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INTRO

I got all my equipment safely delivered from Imprintables Warehouse (the heat press box is BIG...delivered on an 18 wheeler):


The last couple of days I've been getting to know my new Roland GX-24 Vinyl Cutter. I don't know all its secrets yet, but we're getting to be good friends :)

SETTING UP THE STAND


First I setup the stand for the cutter. I should preface this with the fact that I am not "mechanically inclined". I can build a website, but I can't install a ceiling fan. I can install software, but I can't build a computer.

For some reason, my wife is a natural "fixer". I guess that's why we're great together. I break things and she knows how to fix them :)

So I decided to tackle setting up the cutter stand myself. It wasn't really that hard. They included all the tools needed, and there were only 4-5 steps.

Still, it took me about an hour to go from this:



To this:



Then I opened up the box to the vinyl cutter:



Took it out and hooked it up to the stand:


(pretty shiny, huh?)

INSTALLING THE DRIVERS AND CUTSTUDIO

Next, I wheeled it into my office, and started to install the Roland drivers on my PC with Windows XP.

The driver installation went pretty smooth. I think there was a small typo in the instruction booklet where it tells you which menu option on the CD to click to start the driver installation, but the visuals were pretty self explanatory.

I did get a bit worried about when I was supposed to plugin the USB cord. The manual had all these warnings about not hooking up the USB cord until the driver installation specificially asked me to. When I got to the part where I was supposed to plugin the USB cord, I didn't think it was specific enough, so I had to reread it a few times. But I plugged it in and it installed just fine :)

I installed CutStudio and the CutStudio CorelDraw plugin. The CD that came with the cutter only had a plugin for up to CorelDraw 12 (I have CorelDraw X3).

After a bit of Googling and forum searching, I found the CorelDraw X3 plugin for CutStudio (version 1.10) on the Roland website (and version 1.23 of CutStudio standalone program).

INSTALLING THE BLADE

The manual that came with the cutter was actually pretty well written. It walked me step by step through my first test cut.

First I had to install the cutter blade. This sounded a lot more challenging than it was. When I read posts here about changing blades, adjusting the cut depth, it sounded (to me) like a pretty complicated process.

The blade is actually a small cylindrical thing (maybe as long as a thumbnail) that slips easily into this handy dandy blade holder. I had imagined razor blades and special handling gloves, but it was nothing of the sort.

MAKING MY FIRST TEST CUT


The cutter came with an 8 1/2 by 11" sheet of test vinyl to use for the first cut and for adjusting the blade depth.

I just insert the test vinyl, align it in the cutter, and press a "TEST" button on the cutter for a couple of seconds. The cutter then zipped around for a couple of seconds and finished the test cut (a square within a circle) that helped determine if the blade is cutting deep enough.

The Roland has an LCD control panel that allows you to easily adjust the blade force.

After I got the blade working as the instructions said it should (so it cuts the through the vinyl, and just faintly touches the backing), I made my first "sticker".




It's hard to see in the photograph, but above the 3 test cuts I did, there's a rectangle with the word SALE in it. I just followed the instructions. Typed the word SALE in the CutStudio program, drew a rectangle around it and clicked the button that sent it to the cutter.

The cutter package included this application sticky paper that you use to apply the vinyl sticker to whatever surface you need.



I stuck mine to my office fan. With the clear application paper, it was easy to apply:


QUESTION:

One thing I don't understand is if you're selling vinyl signs/cut stickers to customers via mail, how do you make sure that the other sticky side of the application paper doesn't get stuck to the mailing envelope? I'm guessing there is a different type paper for used for mailing cut vinyl?
After that successful run, I was feeling ambitious, so I decided to make a t-shirt...

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/t-shirt-crossover-diary-heat-press-newbie/t10363.html
 

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QUESTION:


One thing I don't understand is if you're selling vinyl signs/cut stickers to customers via mail, how do you make sure that the other sticky side of the application paper doesn't get stuck to the mailing envelope? I'm guessing there is a different type paper for used for mailing cut vinyl?​
After that successful run, I was feeling ambitious, so I decided to make a t-shirt...
Rodney...do your cut, remove and weed the vinyl. Add the application tape over the top of both the vinyl and remainder of the backing and trim it then send it.

