Best Vinyl Cutter Reviews & Buying Guide For Beginners 2019
Are you tired of doing a 9-to-5 job? Do you want to set up your own gig and be your own boss?
Or perhaps you need a machine that can give your ingenuities an existence, quench your crafting needs.
Well, it’s not that difficult!
You can buy the best vinyl cutter and start expressing your creativity right from the comforts of your home.
Next time you walk past pop-up shops selling t-shirts with your favorite sports team logo or a cool quotation, you should stop and take a closer look.
It’s not hard at all to do a design like this by yourself, even if you’re a beginner!
Just get a best vinyl cutting machine for sign making or printing decals on t-shirts. You’ll be well on your way to be a creative design guru, or a proud owner of a profitable business, selling customized merchandise!
For that, you need to weigh out all the options of various plotter cutters available in the market. Some are quite basic and great for crafts, while commercial vinyl cutters can go to greater lengths, printing billboards and banners.
We have collected information on brands along with vinyl cutter reviews to help you make the best decision. Read on to discover which sticker cutting machine makes the right cut for you!
Here Our Top 5 Vinyl Cutter For Beginners and Expert
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4.5 out of 5
Things To Consider Before Buying A Vinyl Cutting Machine
So, now that you’ve got some savings and are ready to dabble into entrepreneurship or just delight friends and family with your creativity, the next step is to consider the factors before investing in the best professional vinyl cutter.
Needless to say, whichever brand you choose should be durable and proven to give you the best effects. Here goes list of points to ponder before making that important investment.
This is the numero uno issue that needs to be settled before everything else. Since personal vinyl cutters vary from the commercial ones, it’s best to decide at the outset which way you’ll go.
If you want to print decals for mugs, for hanging letters in your home, paper crafts, graphic charts for kids, or greeting cards, then home vinyl cutters are the best bet for you.
These take up less space, are lightweight, and tend to be more silent machines so that you don’t wake up your neighbors! What’s more, coupled with ease of use and affordability, these vinyl decal machines are great if you’re a beginner and want to test the waters before going big.
However, if you’re someone who likes to print more complicated designs on materials other than vinyl, and you want to establish a bigger business, then you should opt for a commercial vinyl cutting machine.
Such machines are equipped to work continuously without any hiccup, so that big printing jobs are not hampered and are delivered on time. In effect, these are pricier than the normal stencil cutting machines. Obviously, these need a bigger space to operate in and is not suitable for homes.
All vinyl cutters do not come equipped with printing options. If your vinyl plotter has two cartridges, one of which can be replaced for printing, it’s better you use both for cutting as that will save you more time as it will do your work twice as fast.
If your decal maker has only one cartridge meant for both cutting and printing, you might face some issues using it to print after cutting. Hence, it’s better to get a machine with two cartridges.
All said and done, if you want to own a vinyl printer, then make sure that the quality of the prints leaves nothing to be desired.
An average vinyl printer can give a maximum quality of 100 dots per inch, whereas a really good one will give you better quality prints of 600 dots per inch, making the colors and designs more vivid.
The vinyl cutter of your choice should be checked for compatibility before you make the purchase. Some of these have their own software that do not gel with other third-party software.
Most machines are generally compatible with Mac or Windows computer and give you access to a world of designs, but if you are using Chrome book, you might face some difficulties.
To avoid the possibility of your machine sitting idle, check if the voltage rating matches with your power line. However, if there’s a chance you might move to some other region, getting a vinyl printer with a variable voltage rating would make better sense.
Degree Of Accuracy
If you’re looking for accurate cuts around a design, you might look for a vinyl cutter that comes with Pixscan technology that ensures greater accuracy using a scanner or a camera.
For printing very small size prints, as much as just a quarter of an inch, you should choose a decal printer that does a great job on complex and small designs.
If you’re not too keen and are just satisfied with average accuracy, then any one of the popular brands will work for you.
Servo Or Stepper Motor
A digital servo motor not only provides greater accuracy with its cutting head that has more precise actions on the material, it also works more silently, giving you peace and quiet in your work environment.
On the other hand, a stepper motor involves using gears physically, thereby not only making it noisy but also less accurate, especially when it comes to small designs.
It’s no wonder that users recommend going for a servo motor.
The Size Of Prints
The size of the material you will work on is critical in choosing the best vinyl cutter machine. If you’re a home user, then it’s okay if the machine cuts only a few inches.
For an average machine, the maximum length is 2 feet and the width is 12 inches. But for the commercial vinyl cutting machines designed to take on bigger and more complex jobs, these can work on a width of 2 feet or even more.
Depth of Cutting
The blades in a vinyl cutter determines how deep the cuts can go. Along with that, the pressure applied also contributes to the depth.
Most of the widely available vinyl printers can go to a maximum of 2 millimeters and this is the most highly recommended depth to ensure you can cut easily through thick materials like paper and leather.
Ease Of Use
The level of ease which you can operate your decal maker with will make or break your business or your creative pursuits. You need to be sure that there are automatic settings and that loading vinyl and adhesive papers is not a daunting task.
And neither should changing the cartridges be because at times, you might require changing a cartridge and putting a pen in its place for printing.
If your vinyl plotter and cutter offer you cloud storage, you get more flexibility as you can go anywhere and still have access to your work.
If you are planning to work mostly with vinyl, then it’s wise to choose a simple machine that will give you the expected results without any fuss.
