Do you run a business that requires creating signs for special projects and events? Is this your first time having to find a plotter cutter that is right for the job?
If so, then you are in luck, because we happen to know a few ways that can make this process a piece of cake. First, you must understand what vinyl cutters do, which is receiving a command that directs them on how to draw images on paper.
Factors for picking the right cutter range from the capabilities of prospective machines to how you plan to use them. With help from our knowledge of plotter tools, you will find the machine that will create the best signs you can create.
Here are 5 steps to follow so that you pick the right plotter cutter type.
1. Establish a Purpose
Before you go out and spend money on your new, or first, vinyl plotter, it is important to know what exactly how you will be using it. This knowledge will save you several trips to the bank and to stores.
Reasons for using a vinyl cutter can be broken down into two categories, the first being for commercial purposes. This option is for those who own a company where this technology is required, or those who have aspirations to be in this situation.
Commercial models are best suited for when you need to create multiple signs and a variety of designs that stand out and require different ways to cut. These machines should also be able to print, wield, and scan material to make those signs a reality.
The second reason for using a vinyl cutter is for personal reasons. Models for this purpose are best suited for hobbyists, who want to create their own signs in their free time.
The majority of these cutters are portable so that you can use them wherever you want, and they are quieter than their commercial counterparts so that they do not disturb anyone in the area. You will also have an easier time affording personalized cutters, which will also suit you if this is your first time using this type of machine.
2. Understand Your Plotter Cutter Options
Figuring out the best vinyl cutting machine for your needs requires knowing what types are available on the market. There are three options available right now to make your search easier.
First, there are drum plotters, which lets you create signs as big as drums. This process is possible by moving a pen on a single axis track while the paper moves on a cylindrical drum.
Second, there are flatbed plotters, which keep paper on a flat surface while a pen draws your desired image. With this option, you have a variety of colors to choose from so that your designs stand out.
Finally, there are inkjet plotters, which use beads of ink to create designs. These plotters three to four-color palettes that mix to create black and other darker shades.
Drum plotters are the way to go if you are working with different lengths and widths, while flatbed plotters are best suited for larger sizes. Inkjet plotters are the best option for people looking to save money.
3. Stepper vs. Servo
Among the most important parts of a vinyl cutter is the drive motor, which is the engine of the machine. There are two options you have if you want the best cutter for your needs.
The first type is the stepper motor, which comes in a mechanical form. This option uses physical gears to create your dream sign, moving in small increments for preciseness.
The second type is the servo motor, which comes in a digital form. This device takes the form of a digital encoder and follows commands from the software that become ones and zeroes to create the final product.
Stepper motors are the way to go if you are working on large images. These motors are also the best option if you are used to older technology and want to save money.
Servo motors will work if you are working with smaller images and need to be extra precise. These motors are also quieter compared to their mechanical counterparts, which is helpful if you are working around other people.
4. Consider Accessories
Whether or not you have the best vinyl machine may depend on how well it functions on its own. It may help to include accessories in your purchase so that you ensure your signs look how you want.
One of the benefits of vinyl cutters compared to other versions is that they tend to have more accessories included. Most of them come with user manuals in the box so that you know how to attach each part.
Some accessories focus more on the cutting process and ensure that length and widths requirements are met. They include vinyl trimmers, hooks, spatulas, and pickup tools.
Other accessories allow you to show off your creative skills and add color and life to your signs. They include sketching pens, adhesive papers, and vinyl sheets so that you can work on unique surfaces.
We recommend getting as many accessories as possible when you order your cutter. These accessories will save you extra trips to the store, in case you find out that you need an extra tool to give birth to your dream signs.
5. Save Money
Creating a sign, whether it is for commercial or personal reasons, is not a cheap process, but it is important to avoid costs whenever you can. Vinyl plotters make this an easier process than alternatives.
One way to do so is by buying a vinyl cutter with a user warranty. This warranty is important because these machines tend to malfunction more than other options, and you can save money on getting replacements or having someone fix the cutter.
You also need to consider your budget when picking your cutter, as those that function better tend to have higher prices. However, you should still consider buying more expensive machines if it means perfecting your signs, as this can help you produce more signs and avoid buying other cutters in the near future.
Including accessories in your order is another way to keep money in your wallet while you are shopping for plotter cutters. It may be more expensive to buy these extra parts individually.
Knowing what you plan to use your cutter for will also save you on shopping trips. Considering the size of the material you are working on and the type of designs will help you pick the right cutter for the job. No matter how much it will cost, there is the benefit of not having to buy another one in case it does not fulfill your needs.
Plotter cutters use advanced technology to produce colorful and unique signs that would not be possible with other tools. If you are new to this technology, then it is important that you consider our tips.
Knowing the types, parts, accessories, sizes, and costs of vinyl cutters will save you time and money on producing your products. With these tips, you will be able to create the best versions of your signs and have fun doing it.
Check out more of our guides on sign-making so that you can learn how to make a good and fun living producing unique works of art.
Simple Solutions International offers a full selection of plotter blades and plotter pens as well as a variety of useful tools for use in plotting and sign making such as plotter adapters, masking film, spray mask, and other sign making tools and accessories.