The proper degree blade, the correct downforce, and the right blade depth guarantees quality cuts. Standard blades are 45 degrees. A
standard or lower degree blade may not cut thicker materials because the blade gets buried
in the material. A steeper, angled blade (60°) is tall enough to cut all the way through
thick materials and pivots easier when cutting corners. The quality of the cut depends on
the sharpness of the blade and the condition of the teflon strip. A cutter gauge helps you
to precisely set the depth of your blade, which will extend your blade life significantly.
Preparation for Blade:
Make sure your substrate is smooth, clean and dry; also free of oils, wax, silicon, and
other contaminants. Glass surfaces can be washed with warm soapy water and rinsed with
clear water, and then dried. Any leftover residue can affect the bonding of the adhesive.
Before removing the application tape, squeegee the vinyl down. Work with small strokes from the middle out and don't be
afraid to apply pressure. Next, gently remove the transfer tape by pulling it back along
itself. Do not try to pull up at a 90° angle since this tends to "lift" the
lettering. If the transfer tape is hard to remove spray a little application fluid on it.
Squeegee the vinyl down again, removing trapped air bubbles as you go. Use pressure as you
do this. The better the adhesion, the longer the letters will stick. Pop remaining trapped
air bubbles with a straight pin, and then squeegee again.
"Don't Be Shy"
If your sign design is going to have a chance of instant recognition among the hundreds of
signs fighting for attention it has to be legible and exciting! If this sounds
contradictory it's not! It's called the professional craft of typography.
We have all seen examples of good design communication. Many signs need to be fairly
conventional because of the businesses they serve. But when you need more . . . try using
an unusual type face to "jazz up" your particular sign. Doing so will raise that
sign design from a good sign to a sophisticated one.
The teflon strip is the white or clear strip under the blade that runs
the length of the plotter. To get the best cutting results from your blade and vinyl you
need to replace your teflon cutter strip every six months. Worn teflon strips cause
inconsistent cutting; sloppy, unclean cuts, and it dulls your blade quicker.
Cutting 6-8" boat identification numbers with an old dull blade may
work for a time, but if you want to cut tiny letters or delicate graphics a new sharp
blade is a must! Just ask your customer for a little more lead time so you can cut it
after the next blade change or if they have a deadline, go ahead and
change your blade early. Its not worth the frustration to save a few dollars on a
delicate detailed sign job.
Store your rolls of vinyl properly! It is best to store rolls on a vinyl
rack. Storing vinyl on its end can make the vinyl bulge on that end and it won't track
right through your cutter. If you're going to store on a shelf, store in the box laying
flat, not standing on its end. Additionally, make sure you leave the plastic on the vinyl
when storing on the vinyl rack. This eliminates dust from gathering on the vinyl and
clogging your cutter blade and holder when cutting.
When installing your vinyl over rivets use 2 mil high performance vinyl
because it conforms better to rough surfaces and will not pop up like calendered vinyl.
Squeegee as close as possible to the rivet without wrinkling, use a pin (not a knife) to
poke about 3 holes around the rivet, use a blow dryer to heat, and then use a rivet brush
to push and hold the vinyl down.
The sign making industry is served by many very capable OEMs
such as Gerber, Ioline, Roland, Mimaki, Allen
Datagraph, Anagraph, Summagraphics, American Graphtec, Mutoh, and Techno-Arts. These equipment manufacturers rely on keen cutting edges on many varieties of
carbide to get the desired results.
Critical aspects of plotter blade and knife selection for use in
sign making applications include:
||Material selection for maximum wear
resistance at a reasonable cost
||Edge geometry, especially in the area
of the tip, to balance cut force and quality of cut with blade life
||Angle of cut determined by blade
If you do not see a term describing your process, please contact
us directly for more information. Chances are one of our Applications Engineers has worked
on a similar problem in the past and can use his or her knowledge and experience to create
a custom cutting solution for you. If you ned links to plotter and signmaking
manufacturers ..click here