But, if you want to expand the horizon of your business and want your vinyl plotter to work on vinyl plus other materials like plastic, leather, and paper, then it’s probably a better idea to invest in a more advanced machine.
Some of the companies provide only the vinyl cutting machine with an enclosed user manual. For faster results and more efficiency, you can make good use of accessories like sketching pens, spatula, vinyl trimmer, etc. However, all brands do not come with these extra accessories.
It’s recommended that you buy brands that provide these accessories. This way, you can be up and about running your business with as much gusto as when you placed an order for your stencil cutter. Moreover, it will save you the time and money to buy these accessories separately.
Without any further delay, let’s get to the juicy part of the article.
Our 10 Best vinyl cutting machine for t shirts and Small Business
1. USCutter Vinyl Cutter MH Bundle
If you have been looking for a plotter cutter that will be able to do most of the small jobs without breaking the bank, you’re in luck!
The product we’re going to discuss is the best vinyl cutter for small business, more affordable compared to its counterparts.
But that doesn’t mean it’s any less competent. With a maximum cutting speed of 39 inches per second, this one will leave you in awe. With a maximum cut size of 32 inches X 10 feet, you can cover most of the small to medium jobs.
At the first glance, the product might look outdated. But thanks to the Vinyl Master Cut software, you can get multiple designs like lettering, pin striping and logos. Also, the interface is so easy that even new users will find using it easy.
The blades this machine come with are strong, durable and sharp. You will get a year of incessant service without needing to replace them. Also, when the need arises, the machine will work with most standard replacement blades.
What type of materials can it cut?
Standard, cardstock and heat transfer vinyl will go down like a piece of cake. However, you won’t get as good result with tints, reflective materials, leather and laminates.
The product works uninterruptedly, unless you try to overwork it. The package come with five rolls of vinyl measuring 24 inches X 5 feet, so you can get started with your projects immediately. Apart from that, you’ll get paper application tape, transfer paper and magnetic sign blanks.
2. Cricut Explore Air 2 Mint
If you’re done with making vinyl stickers and want to explore a bit more, then this machine is going to make your creative dreams come true.
Although this is still a personal vinyl cutting machine, it will work for you to produce customized t-shirts, unique home decals as gifts, out-of-the-box greeting cards, and what have you.
This gives you the flexibility to not only work with your own designs, but also select from a wide array of designs and DIY projects available on Cricut’s library. Its double tool holder gives you the added advantage of doing two jobs simultaneously – cutting and writing or cutting and scoring.
Cricut’s patented software – Design Space – provides free access so you can work from home, or a café, or absolutely anywhere! This easy to use software is compatible with both Android and iOS and gives you greater flexibility in working from a computer, a tablet, or your mobile phone.
The best part of this product is that it allows you to work on over 100 different types of materials, so you never need to be too concerned about what material you’re loading on your machine. So, go ahead and choose faux leather, adhesive foils, special poster boards, and more!
Worried about the control settings for these materials?
Just take a deep breath and use the Smart Set Dial. This feature makes sure that the right depth and pressure level is applied according to the loaded material. Voila! You have the perfect cuts!
You can use the built-in Bluetooth for smooth wireless cutting using superior German carbide blades.
3. Silhouette Cameo
If you’re on the lookout for a vinyl plotter that can cut designs up to 12 inches wide and 10 feet long, then this is the product of your dreams.
You don’t need to worry about the size of the cutting mat; it’s 12 inches, giving you ample space and grip to work on your favorite decals. So much so that you can even cut lettering for something as large as a hot air balloon.
You can work with a variety of materials, from vinyl to plenty of fabrics. You can explore different options and widen the horizon of your hobby or business by producing a plethora of merchandise like mugs, shirts, etc.
The electronic device comes with a cutting blade and gives you more convenience with its built-in accessory storage, an on-unit cross cutter, and a responsive touchscreen so that all the hard bits of vinyl cutting is made easier, saving you lots of time and headache.
Pre-loaded with at least 100 designs, you can let your imagination take wings and produce innovative letterings and graphics to take the world of vinyl cutting by storm. And if you want to make your own designs, feel free to use Silhouette Studio to create signature fonts and designs.
You can easily start using this product by simply connecting it to your Mac or PC using a USB cable. Please keep in mind that this machine doesn’t print but only cuts, using a small blade.
This product is great for very small designs as it’s equipped to cut lettering as small as half an inch. You’ll have no problem weeding a cut of this size.If you plan to use this product heavily and frequently, you may need to replace the blade every month and the cutting mat every 2 or 3 months.
4. Brother CM350 Electronic Cutting Machine
This machine has some unique features that make it one of the best vinyl cutters as you’re sure to get more than you bargained for.
Its top feature is its fitted, ScanNCut2 scanner that uses advanced technology to convert your scanned images to unique patterns, giving scan quality of 300 dots per inch.
For simplified use, just select the functions on the 4.85 inches LED touchscreen and you can literally create masterpieces with the touch of a button.
You can either choose to work from your workstation or work remotely. Its wireless network connection gives you more freedom to work from anywhere.
The enclosed 12-inch by 12-inch cutting mat gives you enough space to comfortably work on your pieces of art. If you want a larger size mat, you can get it separately so you can work effortlessly on larger designs.
If you want to edit your graphics, it’s a breeze as you can just reach out on the large touchscreen and make changes as required.
The welding feature allows you to merge seamlessly two or more designs to create more complex graphics. This works just as well on hand-drawn shapes and fonts, giving you intricate patterns and shapes in a jiffy.
