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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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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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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Rodney,
Have you done any other vinyl work since this post?
No, I've had a minor heat press setback :)

I have some flock here that I just bought from Imprintables that I want to try, as well as the plastisol transfers samples that I need to test.

Just waiting to get my electricity issue fixed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
hey robin,
i've been reading your posts and have a question for you. i have a roland gx 24 and have been making shirts but i also wish to do more signs and vehicle graphics.. vinyl only not printed on vinyl. do you recommend any reading on the how to's? i would appreciate any help.
thanks m
You can find info on signs and vinyl decals by searching the forum for this info. Lots of tips here: http://www.t-shirtforums.com/tags/decals/

http://www.t-shirtforums.com/tags/signs/
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
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