Customer removes the backing when they apply the sticker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rodney...do your cut, remove and weed the vinyl. Add the application tape over the top of both the vinyl and remainder of the backing and trim it then send it.
So the application tape goes over both the top and bottom? Does it make it hard to remove from the bottom (the vinyl doesn't peel off)? Or is there some type of paper that goes on the bottom that sticks to the application tape?

Do they sell different standard sizes of application tape (and backing)? Or is it something that's always cut to order for each sticker/sign application?

Sorry for all the questions :)
 

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So the application tape goes over both the top and bottom? Does it make it hard to remove from the bottom (the vinyl doesn't peel off)? Or is there some type of paper that goes on the bottom that sticks to the application tape?

Do they sell different standard sizes of application tape (and backing)? Or is it something that's always cut to order for each sticker/sign application?

Sorry for all the questions :)
The backing for the vinyl has a gloss coating so the transfer tape will peel easily. They do sell different sizes of transfer tape as well as vinyl. 24", 18" and 4" I have actually used. They also sell clear transfer tape which I think you have and a non clear yellow tape. The clear is perfect for small stickers because it lets folks actually see the product. The right size tape for the right application.

If you are cutting your company stickers ...just set up multiples on your cutting software. Try and space them close but not so close you cant trim them with a paper cutter.

Cut the whole group out of 24" vinyl and then weed them. I would start with small multiples at first to get used to weeding...you dont want that vinyl to fall on other vinyl cause it will stick like mad. Once you have everything weeded just cover the entire sheet with transfer tape and use your squeege to remove the air pockets. Use the squeege from the inside to the outside starting from the center...do it one direction and then the other.

Once everything is down you can trim the decals into individuals with a large blade table top paper cutter
 

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Do they sell different standard sizes of application tape ...
Take a look at www.fellers.com for outdoor vinyl and supplies. (You may want to get on the catalog mailing list).

Download the pdf catalog and look on pages 42 to 45 for application tape.

You want to practice with the smaller sizes before you try to stick down the 12" wide tape.

I have 4", 6", and 12" rolls that cover what I need.
 

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Rodney, the backing paper is part of the vinyl roll. You cut and weed the top vinyl, then the application tape goes on top of the vinyl and the backing paper. There are some pictures of how to apply the vinyl decals on this site.
 

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Congrats on your new cutter!!! We have the same one (from the same place) lol

Im sure Dave, and John and some of the others who are also sign guys have their fav transfer tape for specific jobs. I found my fav by picking up samples at the trade shows. Ive also found some that I wont even take if they are offering it for free! Good Luck experimenting! Have fun!
 

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I'm sorry if I did this wrong by posting on here. I Have a Roland MH 721 and I bought Siigncut X2 LE and bought also coraldraw X3 Well I found clipart on the net and now where do I go from there any clues, I want to vectorize and send to signcut X2 LE but dont really know how. Whats happening is that I can get the image to show up on coraldraw and make the image black and white. So then I go to signcut and open that file and the image is outlined twice. So two layers but when I put it on signcut it changes to one layer. So when I go to cut it, I'm just wasting that other layer. I want to be able to change it with another color. Well please help Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Robin said:
Im sure Dave, and John and some of the others who are also sign guys have their fav transfer tape for specific jobs. I found my fav by picking up samples at the trade shows. Ive also found some that I wont even take if they are offering it for free!
What's your favorite tape, Robin? And which one wouldn't you touch with a 10 foot pole :) ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
woodinthe909 said:
I'm sorry if I did this wrong by posting on here. I Have a Roland MH 721 and I bought Siigncut X2 LE and bought also coraldraw X3 Well I found clipart on the net and now where do I go from there any clues, I want to vectorize and send to signcut X2 LE but dont really know how. Whats happening is that I can get the image to show up on coraldraw and make the image black and white. So then I go to signcut and open that file and the image is outlined twice. So two layers but when I put it on signcut it changes to one layer. So when I go to cut it, I'm just wasting that other layer. I want to be able to change it with another color. Well please help Thanks
Hey Scott, I wish I could help you with that one, but I'm still new at this :)

Maybe one of our other members who use signcut or do 2 color vinyl jobs might have an answer.