It offers more than 600 designs from its system, saving you time if you’re not in the mood to craft your own design. The library of designs even includes patterns for quilting and unique lettering fonts.
One downside is that this device is only compatible with Windows - Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8/Windows 8.1, Windows 10.Be informed that you will need to invest time in going through the user manual to make proper use of this machine. Otherwise, you might end up getting frustrated.
5. Silhouette America Curio Crafting Printer
A beautifully designed greeting card always stands out no matter how simple it is. I, personally am a fan of embossed cards that send the desired message in an artistic way.
Silhouette America Curio Crafting Printer is your go-to tool for embossing creative designs on cards for professional or personal use. Everything you need for that beautifully etched design, you will find it all in the included package that comes with this device.
Before you start embossing on material, first, you are given two options to choose from. For an intricate and bold design, use the fine tip of the tool. The wide tip of the device is mostly suited for gentler indents.
The Curio comes with a special cushioned mat which gives support to the paper material while it is being compressed. You can decide to choose vellum, cardstock or any other soft material to draw your favourite embossed design on.
Silhoutte America, the best vinyl printer has a dual carriage system. If you don’t already know what it is, then you might be in for a big treat!
Not only you can emboss logos, but also you can sketch and get that design printed at the same time! No more wasting time while shifting tools anymore. Be it wood, metal or a canvas, you can use any surface you like for your project to stand out.
The reason behind this device allowing several types of materials to choose from is that it has a massive 5 millimeter of clearance for any components. Meaning, it can etch, draw or emboss upon any media that has up to 5 millimeters of thickness.
6. Pink Cricut Expression Electronic Cutting Machine
It’s time to let your imagination run wild and transform them into reality!
Whether you are planning for a big party or decorating your house for an upcoming event, some colourful fun designs with oddly-shaped block letters and gift bags will give your house the festive look it deserves!
Pink Cricut Expression Electronic Cutting Machine allows you to tap on your creative side by helping you to make all those dreams come true.
With the device featuring six different modes and four functions, you can choose to decorate any platform with custom-made shapes and designs of your preference.
Cutting a tiny frame may often seem critical and most of the device struggles with this technique. Cricut Expression stands out in these criteria and allows you to make cuts as small as .25 inches! You can extend your desired cuts up to 11.5 inches with this tool.
This product will give you a breath of fresh air with its capability of working without a computer.
Just follow the simple instructions, put the cartridge into its slot and choose your preferred image from the display screen. Tap on the start button and that’s it! You are all set for receiving a quality design output without the hassle of connecting it to a computer or downloading any software.
To help you get started right away the device comes with Plantin SchoolBook font cartridge and the Accent Essentials shape cartridge. You will also get access to a cutting mat which measures about 12 x 12 inches.It’s a plug and play product. In case you get confused and don’t understand where to begin, there’s a DVD that will guide you with all the necessary procedures.
7. USCutter Vinyl Plotter
Even if you are a beginner and just want to test the water in the world of crafts, USCutter Vinyl Plotter will be a good choice for you.
From basic designs to the more complex ones, this device is suitable for all kinds of projects. With the help of its sharp blades, this 28-inch plotter machine can cut through 500 to 700 decals every day.
A compact device has some great benefits, especially, if you are purchasing it for your personal use.
Keeping that in mind, USCutter is built in a way to fit in a small corner of your room. To make things easier, the product comes with a stand so that you can put the device in a stable platform and use it more comfortably.
Are you a busy person and try to multi-task in almost every aspect of your life?
To keep up with your lifestyle, this plotting machine has a multi-function carriage system. Now you can run any two functions at the same time and also save on the cost of your electricity bill!
USCutter is equipped with Roland compatible blade holder. Once the blades of your machine wear off, the built-in holder accepts any standard sized blades that are available in the local market.
One advanced technique that sets this device apart from its other competitors, is its ball-bearing dual roller system.
Instead of manually feeding the materials into the device, just put them on the top of the rollers. The roller will take the matter in its hand and do the rest of the procedure automatically.The Sure Cuts A Lot Pro-Design and Cut Software comes with this tool and helps you create and edit a varied range of custom designs. The designs are cut with the utmost precision to give your project a better makeover.
8. Silhouette Portrait 2 Review
The highly portable Silhouette Portrait 2 is well suited for those with limited workspace or those involved in relatively small projects.
This highly effective plotter cutter works on 100 different materials, such as fabric, cardstock, paper, magnet paper, heat transfer material, vellum, and adhesive vinyl, anything that is up to 10 feet long and have a width of 8”.
This plotter cutter has features like Print and Cut. This is where the image you are going to cut is first printed from the printer. The printed paper is then loaded into the Portrait machine, which detects and cuts around the image. The Print and Cut feature is great for accurately cutting detailed shapes.
The PixScan technology lets you create designs from pictures by first placing images on a special mat. A photograph of this image is then taken with a camera or smartphone. The photograph is uploaded to the Studio Designer in order to be cut.
Apart from the all-new Autoblade, which automatically adjusts its pressure as per the material being cut, you also have the option of using the Deep Cut Blade, the Deep Cut Blade, Standard Blade, and Fabric Blade. However, the Silhouette Portrait 2 does not have dual carriage.
The Silhouette Portrait 2 has its own Studio Designer software which can be used to make your own designs. The device also comes with 50 exclusive digital designs at your disposal.The machine’s compatibility with Bluetooth allows for wireless communication, letting you send commands to the machine via devices other than your computer.
