What is a Vinyl cutter?
A vinyl cutter (or cutting plotter) is a device that looks like a large printer but instead of using ink to print your design on to paper cuts the paths of your design on vinyl using a very sharp blade. It is used in industry for cutting text for application to a wide variety of surfaces including signs, walls and vehicles, You can include more than one colour of vinyl in an image (you cut each colour separately and composite them at the application stage.
How do I get a design cut?
The process involves several stages
- Produce your artwork:
You have to supply a file that is suitable for cutting, it must be in illustrator format, consist of paths (no imported images) and any text in the design converted to outlines. Once you have your artwork ready send it to Mark who will cut it for you and send you an email when its ready for weeding.
For more information on how to set up your files for vinyl cutting go to the tutorial ‘Setting Up Files for Vinyl Cutting’
- Produce your artwork:
- Weed the vinyl:
The vinyl cutter only cuts lines into the vinyl so you have to weed (remove) the unwanted matrix (the white space of your design) from the vinyl. Depending on the complexity/size of your design this might take a while and can be quite fiddly which is why we don’t recommend using text which is less than 20mm high. This stage will take the most time so make sure you plan for this.
- Enable easy application:
In order to be able to lift and apply the design in one piece you will then need to overlay it with a sheet of application tape.
The surface that you apply your design to must be clean and free from dust and grease and not recently painted otherwise it will either not stick or start to peel of at some point
How much does it cost to cut the vinyl?
The cutting is free and you will be loaned the tools that you need for weeding.
Does the course supply vinyl?
As a rule, apart from your degree show, no. We occasionally have off cuts (especially Black and white) that may be suitable for your project but you will have to get your own vinyl for cutting. A local source is Dockerills located over the road from Grand Parade ( Map) who sell a limited amount of colours by the metre. For a bigger range of colours at a cheaper cost if you need a large amount (for a show etc) contact All Print Supplies in Slough who offer next day shipping.