 :) Sorry that I can't be of assistance with the Gerber issue.
  3. JThw8

    JThw8 New Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Thank you for the welcome :)
    I'm sure I will figure it all out. If nothing else I will use the machine for letters and numbers and save up for something else to do graphics.
  4. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    Do you have the "symbol" font?

    I used a 4B & by programing the x and y moves... using the diagonal line, quarter-round... & various other basic shapes (arrows stars, etc) it was fun to create more complex layouts with borders, reverse panels, even simple shaped geometric based logos. In my case this ocurred after some years spent with full blown scanning, vectorizing & designing software... so it was still frustrating at times, to be so limited at that job.. but at least I was on the clock.

    So, to cut letters, numbers, simple shapes... & to enjoy a "challenge".. the 4B is the ticket.. but if you want to get anything done at a level anywhere close to what other people are doing... then that 'challenge" becomes a waste of time IMO

    I've often heard of the LMK thingamajig... but I don't know exactly what it does... will it allow your 4B to cut any graphic shapes you can design in contemporary graphics software? Even if the answer is yes... I would think an inexpensive 24" friction feed plotter would be an efficient way to do more things, at more sizes, & using a wider variety of available materials. (unpunched... or scraps)
  5. Colin

    Colin Major Contributor

    Sep 16, 2004
    Those old 4Bs are/were very reliable and cut nicely (as they are tengential), and are thus good for for cutting sand-blast rubber.

    But, they are painfully slow. I hadn't seen one in operation for several years, and when I did, I couldn't believe how slow it was compared to today's cutters.
  6. JThw8

    JThw8 New Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    I do have the symbol font, I was just running it actually finding out what each symbol was corresponding to the keyboard letter (I dont have any charts for the fonts)

    I have 23 fonts with it so lots to play with.

    The LMK will let the 4B connect to a computer and act just like a normal plotter, albeit slow. At least that is my understanding.

    The speed doesnt bother me, as I said, this isnt my profession, just something I wanted to play with. But some of the graphics I want to do will just be next to impossible to plot out on this so I will probably eventually move on to something else. But for the price I got more vinyl than I may ever know what to do with and the machine works excellent so it will be good for lettering still. I just dont have even the $400-$500 for a cheap machine right now, especially for something that is hobby use and not going to be used to make money.

    And thanks to everyone for tolerating me as an "outsider". In reading this and other message boards and beginning to understand the level of detail that true professionals put into layouts and design had greatly expanded my appreciation of what you do. I can't drive down the road and see a lettered truck without thinking about the work that went into the overall design and such.
  7. Colin

    Colin Major Contributor

    Sep 16, 2004
    Caution up on the vinyl you got. If it's a few years old (or more), it's likely to have gotten past its useability. Vinyl has a shelf life. That shelf life varies a bit from brand to brand and the temperature it's been stored at, but if it's quite old, it won't stick properly.
  8. The Big Squeegee

    The Big Squeegee Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2005
    Lawton, OK, USA

    It is harder to cut and weed too!
    :Welcome: TO :signs101:
    from Arkansas
  9. uneedasign

    uneedasign Active Member

    Jun 24, 2005
    Palm Desert CA
  10. sunco

    sunco New Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Put the 4b up on ebay, people still bid a few hundred dollars for those things, why, I dont know. Then you can use that money, plus a little more to buy an inexpensive new plotter with sign software.
    It seems the trick on ebay is to make it sound as wonderful as posible.
    Good luck, FRED
  11. Git-R-Done

    Git-R-Done Member

    Mar 31, 2005
    Welcome from Chicago!
  12. sandblast_dude

    sandblast_dude Member

    Feb 1, 2006
    Welcome to Signs101
  13. ENTDesign

    ENTDesign Very Active Member

    May 12, 2005

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