9. USCutter 28-inch Vinyl Cutter Review
USCutter 28-inch Vinyl Cutter is the best stencil cutting machine for beginners who are looking for all the required accessories you need in a single package.
The value bundle includes squeegee, knife, magnetic blanks, vinyl rolls and tape rolls to get you started with your cutting as soon as you unbox. The device has two pinch rollers. These rollers are adjustable which simplify the cutting process and accommodate different types of materials with high accuracy.
It can be used with almost all the affordable blades in the market with its unique blade holder named Roland. This makes this vinyl maker machine particularly attractive.
Also, you can save your precious time with its inclusion of an exceptional ball-bearing dual roller system. You can easily position your vinyl on the rollers and get seamless incision.
It is compatible with the VinylMaster Cut, which is a dedicated software for vinyl decal cutting. Being the market leader, it is able to create pinstriping, vinyl lettering and general signage, amongst others. It also comes with object tools, texts, curves.It has a highly customizable, intuitive user interface and vectorization tools that supports widely used image formats. It also supports other popular software such as Flexi, SignCut, Sure Cuts Alot, and SignBlaserProductivity Pro.
10. Silhouette CAMEO-3 Cutting Machine
If you are searching for best vinyl cutting machine for your paper crafting projects, look no more! The highly precise Silhouette CAMEO-3 Cutting Machine is for you.
The Cameo 3 comes with an AutoBlade that is self-adjusting, which makes it particularly stand out. This feature removes the necessity of separately making modifications to the settings before you proceed to cut different types of materials.
Using its small blade, this device can well accommodate thick materials that are up to 12" wide and 10 feet long on its large cutting space. Its high versatility allows users to use the machine to cut through more than 100 materials, which includes paper, cardstock, vinyl, and fabric. Moreover, the matless cutting lets you skip using a mat for your cutting purposes.
With the dual carriage option, you can simultaneously cut and sketch. This means that you do not have to go through the hassle of changing the blade to carry out either of these functions.
Also, the inclusion of the PixScan feature will allow you to conveniently use pictures to produce different designs.
With the purchase of this device, you will receive 100 digital designs to get you started. Additionally, you will be able to choose from more than 100,000 designs from the Silhouette Design Store.
The touchscreen panel is intuitive and can be easily operated by newbies while the Bluetooth option eliminates the hassle of wires.You can also easily store your blades and other objects in the additional storage compartment provided.
11. Graphtec PLUS CE6000-60
Perhaps, you want to print out a custom-made sticker to show support for your favourite basketball team.
Or, say, you want to put a block-lettered signboard in front of your store to gain more customers. Do you know what would make those stickers and signs come alive?
A vinyl machine, like Graphtec PLUS gets these jobs done perfectly with the help of its high-end performance. With its digital servo machine, you can be sure to get a precise cut even from the thickest material.
I am not talking about using it for just a few DIY projects!
This plotter machine is highly efficient at what it does and more than enough capable of handling an industrial load. It cuts through any 0.25 mm thick vinyl easily with 4.9-Newton of force. It reaches up to a max speed of 35.4 inches per second at a time.
Seeing highly praised Grapghtec vinyl cutter reviews, you might wonder what’s so special about this product that outsmarts its competitors.
Well, it has a unique mechanism to make the finest cut to any printed image. The Automatic Registration Mark Sensor (ARMS) system processes all the necessary information automatically and helps to make a contour cut to the graphical element.
I wouldn’t consider a product complete if it isn’t an eco-friendly one. Fortunately, Graphtec PLUS meets the mark with its newly upgraded version. It goes to the extra mile for preventing waste and makes sure that every bit inch of the media is properly used.To get the perfect shape and length of your designs, install the Graphtec Studio software that comes with the package. With a little bit of knowledge on the Adobe Illustrator, you are all set for sending your colorful artwork to the cutter, which will take care of the rest of the procedure.
12. Roland GS-24 Vinyl Cutter
Keeping up with the latest technology is fun and useful until everything gets too much complicated. A machine with more options will most likely need a tech-expert person to handle its operation.
Well, that’s not the case for the Roland Vinyl Cutter. The company has improved its GS-24 model to offer its users with a better experience of flawless cuts while having a user-friendly control panel.
If you want to get some quality work done for your small business, then this device is sure to pick up your attention. The 24-inch cutter machine accepts materials of different kinds like reflective vinyl, paint mask, sandblast, heat transfer material etc.
The sharp blade cuts through any of this stuff ranging from 2 inches to 27.5 inches in thickness. With its max 350 grams of force and 20 inches per second cutting speed, Roland makes the whole process look effortless while delivering you the finest output.
Do you remember me telling you how the user control panel won’t let you down with its simplicity?
The wide LCD panel of this unit is the gateway to a personalized setup, where you can handle all the settings by tapping just a few buttons!
The machine comes with software that is fairly easy to get accustomed to. The CutStudio software has a quick installation process and helps you get in touch with your creative side by generating versatile designs and offering to do some basic operation like rotating, resizing and re-positioning etc.
You can store up to 8 settings of different combinations of blades and media for future use. The blades can also be manually adjusted in case you need to make a tiny cut with the finest details for an event.
13. The KNK Zing Orbit
If you’re on the way to becoming an advanced user, then this beast should be the one to upgrade to.
