First CutterPros Customer Communication

Historically, CutterPros has not sent out very many customer communication emails. We are looking to change this and to attempt to send out informational emails once a month with company updates to stay in touch with our customers.

We have added a lot of products over the past several months. (Total products on CutterPros are approximately 34,000 now) Several products are offered at extremely competitive pricing including 15″ ThermoFlex Plus by Specialty Materials, Griff Decorative Vinyl by Griff, Oracal 651 by Oracal. We have had our 4 year ProCut vinyl for quite some time. Recently, we added a 5 year ProCut calendared vinyl as well which cuts and weeds even better than the 4 year vinyl. Due to customer requests, we have also added Oracal 631 in cut down sizes. As a reminder, ProCut Calendared vinyl and Oracal 651 are good for outdoor use. Oracal 631 has a removable adhesive that is very good for indoor use on walls. Do not use Oracal 631 outside or on cars.

Our trade-in program remains very popular. We will continue to take CR series units as trade ins for Saga units. CR series or Saga series units can be traded in on a cutter of your choice.
For the Saga units, we have also introduced the Saga challenge which allows you to trade in your Saga for a Graphtec unit within the first month if you are unhappy with your Saga unit for any reason. To date, nobody has decided to give up their Saga for a Graphtec…

We introduced DragonCut software in December of 2013. DragonCut is by far the best vinyl cutting software we have seen to date. It includes internal vectorization and ImageCut which can take a JPEG and cut an image of it directly out of vinyl without vectorization. ImageCut images are very popular and profitable at Flea Markets and Swap Meets. DragonCut works on Saga units only. For demonstrations of DragonCut please visit www.DragonCut.cn and watch the main video and all the training videos. We expect the DragonCut cutting technology to be ported to Vinyl Master by year end. Until then, DragonCut will have better cutting technology than Vinyl Master.

We have also introduced a trade-up program for CutterPros and Ricoma heat presses. You can trade these presses in for a GeoKnight or a Stahls press. This program is similar to our vinyl cutter trade-up program where CutterPros will pay return shipping on your trade-in press in addition to the credit for the new press.

I would also like to remind everyone that we are available for support after hours and on weekends. Usually from 6PM-9PM M-F and from 10AM-5PM Saturday and Sunday. The best way to contact us is through live chat or through an email to OffHoursSupport@CutterPros.com. Please contact us if you would like assistance.

I also urge all of you to read all of our posts on our technical blog. Taken together, they answer most questions posed by our customers. Much of the information is relevant to all vinyl cutting, not just Saga and Creation vinyl cutters. http://www.cutterpros.com/blog/

Here are some links to the items discussed above:

ThermoFlex Plus: http://www.cutterpros.com/ThermoFlex-Plus-Heat-Transfer-Film.htm
Griff Vinyl: http://www.cutterpros.com/Griff-Decorative-Films.htm
Oracal 651: http://www.cutterpros.com/Oracal-651-Intermediate-Cal.htm
Oracal 631: http://www.cutterpros.com/Oracal-631-Removable-Exhibition-Cal.htm
5 yr and 4 yr ProCut Calendared Vinyl: http://www.cutterpros.com/Vinyl-Roll-Vinyl-Rolls-Vinyl-Film-Vinyl-Material-Calendared.htm
Vinyl Cutter Trade In Program: http://www.cutterpros.com/Vinyl-Cutter-Plotter-Sign-Making-Machine-Trade-In-Trade-Up.htm
CutterPros Heat Press Trade In Program: http://www.cutterpros.com/Heat-Press-Trade-Up-Trade-In-Program-CutterPros-Heat-Presses-To-Geo-Knight.htm
Ricoma Heat Press Trade In Program: http://www.cutterpros.com/Heat-Press-Trade-Up-Trade-In-Program-Ricoma-Heat-Presses-To-Geo-Knight.htm

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Contour Cutter Laser Calibration Using Flexi Starter

An easy way to calibrate the offset coefficients for your cutter is to use the cutter laser to self-measure the distance from a contour loop to a geometry loop. Following is the procedure:

