Vinyl Cutter / Printer?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by onemacmini, Jul 5, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Guys / Girls,

    I'm looking for a vinyl printer / cutter so i can do custom wraps to my mac /iphone etc etc ideally print custom images but also cut plain coloured vinyl. any experience in how i go about doing so? done many searches but no entirely sure what im looking for.

    Thanks in advance
  2. macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2009
    Either get ready to part with some serious cash or go the diy route,
    with a lot of time and effort you can get good results but if your looking for professional levels of cutting and printing on anything larger than a sheet of A4 then it's going to start costing.

    Stock rolls of film usually only come in 5ft widths * 100ft length and are a few hundred pounds each. They do come in smaller sizes but can work out more expensive. Computer cut tables cost a few grand and aren't the sort of thing you can just throw down in a garage or spare room. And depending upon who's supplied the software there may be an annual renewal fee or a lot code job fee (pay as you cut type of thing). A cheap system will be more than a few grand.

    If you go the route of laser cutting then be prepared to part with amounts of money equivalent to buying a sizeable new car and then some. Plus it's almost impossible to get a commercial laser for home DIY use. (you may get one but for sure you never want your home insurance company to find out). Your policy will go from hundreds to several thousand overnight. And the HSE will turn you house into a lab scene from a SCI-FI film.

    For printing your certainly going to need a professional printer. The one we have is an A2 HP model and it cost over £4,000 and drinks ink like oliver reed liked a vodka. There are cheaper ones out there but realistically even a cheap one will be over a £1,000

    Either way your looking at thousands of pounds to start with and at that level you've started a business and that's a hole different ball game.

    I've seen to a few car shows and there's always a number of stands doing desktop vinyl cutting but the quality isn't that much better than what you could achieve with a steady hand a sharp knife and a bit of patients.

    Your best bet I'd guess is create your design and get it printed and cut by a local professional. After all thats what they're there for.
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 19, 2005
    Thanks for the advise!

    Seems that my request was a little out of my league and instead i may just ensure a steady hand a craft knife is in hand.

    that way i could do a template first the use this to cut the vinyl with. Much cheaper option just alot slower. However i will go to the local shops and see whats on offer!

    If not may go for something thats A4 size as hopefully thats a bit cheaper. a 1,000 or so sounds a fair amount of money for a play about!

    Thanks for the above once again, Given me some guidance!
  4. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 1, 2007
  5. macrumors regular

    Aug 1, 2009
    Well it's certainly worth an enthusiasts punt, I've not heard of that brand but that's not to say it isn't worth the money.

    There isn't anything there which would scream no don't buy this. It's not a flat bed or table cutter, you'd still need support tables. Vinyl can be cut on a roller cutter but as it starts to hang from the machine it swings and twists. Can make handling the final cut awkward and intricate designs can be difficult and get messy but if you're only cutting the odd thing here and there, then It's something that can be lived with.

    On a side note though A4 sheets could be printed on and carefully aligned and stuck onto a larger sheet and then cut? It's time consuming but then it's not a business.
  6. macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2008
    London, UK
  7. macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2008
    Loveland, CO
    I have a silhoulette ( I think I paid $160 for it on a close out deal. (Mine is a first gen that does not automatically start the paper feed ... you have to crank it in before you start the cut.) It is limited in the width of cut to ~8". I have not used it to cut vinyl, but it definitely can be used for that.

    The silhouette supports something called "print & cut". Basically, you print an image on a printer (can be an inkjet compatible vinyl), then load it into the cutter and it cuts around the printed image. They can do this because the cutter has a method of reading registration marks on the printout so that it knows where to cut.

    To date, I have used it for cutting paper for my wife for her bulletin board at school and for pen plotting some CAD drawings that were ~30" long. They do not directly support cutting/plotting from a Mac, but there are ways to do it from Adobe illustrator and inkscape (free). There are plenty of options out there from the cheap to the expensive. If this is just a one-off, you might do better taking your design to a sign shop that has a vinyl cutter. I am sure that would be cheaper than doing the whole thing yourself.

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