SELECTING A VINYL CUTTER
When choosing a vinyl cutter, there are many good options. I am often asked about craft cutters, which are very adequate for their intended purpose, but are less likely to serve you well in cutting heat transfer flex material. Here’s a quick refresher on what to look for in cutters :
MOTORS. The heart of every cutter is the drive-motor. This motor is responsible for powering the grit roller that advances and retracts the heat transfer media and moving the blade. Digital servomotors drive the more expensive cutters; mechanical stepping motors drive the lesser expensive machines. Stepping motors move in small increments (or steps) driven by gears. Digital servomotors are commanded by software and translated by an encoder to make smooth and precise movements. There are no mechanical gears and the cutter can cut much smaller paths than a stepping motor. These advantages, of course, cost more, thus the price difference in the entry-level machines.
TRACKING. The ability of the cutter to cut straight over a distance ( maximum cutting length ) is the result of its materials and construction. Tracking is very important if you plan to task your cutter to other products outside heat transfer flex materials. Large banners and vehicle wraps, for example, require in excess of 10-foot accuracy. Most transfers do not require long tracking. Consider the longest distance you intend to cut before making your choice.
OPTICAL POSITIONING EYE. Some manufacturers refer to this as an “advanced registration mark sensor.” Simply put, it is a combination of an optical detection eye in the bed of the cutter firmware that enables detection of registration marks and management software that resides in your computer. Cutters that have this ability enable users to print and cut utilizing a number of sheet heat transfer papers. Contour cutting, as it is known, opens up a whole new dimension for your business.
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