It does away with the standard settings so you can have more control on the blade exposure, depth, pinch roller position, and even the number of presses you want the material to undergo.
This vinyl cutting machine takes the middle path between a personal and a highly professional plotter and printer. It helps your smooth transition into the world of a more serious decal designer.
There are two models available, although with minor differences. The 15-inch width model has metal flatbeds as optional whereas the 24-inch width alternate comes with front and back metal flatbeds to give you more space to work comfortably in.
The maximum cutter opening also varies for both products. You will get 19.5 inches opening with the 15-inch model, whereas the 24-inch model provides 28.5 inches opening.
The seamless connectivity between the machine and the software is guaranteed to give you the best results, without any chance of your complex work facing a roadblock and ruining your day.
Another favourite feature is how silently this machine works, despite it being a heavy-duty one that’s capable to take up Herculean vinyl cutting tasks.
With a single cutting head which means you can’t print and cut at the same go, it uses its unique ability of auto registration tracking.
This ensures that the optic eye scans the four registration marks so that these don’t go off in the wrong direction. Thus, there is perfect alignment between where you printed and where the cuts need to be made.Although the machine comes with useful tools and accessories, there is, however, no cutting software included. You can always invest in Sure Cuts A Lot software to get the machine reap benefits for you.
14. Janome Artistic Edge Digital Cutter
One of the fondest memory from my childhood is visiting my grandma’s place during the fall break. Every time I would go there, she would give me a hand-stitched mat, a bandanna or even a quilt!
If your grandmother is just like mine, then she probably loves to sew all these pieces to keep you safe and warm in cold winter nights.
So why not surprise her with a brand-new digital cutter to help her with all those intricate designs and make her work a whole lot easier?
Or, you can keep one for yourself if you want to master the art of sewing, but are too afraid to get started.
The Janome Artistic Edge Digital Cutter is the perfect tool for creative crafters who like to sew and have a knack for making a precise cut on the fabric.
You will find this machine to be useful while working in multiple side-projects as it includes three different blades for fabric, template and paper material.
From cutting the fabric to the perfect size to stitching down that piece into the hoop of your machine, this Digital Cutter does it all!
A quick peek into the Artistic SimpleCut software, which comes with the package, will give you the entrance to a magical land, where you will find 3500 embroidery and appliqué designs to choose from!YES. You heard it right. If you thought this is just another editing software, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Made especially for creative designers, the software also allows you to import any previously made artwork or make any custom shapes for your scrapbook project.
15. Vinyl Cutter, ProCut Creation CR1300
Working with a window tint or a heat transfer material always requires a little bit of caution.
As these things are pretty delicate, therefore, you need a machine that can handle making such thin cuts properly. The ProCut Creation CR1300 ticks all the right boxes in terms of this situation.
With 0.05 mm of precision, this vinyl plotter does a wonderful job of cutting all the vinyl signs in accurate shapes and sizes. You can even use this machine for a small business, as it can handle a huge load with its maximum speed reaching up to 400 millimeters per second.
Despite the machine being so powerful, it operates silently without making any noise to distract you from your daily activities. You don’t have to get up and check your computer to configure its settings every time, as its big LCD monitor allows you to do that easily.
The ProCut Creation strongly believes in retaining the quality of the input material it’s been given. Thanks to the use of ducted channels and a sturdy fan, it helps keep the material flat on the surface without needing several pinch rollers at a time.
The product comes with lots of accessories to help you start things off on the right foot. A floor stand, three cutting blades and all the necessary hardware are included in the package.You need to install the SignCut Pro Productivity Suite to enjoy all the benefits of the precision cutting. However, this software needs to be connected to the internet all the time to run effectively.
Top-Rated Vinyl Cutting Machines In The Market
Founded in 1954, Darice has been a household name for art and craft supplies for over 60 years. With the mission of exceeding customer expectations, the company prides itself on being a wholesale manufacturer that offers more than 45,000 products.
No wonder it has one of the most widely varied crafts and arts supplies you can find anywhere in the market.
Brother was established by the Yasui brothers in Japan in 1908 with the mission to place customers first, a sentiment that is aptly expressed in its corporate motto – At Your Side.
The company competes with its products on a massive global scale and strives to be the most trustworthy brand for all its customers, big and small. Over a century, Brother has perceived the changing customer preferences and have manufactured products to fit these changes.
As its name suggests, Silhouette America is a company based in Utah, USA. It is a relatively new manufacturer, having started its journey in October 2009.
They have several patented technologies to be proud of - the Silhouette Portrait, Silhouette Mint, Silhouette CAMEO, and Silhouette Curio. But the top of the cake is their state of the art software, Mint Studio and Silhouette Studio.
There another worth mentioning, their design studio – ‘Silhouette Design Store’ – that houses over 100,000 designs that can be used by DIY enthusiasts.
Ever since its inception in 2005, USCutter has focused on providing low-cost, high-quality vinyl cutting solutions for its customers including small business owners, DIYers, and established businesses.
Besides vinyl cutter manufacturing, USCutter is also in the business of making vinyl, application tools, and software to give a more holistic solution to its customers.
Established in 1949 in Japan, Graphtec Corporation has subsidiaries in the USA, Europe, and Australia. The machines from this manufacturer are widely known for their durability, one of the key factors when selecting a vinyl cutter.
In its relentless pursuit of excellence, Graphtec aims to focus on building its strengths, product features and performance to satisfy its customers for years to come.
