Vinyl Cutter

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The vinyl cutter can be used to create stickers and labels out of vinyl. Our Roland STIKA SV-15 is located in the 3D print room.

Envious of those cool Invention Studio Stickers that you see around the space? Cut one out today, and support the Studio! Logo

The vinyl cutter, in all of its glory.

Capabilities

  • Can create stickers and labels
  • Maximum Cutting Area: 13-3/8 (X) by 39-5/16 (Y) inches [340 by 1000 millimeters]
  • Accepts pieces of vinyl that are at least 11 inches wide and under 44 inches long
  • Materials are free - many colors and textures of vinyl available near the machine.

How to Use

Turning on the Vinyl Cutter

  1. Make sure that the USB cable is plugged both into the computer and into the vinyl cutter.
  2. Make sure that the power adapter is plugged in.
  3. Press the button located on the right, front side of the machine.
  4. When the cutter is on, the blue light of the front right corner will be on. The cutter will also show up as "ready" in Devices and Printers.

Securing a Piece of Vinyl

Labeledvinylcutter.jpg
  1. Select a piece of appropriately sized and colored vinyl.
  2. Rock the tabs back on both sides of the machine. This raises the roller bar above the cutting surface.
  3. Slide the vinyl under the roller bar, making sure that the vinyl is directly under the two rolling grips.
  4. Line the left side of the vinyl up against the guideline on the cutting surface.
  5. Release the tabs into the locked position, once you are satisfied with the alignment.

Preparing Your Sticker Design and Cutting it Out

Note: If you are already familiar with the laser cutter, this is exactly like setting up an Inkscape job to cut (not engrave) on the laser.

  1. Open up Inkscape on the computer next to the vinyl cutter.
  2. Change the size of the document to reflect the size of the vinyl that you are trying to cut. You can do this in File>Document Settings.
  3. Create the pattern that you would like by:
    • Using the text editor within Inkscape
    • Importing an image or pdf file into Inkscape and bitmap tracing it (using edge detection)
    • Using the drawing tools within Inkscape to create your own thing - more power to you
    • Or any combination of the above!
  4. Select your pattern
  5. Go to the menu Object>Fill and Stroke.
  6. Turn off the fill by switching to the "Fill" tab, and hitting the "No Paint" button (X).
  7. Turn on the stroke by switching to the "Stroke" tab, and hitting the "Flat Color" button.
  8. Switch to the "Stroke Style" tab, and change the width of the line to 0.01 inches.

Your drawing should be ready to cut out!

  1. Move your sticker to the top edge of your Inkscape drawing.
    • Make sure that your drawing horizontally corresponds to the area of the vinyl that you wish to cut.
    • This is important if you are not cutting on a brand new piece of vinyl, and you want to cut around existing cuts.
  2. Click File>Print, making sure that Roland SV-15 is selected as your printer.
  3. Once you are sure everything is set up right, hit print.

Sticker Application

  1. Wash and dry the surface that you want to place the sticker on.
  2. Adhere a piece of transfer tape to your sticker design, carefully smoothing the tape over the vinyl surface to reduce the chance of air bubbles.
  3. Carefully peel the transfer tape from the vinyl backing, making sure that the tape sticks to your final pattern. (The more complicated the design, the harder this step is.)
  4. Line up the sticker over the target surface.
  5. Press the sticker on, starting from one edge of the piece, and carefully smooth the entire sticker over the surface.
  6. Once you are sure that the vinyl is securely adhered to the target surface, peel the transfer tape off of your vinyl sticker.

Sticker Design Tips

  • A sticker is easier to apply if there are more positive spaces and fewer negative spaces.
  • Stickers where all the positive space is connected are easier to apply.
  • Fine details turn out sharper if they are negative space.
    • For example: If you were doing a sticker of a feather, you'd want to make the shaft and any gaps in the vane negative space.
  • Multi-colored stickers are difficult, but not impossible. To create one, you need to create multiple sticker patterns for different colored vinyl, and then carefully apply the different colors one over the other.

Troubleshooting/Common Problems

The edges of my sticker aren't cut all the way through.

The vinyl cutter blade is probably dull. You will need to replace it.

The vinyl cutter isn't pulling the vinyl through the machine.

The piece of vinyl that you are using does not have contact under both of the rolling grips. You should get a wider piece of vinyl.

The vinyl cutter only cuts on the same area of vinyl.

It is likely that the size reference on Inkscape is in pixels or millimeters, and that your drawing is scaled against that - so that it is very small. To change this, go to File>Document Properties and change the default units to whatever unit that you are comfortable with. You can then scale your drawing to more accurately reflect the size of the vinyl cutter.

The transfer tape won't let go of my sticker.

That's a shame. An exacto knife can be useful in pinning the sticker down to your surface, away from the transfer tape. Next time, try to design the sticker so that the positive features are thicker.

The vinyl cutter isn't cutting anything at all.

One of three things is happening:

  • Check that your design has no fill, and has stroke lines instead.
  • Your stroke lines may not be thick enough. Change them to 0.01 inch thick lines.
  • The drawing is not on the top edge of the virtual page in Inkscape, and so the vinyl cutter is not recognizing that you want to cut the item.

Links