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pattern paper walks when plotting

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Hardware' started by tiredcreations, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. tiredcreations

    tiredcreations Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    I'm using a Roland cammjet 500 for making install patterns. Small patterns aren't a problem, but when I'm making long patterns it will eventually walk off the rollers.

    I've dealt with this problem for a long time & decided to ask for any tips.

    This particular pattern I'm trying to make is 46" wide & 18' long. I am using 48" wide paper. The paper roll is so heavy that it wrinkles the paper when pulling it off the rack/vinyl holder. To prevent this, cut the length of paper I need, roll it up, & feed it into the machine.

    I know the problem is its not a perfect roll, therefore it won't feed straight

    ugh! this is so hard to explain:covereyes:

    SO... I just keep starting over, try to straighten the roll, re-feed it, and hold the button to manually feed the paper through the rollers & watch to see if it walks.

    Sometimes it takes me half an hour to get it straight! What should I do?

    If it walks a quarter inch in 4 feet, thats a whole inch in 16' which may put me off the rollers & screw everything up. Is this just the life of a signmaker, deal with it?

    sorry such a long post, thanks.
  2. Sign Works

    Sign Works Very Active Member

    Nov 25, 2006
    Sacramento, CA
    When cutting your length of pattern paper try using some type of square or triangle such as a t-square to insure that you are cutting the edge a true square (90 degrees) to the edge, this should help with aligning the paper in the printer so that it tracks straight.

    I make my patterns on my Graphtec cutter, just replace the blade holder with a pen.
  3. Steve C.

    Steve C. Very Active Member

    May 22, 2003
    I make my patterns on butcher paper and have the same problem.
    I panel every thing at 24" on 24" paper. Plot short panels so the machine
    wont jump from the begenning to the end. I also pause the plotter when
    I see it getting off track and re position the paper. It's a pattern, so it doesnt
    need to be completly accurate.
  4. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    I'm with Steve on this one, there is no reason to run a pattern for 18' in one piece. I would run 3 sections of about 6', and would draw a line or some sort of registration marks at each end of your 6 foot sections. Plot the line at the end of one, and the start of the next, so you can tape them up exactly right.
  5. tiredcreations

    tiredcreations Member

    Dec 3, 2008
    I really wanted to avoid taping sections together. The masking tape weight adds up & I hang these on painted walls by myself from a lift, if the patterns get too heavy one end will fall while I'm at the opposite end:banghead:

    I guess I'm just making sure there isn't an easy trick. I think using a square to get a straight cut is a good start.

    Thanks guys. any other ideas would be great
  6. John L

    John L Very Active Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    You said they are install patterns... if they are for channel letters or cut out letters, you likely want it aligned pretty close to the design layout.

    For letters or graphics that large I would just plot short panels of 8-10 feet (4-6 feet if thats all that will track straight) and then clear tape it back together using the file as a basis of measuring the letter spacing, space up or down from the text baseline, etc.

    I don't understand the worry about the added weight of tape, I must have missed someting there. The roll of paper IS going to be heavy but after you have it all taped up and properly aligned in the shop... you can slice it apart in the field and put it up on the wall in sections if you are working alone.

    Layout the wall and the graphics/letter legend on the computer d so you know how to measure so far over... so far up... for the starting piece and mating pieces.
  7. signmeup

    signmeup Major Contributor

    May 5, 2005
    I thought it was only cheap Chinese plotters that you had to worry about tracking? I can get about 12 feet without much trouble on my machine but I have to take what I need off the roll of paper so the plotter doesn't have to yank it off the heavy roll......(that seems to make the wheels slip on paper.) I can't hang an 18 foot pattern by myself anyway, so I do them in sections with an alignment mark. I think you'll find your patterns are more accurate that way.
    Do some of the high end machines have a electric eye that watches the tracking and adjust it on the fly?
  8. bob

    bob Major Contributor

    Nov 4, 2005
    Deal with it.

    You're complaining about being off approximately one part in two hundred when feeding paper that you aligned visually. Not all that bad.

    The way around this is to square things up as much as humanly possible then plot a bounding rectangle around your pattern. Your pattern will be square to this rectangle, just trim the pattern to the rectangle.

    Doing it this way you only have to be concerned that your media is wide enough for both the pattern and the skew.
  9. Steve C.

    Steve C. Very Active Member

    May 22, 2003
    If it's an install pattern. We used to make them by laying the paper on the
    floor and spacing the letters on the paper, then draw around them. 4x18
    doesn't sound that hard to handle to me, I've done plenty of wall signs with
    patterns larger. If you can't handle it alone get a helper. for heavy patterns
    stick them up with duct tape to keep them from coming loose.
  10. CS-SignSupply

    CS-SignSupply Very Active Member

    Thicker weight papers do not walk as much. Less flexibility.
  11. OldPaint

    OldPaint Major Contributor

    its all in how you align it to start with................iam not being a wise *** either.
    i had an old PNC-1000 and PNC-1100'S and ive run patters on both up to 20 FT....
    i saved the backing paper from the vinyl.........turned it over, and you can draw on the back side!!!!!!
    but then again iam with steve and doug, you could split that in half and have 2 10 FT pieces of paper and only have 1 TAPED CONNECTION......18 ft of a pattern is gona take 3-4 people to hang it.....whereas 2 people can hang a 9 ft!!!!