Established in Japan in 1972, Roland is globally renowned for its electronic software, equipment and musical instruments. The company stands for innovation, quality, and reliability.
Its plotting technology was derived from recording sound waves on its synthesizers and lends to the high quality of the vinyl cutting machines it manufactures.
Different Types Of Vinyl Machines
Before purchase best vinyl cutter you should know about the various types of vinyl machine.
There are two categories of vinyl cutters based on the kind of motor they use and the width of the material the machine can cut.
Based on the type of motor used, vinyl plotter can be divided into two types – servo and stepper.
The servo motor is equipped with cutting heads that do precise cutting if the design is not overly complex.
This kind of a motor uses advanced technology and digital encoding to connect between the commands of the built-in computer system and the motor so that the machine runs smoothly, and you achieve a higher degree of accuracy.
You can get great results even for designs as small as an-eighth of an inch. Since this is operated automatically, there is no sound when you operate a servo motor driven vinyl cutting machine.
Another key aspect of the servo motor is its ability to keep the material from crumpling up as it maintains a straight cutting pathway. This is referred to as its superior tracking ability.
If your vinyl cutter comes with a stepper motor, it translates to a more difficult proposition because firstly, it’s not automatic but uses physical gears. Such motors make noise when you’re operating it.
A stepper motor also lacks in precision. Images that are less than half an inch cannot be handled by cutters driven by a stepper motor. So, it’s suitable only when you want to print large images or letters.
However, if you’re just setting out and running short of money, a stepper motor could be a more affordable option for you.
There are two basic widths of materials you can have your designs printed on using a decal maker – 15 and 24 inches.
If you’re using a home vinyl cutter and are interested in creating crafts for your home, then a material width of 15 inches should be enough for you as you’re probably not going to get commercial prints from your machine.
However, for printing large surface areas for banners and billboards for example, the material width of the vinyl plotter and printer should be 24 inches, to allow for breathing space and enough border around the pattern or image. Such machines are mainly used for business purposes.
How To Use It?
The operating procedure of all vinyl cutters are essentially the same, with very few differences, depending on how advanced the machine is. A small blade in the cutter cuts the outline of the design you intend to print.
You will see the pinch rollers holding the material in place and moving it while the blade moves from one side to another to cut around the design. The following are the steps of using a vinyl decal machine.
Selection Of Font And Design
You can select a design provided that you have a vinyl printer with a built-in software that gives you access to its design library. Alternately, you can upload your own design in various file formats – jpg, png, etc.
By the way, if your vinyl cutter comes without a particular software, try using CutStudio that will help you design and print graphics for your purpose.
You can then either choose a font from the given portfolio in your cutter or choose any from your personal repertoire. Some cutters allow you to choose fonts from your computer. So, after you choose the desired design and font, upload it on your software.
The next step is to carefully set out the outline of your design, around which the cutting will take place. Make sure you set the border accurately as otherwise, you might be either too close or too far away from the main decal.
Also, please pay attention to the size of your design and whether you want it placed on the material vertically or horizontally. Remember that measurements are made in millimeters.
Loading The Material And Cartridge Setting
Depending on whether your chosen material is paper, leather, or vinyl, you need to set the depth and pressure of your vinyl cutter. If you have an automatic machine, then you’re lucky to have the settings done automatically.
The LED lights will show you the loading space and the sensor will detect the material. Otherwise, a manual setting must be done before you load your material.
If you want printing instead of cutting, you have the added chore of replacing the cartridge with a sketch pen as all machines don’t offer both cutting and printing.
Pay attention to the alignment of the sensor, rollers and the material so that there’s no mistake on which part the cutting will take place. Try to place the material in a straight position to prevent it from slipping.
To get the rollers started, use the pressure levers. The material should be placed between the pressure bar and the pinch rollers to get the cutting process done right.
Push The Button
After loading the material and setting the cartridge properties, it’s time to turn the machine on. All you need to do is watch and wait!
When the printing is done, the material will come out of the vinyl cutter. Use a pickup tool or spatula to gather your designs.
This is the last step of using a vinyl cutting machine. Weeding refers to picking out the excess materials, for example the inside of a P or a D. Some machines provide a weeding tool but if yours hasn’t come with one, you can buy it separately.
Hope your very first decals meet your purposes satisfactorily and you can be the master of your own trade!
Benefits Of Using Vinyl Cutting Machines
There are many benefits of using vinyl cutting machines and these range from economic to creative benefits. Investing in a good quality vinyl sticker cutter affords many more advantages than you can see easily.
A vinyl cutter offers tremendous versatility. You can specialize or diversify your business by the dint of a single vinyl printer. Here are some of the business opportunities you can take advantage of with a vinyl cutter by your side.
Sports is a multimillion-dollar business and one that is followed vehemently by fans all over the world. There is a huge number of people who wants to own a shirt with the jersey name and number of their favorite football or basketball star. So, the business opportunity is huge for those who want to print shirts and jerseys only.
Who doesn’t like to see their own name in big, bold letters on a jacket or a sweatshirt? If there’s a spot in your town where you can have your own den selling customized merchandise to people, then you’re good to go!
You can print names, quotes, logos – anything your customer demands, be it on a piece of fabric or a mug or a commemorative plate.
You want to create signage or indicators showing the way to the washroom in your workplace, or “Attention” signs for kids. Or probably you simply want to put your child’s initials on their bedroom door.
