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Discussion Starter #1
I am getting ready to invest in some sort of rhinestone application setup. I have browsed the forum here looking for specific answers to my questions, but haven't seemed to find what I'm looking for. We operate an embroidery shop and outsource our screen printing. I have spoken with our screen printer and they have agreed to work with me to get rhinestone templates cut using their commercial vinyl cutter. They have never done this before, but are willing to learn. We have a great working relationship, so I am confident it will be a positive experience for both of us....however...

My question is if it would be more worthwhile to use $1K of our own capital to invest in lower cost/lower volume equipment so I could do the cutting and embellishing in our own shop. I think we're going to go for the SunIE heat press, but I'm truly stumped over which cutter to get and the pricing seems to be all over the map.

I'm wondering if anyone can truly vouch for the Silhouette as it is used in a commercial setting. I don't think rhinestones are going to be the cash cow for our business, so I'm not looking at building an entire department around that application. Our plans are to service our school and team accounts that have requested rhinestone apparel and to vend school and team apparel at the craft shows in our area this fall.

1. Will the Silhouette be able to handle say 50-100 templates per year?
2. Is there a wholesale source for supplies? I have a wholesale source for the stones, but would like direction as to a preferred source for the template materials.
3. Is there anyone who went the less expensive route who regrets not going with machinery more suited to a commercial environment?

Thanks so much, and WOW the things I have learned since joining this forum!!
 

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Hi Sandy!

I don't know if you've been reading the Funtime post here, but I just tested out my Silhouette SD on Hartco sandmask and it worked just fine. Here's the video I made:

Cutting a Rhinestone Template on a Silhouette

My biggest hesitation in recommending you go with the Silhouette is that it hasn't been tested on enough patterns to know for sure whether or not it will have problems with, say, a 1000 circle pattern or more.

Also, I'm not sure the warranty on the Silhouette covers commercial applications. Some of the other hobby-targeted machines specifically state that only personal use of the machine is covered. So, definitely take that into consideration. There are other lower-priced cutters, like the Klic-N-Kut, which will be covered for commerical applications and can handle large patterns.

The other reason to consider a different brand of cutter is that the Silhouette is a low-force machine. While it can handle the rhinestone materials, you might want to use your cutter for something else in the future, such as cutting fabric appliques, Mylar stencils, or even craft foam.

You might want to check out buying a used die cutter, as well. There's almost always someone selling a used 9" KNK Element to upgrade to a Maxx, so you could probably get one of those for the same price as buying a new Silhouette with Funtime, and have a 500g machine versus a 230g machine,
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Very good information...and yes, fabric applique is on the radar. Actually, I have one of the original Cricut machines that I can cut applique pieces on in low quantities. It does OK, but definitely not for real commercial use.

What about software? I am brand new to cutting machines, but I'm guessing they only work with vector images?? Also, are the cutters file format specific or will they accept all major vector file formats?
 

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Very good information...and yes, fabric applique is on the radar. Actually, I have one of the original Cricut machines that I can cut applique pieces on in low quantities. It does OK, but definitely not for real commercial use.

What about software? I am brand new to cutting machines, but I'm guessing they only work with vector images?? Also, are the cutters file format specific or will they accept all major vector file formats?
To get great fabric cutting, you need to use a specific blade. Here's what I use to cut fabric:

Fabric Blade

Both Funtime and KNK Studio will import the most common raster and vector formats, but your image needs to be a vector in order to cut. Both programs have auto-tracing and manual tracing functionality so that you can easily convert your raster images.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Excellent! I just spoke with a rep for KNK and they were very helpful. They said they don't currently have any refurbished machines, so I'm wondering if you know of a site where I can possibly find a used machine. Are those listings here on this forum?
 

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I love my KNK Groove-E cutter and the knk studio software!
Plus, lots of free videos from SandyMcC including "how to" Rhinestone videos!
:)

I also use the FUNTIME 2010 software.(I am a beginner w/ this software)
It cuts to my KNK Groove-E as well as to my Graphtec CE-5000-60!
:)
There are videos for the Funtime 2010 software too.
 

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I have a knk max 24 and love it. I am an embroiderer who as added in rhinestones . It does a great job cutting the templates. The force is great - I have just been approached to do appliques for a store here in town and you will get great training from Sandy
 
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