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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone!

I know there's a gazillion wall decal business out there, but I really want to give this a go. I am a former graphic designer (20 years) and also a mom. I was looking at wall decor ideas for my boys the other day and saw some Pottery Barn ones which got my gears turning. I've been looking at a lot of other decal sites and I feel like there are some areas that I could fill in. I love to draw and I know Illy and Corel like the back of my hand. I also worked at a sign shop a long time ago, so I've run a cutter before and weeded, etc. I currently own a successful home-based specialty food business, but I'm not sure I want to continue it much longer. I'd really like to have a business that is creative yet not as risky as food.

Anyway, I'd really like advice on a budget cutter. I'd like to cut vinyl 4 feet wide or more. People keep directing me to the Roland 24" because of the optical eyes, but it's too small. Do I really need the optical eyes if I'm not registering anything? I plan to do one and 2-color decals, and the 2nd color probably won't need to be registered - i.e. leaves placed randomly at the end of tree branches by the person applying.

I see some by US Cutter on eBay. There's a 53" for $449.99. Would something like that work? I can go a little higher if need be. I don't want to invest too much before I know if this business is going to fly or not. Once things get going, I'd be more than happy to spend $5-10k on a really high-quality machine.

Any recommendations for a budget cutter to start out with would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!! :)
 

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Do I really need the optical eyes if I'm not registering anything?
No, you really do not.


I see some by US Cutter on eBay. There's a 53" for $449.99. Would something like that work?
Are you sure on that price? I could not find this cutter on the US Cutter site.

Is it a PCUT series? If so, it is important to mention that you are not really able to set these cutters up as a printer in windows. This means that you must run them off of software that supports the cutters, like Signblazer Elements.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, you really do not.
Okay, thanks!

Are you sure on that price? I could not find this cutter on the US Cutter site. Is it a PCUT series? If so, it is important to mention that you are not really able to set these cutters up as a printer in windows. This means that you must run them off of software that supports the cutters, like Signblazer Elements.
It's on eBay and doesn't say what model it is.

USCutter 53" Decal/Tint/Vinyl Cutter w/ Stand 48/50/54 - eBay (item 300319451936 end time Apr-27-10 14:30:29 PDT)

It does mention Signblazer Elements though. I probably can't run that on my Mac can I? Can you recommend a large format cutter that I could cut from my Mac? It would be great to just cut from Illustrator, but I also wouldn't mind too much if I had to export out of Illy and import into a sign program. Not a big deal for now.

Thank you!!!! Very helpful.
 

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I know US CUTTER indicates on their web site that they do support Mac. I would give them a call or email asking them about Mac support. I am not sure if SignBlazer Elements works on a Mac or not.
 

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For wall words you don't need an optical eye...the eye is only for contour cutting or cutting out a printed image.....for multiple colors you set up registration marks that are cut into the vinyl and you line up when applying.


I have 2 of the machines you re looking at if they are the MH or refine series...I have the 34" versions though, and they have served me very well. Some peoople have had problems with wavy cuts with them recently, so beware of that, and talk with them about mac compatibility.

Buy the best you can afford.....if you can pony up the money for a copam from uscutter (think they have a large version) that is the direction I would go.....its a far superior machine to the refine. The refines will cut good, but they require time to dial in, and you will have more headaches over time especially if you are doing any kind of small stuff with them. As with anything cheap there is a bit of risk with buying a cheaper cutter....It has worked out well for me, others it has not.

No matter what cutter you get....I recommend clean cut blades...google them, great people to deal with and their blades are amazing...huge difference over stock to those of us who cut alot of vinyl.

I know you have your heart set on a large cutter...but honestly a smaller cutter would allow you to get into business much faster, and you can upgrade if there is a demand. I cut alot of wall words....95% of things ordered can be done with a 24" cutter. To take advantage of a larger cutter, you have to buy the large rolls of vinyl, which costs alot more. Its better IMO to have more colors of shorter rolls starting out. I run a 30" cutter and vinyl, and have had to tile like 4 jobs in the last year because it wasn't big enough.

Good luck with your decision, its difficult to carve out a niche in the wall words business.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
tlzimmerman - Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! I appreciate the info. That's very helpful. Yeah, I agree about carving a niche. I don't plan to do many word things, mostly fun, cartoon-y drawings for kids rooms. I also agree about the vinyl expense and was thinking that myself. The big stuff is over $50 a roll. Thank you!!
 

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I know this is old, but A GCC Expert Pro 54" will probably serve you well. Not sure on the price though for that size but the 24" model is only $1000 for the Pro with the servo motor.
 
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