By all means, a good quality decal maker is the answer for you. At the press of a button and with some settings, you can create your own signage and even sell these to your target group of customers.
A vinyl monogram machine lasts for a long time and if you maintain it properly, continues to go a long way. Its durability is certainly one of the benefits of using it as it’s not feasible to put money in new investments on a regular basis.
No Set-Up Fees And Profitability
If you have the space and you know what you’re going to print, then that’s all there is to it. Using a vinyl cutter requires zero set-up fees because the machine itself will do most of the work. All it needs is some space where you can keep it.
Profitability is another benefit of using a vinyl cutting machine. These machines last long, can produce large amounts of print within a short time, requires no such set-up – making it a big contributor to the profitability of your business.
Quick Lead Times
In today’s age of instant gratification and customization, it’s essential for businesses to take the shortest lead time between taking orders and delivering them.
A vinyl cutter has the advantage in that it doesn’t take long to deliver designs printed on selected materials. It’s possible to take prints of digital banners and billboards overnight, thanks to the superior powers of vinyl cutters.
Depending on the complexity and size of the design, as well as the material, you can offer different price options to your customers. Printing on a cotton t-shirt with a small design will cost less than printing a large monogram on a satin jacket. With one vinyl cutting machine, you can get different products and charge different prices.
With only a good vinyl cutter can you get the level of special effects that you want on a jacket or a t-shirt. You can get the reflective material on the jacket of a paramedic or the sparkles and shimmers of a fairy princess on a little girl’s frock – all by using a vinyl cutting machine.
You can go to great lengths in customization by using a vinyl plotter. It gives you the choice to choose the size, style, color, and font of the design, so that you can pass on maximum satisfaction to your business associates or just friends and family members!
Tips To Take Care Of Your Vinyl Cutting Machine
If you notice that your vinyl cutter is producing cuts that are bunched up or torn, then it’s time to give it some TLC.
Since the vinyl cutting machine consists of various delicate parts like the blade, the blade holders, the protection strip, and others, it’s very important that these be cleaned and maintained regularly to make the machine last longer.
Here’s a list of the main parts and how to take care of them in the right way.
Use Sharp Blades
The blades of the machine work the hardest to give you accurate cuts every time. Using your vinyl cutter over a period of time have probably dulled the sharpness of the blades.
At this point, they will need to be sharpened. Sharpening the blades will lead to wear and tear and you will eventually need to replace the blades.
Be careful when handling the blades as these are tiny and you will need magnifying glasses to spot them.
It’s a good idea to replace the blades once a year so that your machine retains its efficiency and your business or hobby doesn’t suffer.
Though it’s true that the sharper the blades, the more accurate the cuts, what enables the blades to perform without a hitch are the protection strips. When you see that the cuts are uneven and jagged even though you’ve checked the sharpness of the blades, it means the protection strips are giving out.
Funnily, it’s the function of the blades that lead to the damage of the protection strips. So, it’s inevitable and the smart thing to do is to replace the protection strips.
Clean The Pinch Rollers
The pinch rollers help to keep the material in place in your stencil maker and move it, enabling the cuts to be done. These rollers tend to accumulate scrap from vinyl and other materials as well as dust.
It’s not required to deep clean the pinch rollers often, but you’re advised to remove them and clean them with a damp cloth. Let them dry completely before putting them back into the machine.
Over time, the pinch rollers lose their ability to hold the vinyl in place and move it properly for the cuts to be done right. This signals that it’s time to replace them.
Check Blade Holders
The blade holders have a very important function – keeping the blades in place while they are making the cuts. If you see that the cuts are jagged around the edges and are not precise, it’s time to check the blade holders.
As you can’t repair blade holders, it’s recommended you replace them once a year.
Use Appropriate Materials
Before you set up or start using your brand-new decal maker, take the time to go through the user manual thoroughly. You ought to know what kind of materials are appropriate for your machine and stick to the prescribed ones only.
Overall Cleaning And Maintenance
The most vulnerable parts of a vinyl cutter are its motor, blades, and blade holders. With continuous usage, it’s normal that these parts gather dust and material scraps. It’s good to wipe these parts clean with a dry cloth after each use.
Keeping your workstation clean is another way to ensure your valued vinyl cutting machine is in a tip-top shape. Even when you’re not using it, make sure to store it in a clean, dry place that’s away from dust and dirt. Use a cover to keep dust at bay.
Clean the mat using a lint roller or a soapy water solution or alcohol-free wipes. Some brands of adhesive removal liquids also work well to clean the mat.
If you are brave enough to clean the innards of your machine, it’s best to blow dry the parts on a low power to remove the dust. You can do this twice a year. It’s strictly discouraged to use liquids to clean the inner parts.
Common Vinyl Cutter Troubleshooting
How you use your vinyl cutter will determine the kind of trouble you may come across while using your machine.
Sometimes you’ll find that the blades have run through to your mat or the cuts are not smooth, or parts of the image crunched up or missing.
Following are some of the hurdles you might encounter and ways to troubleshoot them.
The Design Is Not Looking Good
When you first get your machine, you’re rearing to have a go at it. You quickly load a design and a material, do some quick settings, and turn the machine on. You wait with bated breath only to find that the cut of the design is not looking its best.
Before you get into the stage of final printing, always do run test cuts on extra vinyl sheets.
Different materials have different settings so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. No need to waste materials and your time and energy before testing out first.
