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I am thinking about starting up a t-shirt business that prints basic text onto t-shirts. (Text will be somewhat funny, if all things go as planned). From what I've gathered I'm going to need a vinyl cutter and vinyl to proceed, so my questions are:

1. Which vinyl cutter is recommended? I'm working with a budget under $500.

2. Where do I get aforementioned vinyl cutter and vinyl.

3. Any good sites to learn how to operate the vinyl cutter?

Thanks guys (Trust me, I've been searching for the last 3 hours, nothing specifically addresses these problems).
 

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One cutter for under $500 is a Roland Stika (several sizes)
It may not be big enough for your needs. Does not have optical eye which you might need. And not for heavy use. www.rolanddga.com

I found a lot of information by going to signmaking message boards... signs101.com and signweb.com come to mind. Be warned that if you post there and you are not a signmaker, you may not get a warm welcome. So just search and read.

A few people here have posted about vinyl cutters (cutting plotters)
but it took some plowing through posts.

Also, Graphtec has come out with a hobby-level cutter.
http://craftrobo.com/

And information at sign supply stores (they have less expensive brands)
www.signwarehouse.com
or www.signsupply.com
 

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edit... I didn't notice suzieh's reply since I was sidetracked a bit while typing, but her advise is good. I'll leave my post as is anyway. :) .............

Well, you will not find much at all for less than $500. I would recommend you save up for a better cutter, however in the interest of helping you out a bit, you are probably going to be looking into a Stika in order to stay around that price. Here is a link for information. It's still a little more than $500 and by the time you add tax and shipping..... You can probably find one on eBay for less.

http://www.stika.com/

Stika's parent company is Roland, and Roland does make some better cutters. This at least means that they know something about making cutters, and I would guess that the Stika is the best cheapy cutter on the market. I still would not really recommend one of these though. Many people are happy with them though.

Probably one of the best sites to learn all about cutters, also called plotters, and how to use them is over at signs101.com . It is a site for learning how to make signs mostly, and that is basically what you are doing with a cutter for making t-shirts. It's the same exact process, except for two things.

1. you are using a different kind of vinyl for t-shirts
2. you are cutting your design in mirror image, or reversed.

Even though most of those guys do signs, many of them also do t-shirts.
 

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The Stika is a reliable cutter but it is not as versatile as a 24" cutter. If you are looking at creating text and smaller designs for t-shirts it will definitely suit your needs. You can get one that cuts 8" wide for $400. Whoever you buy your cutter from should train you on how to use it. Some companies will walk you through over the phone, others have virtual training online. Just make sure some kind of training is onvolved.
 

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I think a 24 inch cutter would be a good place to start. I think the software is a major consideration too.
 

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I'm looking into vinyl cutters as well but for now the GX-24 is a little out of my price range. The designs I'm going to be making though will usually include some very jagged edges and sometimes intricate details. Will the Stika work for this or should I just wait and get the GX-24. I'm just a little concerned that at the moment the GX-24 might be overkill.
 

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I've had a Vinyl Express Lynx 24 from Sign Warehouse for several years now. It's a knock-off of the Roland GX-24 (even uses their blades). It's been a great cutter and has paid for itself many times over. You can get a complete 24" package for just over a grand and might be a great place to start.

I looked at the Rolands, but couldn't see justification for the increased cost.
 

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I bought a enduracut from Signwarehouse w/the lxi software. The software isn't compatiable with the windows vista. I need a new PC and will need to stay with xp to use my software.I have called and asked why and they have no answer..... JB
 

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Does anyone know of any company that will let a new start finance the Roland GX-24? I personally have decent credit so I was hoping that this would be the best route right not since I can't afford to buy it outright.
 

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Hi all, I have a copam, silent as a printer cuts fast and very small stuff I am cutting now les than 1/8th inch fonts very small, the machine has a f2 holder which takes roland blades, however the roland oem blades on this machine could not cut the fonts so I got some super sharp blades made by a guy here in the USA, as a matter of fact the presure had to be reduced by 30% because they are that sharp, cut those little fonts great with the copam, although it does not have optical reading of registration marks to trace transfer but will auto mesure the vinyl. I bought this one new from ebay for $576.00 if I remember right. Its by US cutter, so it depends what you are going to do with your cutter as to the features you need.

R.
 

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I'm not sure if the Stika will work with Illustrator or CorelDRAW, but I know the Craft Robo from Graphtec will. You can get a Craft Robo that will cut 8 inches wide for $279 minus our forum discount from Specialty Graphics Supply (Specialty Graphics Supply). They also special-cut rolls of vinyl to work with that cutter.

The other advantage of a Stika or Craft Robo is that they have optical eyes in case you ever decide to contour cut inkjet or laser heat transfers.
 

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We have a Summa D60 (about 4 yrs. old) without the optical eye. It hasn't missed a beat and I cut thermoflex,hotmark and sign vinyl daily. It has paid for itself over and over again. A friend at a tradeshow told us this piece of equipment would pay off faster than any equipment we owned. We have a full retail shop and do every aspect of garment decoration and it is TRUE. It has been the most profitable. I have replaced the protection strip once and I change my blade about once every 2 mo. It has great down pressure too.

My advise, spend a little more and get a 24" good cutter. You can make your money back in the long run with very little problems. Summa has a good line for us. We use CoCut Professional as our cutting software. The old saying is true... You get what you pay for.

Annette
 

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Thanks I will do that. I cut vinyl for around 50 plus signs a week. I figured I was getting pretty good use of my current blades. How long should I be expecting for cutting 400 signs plus thermoflex and hotmark that I'm not counting?

Annette
 
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