Just in case you don't get the answer here, you might try posting it in the Vinyl Cutter/Vinyl Transfers section of the forum here.
 

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HI.. I have a sign, banner, graphic's etc store.. We use application tape everyday.. for most applications we use TransferRite tape. It looks like masking tape and comes in a 48inch wide roll. Its availible at most sign supply stores. The supply place i use cuts that roll into differant widths for us, we figure out what widths we need at the time and get them to equal out to the 48" but you can also buy it in just the width you want.. say 12 inches.. But if you are gonna do much with the vinyl it is more cost effective to get a whole roll and have it cut up.. we have ours cut anywhere from one inch to 18 inches...

We also have a clear application tape we use for some applications, but mainly we do that for printed stickers we sell. Its also made by transfer rite.

I know you will find loads of interesting creative things to make with your roland cutter. We have a graphtec plotter and the roland versacamm 540v that prints and cuts. But have not used either of them to make t-shirts yet.
 

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I love the "R" Tape ....rtape.com Love it!!! and the clear conform tape too. I havent used the clear a whole lot, but like what Ive used it for. The stuff I threatened my to wrap my dh in if he ever bought it again (seriously...the air is blue from much cussing when I use this stuff) is main tape. (especially the clear maintape)

When you find your fav squeegee....guard it, then find more, and stash them all over!!! Dh is threatened often :D He isnt the installer, I am.......so he doesnt get it :rolleyes:
 

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TransferRite tape. .
another tape I wont touch with a 10ft pole......I have had alot of trouble getting the vinyl to adhere to the tape. I spend more time getting the graphics on the tape than I do anything else.

Ive read and heard alot of folks love this stuff....but for whatever reason it doesnt want to co-operate with me.
 

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Robin we have no trouble at all getting it to adhere.. hmmm.. mite be a climate or humity thing with the differance of where we live.. Also it comes in differant tacks and we get the high tac one.. ..
i just lay it down with my big squeegie and then use the regular squeegie to set it good ..

my problem with any and all of the clear tapes i have tried is the static electricity they create...

now for squeegiesssssssss lol.. 3M Gold ones are the best..
and always make sure they are smooth on the edge.. ..
and don't forget to get a pick for weeding ...
Robin.. i do 99% of the applications at our shop too.. so.. i hear ya.. and B just dont understand.. when i complain that i need new squeegies or whatever lol..

ooo and gotta have a few felt squeegies too.. .. lol..
 

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my problem with any and all of the clear tapes i have tried is the static electricity they create...

now for squeegiesssssssss lol.. 3M Gold ones are the best..
and always make sure they are smooth on the edge.. ..
and don't forget to get a pick for weeding ...
Robin.. i do 99% of the applications at our shop too.. so.. i hear ya.. and B just dont understand.. when i complain that i need new squeegies or whatever lol..

ooo and gotta have a few felt squeegies too.. .. lol..
lol
oh!! and blades too Rodney get some good sharp blades for your exacto...hide them around too and guard them!!

are you getting the impression that us installers are very territorial???:p
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
are you getting the impression that us installers are very territorial???
hehe, I'm getting the feeling that you know what you like :) I didn't think about getting a squeegee to help press out the air. I'll definitely look into getting one of those when I transition from testing newbie to actual production :)
 

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Rodney.. there are alot of little tricks and tips to cutting vinyl for stickers etc.. encluding how to lay the transfer tape.. how to apply.. etc..
If you want any of the tips posted let me know..

I work with vinyl every day.. encluding doing everything from small stickers to 4' x 8' (or bigger) signs. and even car wraps.. so there are tricks that can benifit anyone trying vinyl that im sure some of us would share..
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Rodney.. there are alot of little tricks and tips to cutting vinyl for stickers etc.. encluding how to lay the transfer tape.. how to apply.. etc..
If you want any of the tips posted let me know..
Heck yeah, I'd love to see the tips posted :)

Especially how to lay the transfer tape and how to apply to the end location.

I work with vinyl every day.. encluding doing everything from small stickers to 4' x 8' (or bigger) signs. and even car wraps..
I'd love to hear more about car wraps as well...I'm seeing this more and more lately in my local area.
 
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