The Cut Is Tearing
If you notice that the cut is tearing, it could mean that the material is wet or not appropriate for your machine or that the blade is exposed more than necessary, or you put too much pressure.
Read the user manual to see which materials are compatible with your vinyl cutting machine. Make sure the blade settings match the material you’re working on and that the pressure level is enough to cut the material.
The Machine Cuts Partially
This is usually the result of setting a high speed or a lower pressure or having the material too close to the blades or not allowing the machine to run over the material more than one time.
Again, you need to go back to the user manual and check the settings for the particular materials.
Unable To Make A Cut
If the machine is not making a cut at all, it could be either that the blades are dull or that you didn’t put enough pressure. In this case, you can try sharpening or replacing the blades and increasing the blade pressure.
The Beginning And End Points Are Misaligned
If the beginning and end points are not aligned, you probably have set the speed and the pressure more than needed. Or, you could be working on a sticky mat. So, just check the mat and the settings and you’re good to proceed.
Dotted Line Cuts Are Appearing
If you see a pattern of dashes or dotted cuts, it’s likely that the blade is exposed more than required causing friction between them and the material, or the protection strip is damaged.
You can decrease the depth of the blade or try replacing the protection strips for better results.
Difficult Cuts In Corners
If you find that the corners of a design are missing because the vinyl cutter couldn’t complete cutting along these corners, it’s highly likely that the sharpness of the blades are not being able to do so and are instead just dragging on the sides. Check the ball bearings for dust accumulation as this could have thrown them off their position.
Here’s how you can troubleshoot. Simply remove the blades and wipe them with a lubricant before putting them back in. If you repeat this process a few times, the dirt inside the blade and blade holder will come right off and you can resume your business at the earliest.
Tapering Cuts At The End
Sometimes, you may see that the beginning cuts are perfect but as the machine cuts along, they become tapering toward the end. This could be caused by the blade holders not holding the blades tightly or because the blades have become dull.
You can try three solutions: make sure the blades are being held tightly, step up the blade pressure, or sharpen the blades. If the blades are too worn, you might have to replace them altogether.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What’s The Right Vinyl Cutter For Me?
Answer: The right plotter cutter for you depends on whether you’re pursuing your hobby at home or you’re planning to take it on a bigger, commercial scale.
Home vinyl machines are smaller and lightweight, meant for simple jobs. Commercial vinyl makers are larger in size, require more space, and are capable of handling complex designs.
So, coupled with your purpose, your budget will also decide which decal maker is the best for you.
2. What Materials Can Be Used On Vinyl Printers?
Answer: Most vinyl cutters work comfortably on vinyl, obviously. However, there are some brands that work on other materials like thick paper, leather, fabrics, photos, aluminium, and others.
3. How Easy Is It To Operate A Vinyl Cutter?
Answer: It is fairly easy to operate vinyl cutting machines that have automatic settings. Loading materials is also simple but practice makes perfect. It might be a bit tricky to change the cartridges as these are somewhat delicate.
But overall, loading a design and materials, getting the right settings, taking the print, and weeding are not difficult jobs.
4. Where Do I Get The Software To Operate My Vinyl Cutter?
Answer: Some vinyl cutters come with their own software and do not allow the use of third-party software.
Most machines are Mac or Windows compatible. If your vinyl cutter comes without a software, try using CutStudio, AutoCAD, CorelDraw, and others.
5. How Often Should I Clean My Vinyl Cutter?
Answer: Depending on the frequency of usage, you should clean your stencil cutter. It’s advised to always clean the exterior after each use.
You should check the condition of the blades, blade holder, and other small parts regularly. Giving it a thorough and professional clean once a year is recommended.
6. How Do I Know I Need To Change The Blades?
Answer: If you see discrepancies in your cuts and find nothing wrong with the blade exposure or speed and other settings, chances are the blades of your machine have become dull and need to be sharpened or replaced.
7. Which Motor Should I Choose To Drive My Vinyl Cutter?
Answer: A servo motor is a better option than a stepper motor mainly because it’s automatic, silent, and gives more accurate results.
8. What Is The Ideal Depth Of Cuts?
Answer: The ideal depth that a vinyl cutter makes is 2 millimetres for best effects on thicker materials like leather.
9. What Are The Types Of Vinyl Cutters?
Answer: The types of vinyl cutters depend on whether they use manual gears like in a stepper motor or if it uses a digital servo motor with automatic settings.
Another point that differentiates vinyl printers from one to another is the material width.
There are two basic widths of materials you can have your designs printed on – 15 and 24 inches. 15 inches are good for home users while for commercial purposes, 24 inches is ideal for large format prints.
10. How Long Do Vinyl Cutters Last?
Answer: If you invest in a good quality vinyl cutter and take the pains to maintain and clean it regularly, it will last for several years.
Vinyl cutting machines have been all the rage for beginners and seasoned entrepreneurs alike.
Whether you’re in the business of making customized crafts on a small scale or printing t-shirts and other merchandize on a large scale, you can’t go wrong with a good quality vinyl sticker cutter at your side.
A good financial investment is not the only factor required to have a durable and best vinyl cutter. You also have to invest your time in making sure you get the right materials, the right settings, and regularly maintain your asset to give you the high returns you expect from it.
Selecting the best vinyl cutting machine for you can be tricky. Consider the pros and cons carefully before you make the investment that’s meant to work for you in the long run.
We hope this guide comes in handy for you in your quest to choose the right vinyl cutter that will give you the highest return on your investment. Good luck!