  1. Do not remove the paper from the cutter during this process. This way, we can maintain orthagonality while we measure the laser offset.
  2. Create a 1″ x 1″ square in Flexi Starter using the rectangle tool (fourth down on the left menu bar). In the Design Central pop up menu, set the length and width to 1″ x 1″ and set the corners to be square (Regular).
  3. Create a contour path around that square with an offset of 0 so the contour loop is coincident with the original geometry square. Go to Effects at the top, select Contour Cut… In the design central window, set the offset to 0 and select the green checkmark.
  4. Create your 4 registration marks. With the contour in place, go to Effects, select Contour Cut Marks…  Select 4 point in Design Central and press the green check mark.
  5. Place a pen and paper in your vinyl cutter. Zero the pen near the middle of the paper and to the front. The contour loop will plot above and to the right of the geometry loop so we will want space above and to the right.
  6. Plot the original 1″ x 1″ square and the registration marks using the cut command.
  7. Move the laser so it is below and to the right of the first registration mark. Flexi will not allow negative numbers to be used during the registration process. Rezero the origin by selecting the Enter button on the cutter.
  8. Run the contour cut using the Contour Cut button (just to the right of the cut button on the top menu bar). The Cut Contour window will pop up.
  9. Under the cutter is a button called Properties… on the Cut Contour pop up window, select this tab. The third tab to the right is the Cut tab in the Default Job Properties pop up window, select the Cut tab. On the Cut tab you will find the Cutter Options… button on the bottom, select this. You will see the Before Job window. The Offset X and Offset Y is where the laser offsets will go. Select both boxes and put in 0 and 0 for the X and Y offsets. Select the Apply button. Close the Before Job window and the Default Job Properties window.
  10. Select Send from the Cut Contour screen, this will allow us to send the contour cut to the cutter. Select the Interactive alignment (Manual) options from the Alignment pop up window. Select OK. The Interactive alignment window will pop up. Using the arrows on your keyboard move the laser to the first registration mark. NOTE, IT IS VERY HELPFUL TO HAVE A REMOTE KEYBOARD OR TO HAVE YOUR KEYBOARD NEAR YOUR CUTTER WHEN DOING THIS. Select OK when complete. Do the same for positions 2, 3 and 4.
  11. A pop up box will say Please put knife back in cutter and click OK to start cutting. Select OK and the contour cut will be executed.
  12. The contour cut will be up and to the right of the original square. The distance between these two squares is equal to the distance between the laser and the cutting point.
  13. Place the laser back in the bottom right corner again and re-zero the cutter by pressing the enter button.
  14. Send the contour cut again.
  15. Select Interactive alignment (Manual) again.
  16. Using the keyboard arrows, move the laser to the top left corner of the original square.
  17. Record the X, Y values from the Interactive Alignment screen. For instance, 1.614 inch x 1.208 inch.
  18. Using the keyboard arrows, move the laser to the top left corner of the contour cut square.
  19. Record the X, Y values from the Interactive Alignment screen. For instance, 2.604 inch x .482 inch.
  20. Now, subtract the X and Y values from each other. For instance: 1.614-2.604 = -0.99″ for X and 1.208-.482 = .726″ for Y.
  21. These are the values for your cutter laser offsets. Flexi will want these numbers entered in mm, not inches so we should convert the value. For instance: -.99*25.4 mm/inch = -25.15 mm for X. .726*25.4 mm/inch = 18.44 mm for Y.
  22. Cancel out of this contour cut.
  23. Return to Properties, Default Job Properties, Cut tab, Cutter Options… Select the Offset X and Offset Y boxes and enter your offsets for the X and Y values. For instance, -25.15 and 18.44 in this example (use the values you calculated for your cutter). Click Apply. Note, the X value will always be negative and the Y value will always be positive. The positive X direction is left as you face the cutter and the positive Y direction is toward the back of the cutter as you face it. Although your values will be slightly different than the ones presented in this example, they should be very close to these values.
  24. Select done to close out of the Contour Cut screen.
  25. Send the contour cut again.
  26. Select the second tab of the options screen. On this tab you will see Drawing Colors and there will be a color called CutContour. Double click on this color.
  27. The settings pop up box will display. Select the Offset X and Offset Y checkboxes and enter your offset coordinates again. Select Apply and OK to close the box.
  28. Select Send in the bottom right and run through the contour cut alignment process making sure your carriage starts from the zero in the lower right corner. (This is necessary as Flexi will not accept negative values from the alignment process).
  29. Your contour cut should be very close if not directly on top of the original square.
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ProCut Contour Or Servo Vinyl Cutter Setup Flexi Starter (PC)

1) You will receive a USB Dongle with Flexi Starter. Do not plug this into the computer until you have installed Flexi Starter first.

2) You will receive a disk that contains Flexi Starter. This disk will also have a long license code attached to it. Flexi Starter can also be downloaded from the CutterPros tech support page here in section H: http://www.cutterpros.com/downloads/

3) Insert the Flexi Starter disk and open it with Windows File Explorer.

  1. Navigate to the “Autorun” file and launch the Flexi installation.
  2. Flexi will take a long time to install, especially on older or slower computers.
  3. If you have mistakenly plugged the driver into a USB port please remove it.
  4. Welcome to the InstallShield Wizard for Flexi Starter (click Next)
  5. Accept License Agreement (Click Next)
  6. Accept default file location (Click Next)
  7. Accept default files to install (click Next)
  8. Accept default folder name (click Next)
  9. Installation proceeds and shows Setup Status screen… (wait for completion)
  10. The Setup Status will then show configuration of the installation… (wait for completion)
  11. Screen will show if the USB dongle is connected to the computer, please remove it now, so that the dongle driver can be installed. (remove the dongle if you plugged it in, select OK)
  12. Setup Status shows configuration screen and dongle driver installation… (wait for completion)
  13. Installation screen will disappear, your computer won’t show anything but installation is still completing in the background, please wait…. (wait for completion, this may take a little while)
  14. Eventually, the Install manager screen will pop up. Input your password into the password box. Your user number (6 digit code which should match with the 6 digit code on the side of your dongle) will display and the Product will populate. (Select Done)
  15. Install manager will allow you to install to desktop and to clear preferences. (select OK)
  16. Install manager will process… (wait for completion, do not press Done)
  17. When this is complete, a green installation bar on a white background will display (wait for completion)
  18. Eventually, the green bar will disappear, nothing will display on the computer, Flexi is finishing installation in the background. Please wait… (wait for completion, this may take a little while)
  19. Eventually, the install shield wizard will show a complete screen. You are done! Click Finish.

We recommend you restart your computer.

Plug in your dongle. The Safenet Drivers will install when they detect the dongle.

Run Flexi Starter.

Note, we have noticed that some Bluetooth drivers can interfere with the Safenet Dongle Driver. If your dongle is not recognized, disable your Bluetooth driver and try running Flexi again.

Note, we have noticed that some anti-virus programs and firewalls can interfere with Flexi and the install process. If this happens, please disable your virus protection and try again.

Note, we have noticed that sometimes, the dongle driver gets overwritten with Windows default drivers and Flexi cannot find the dongle. If this occurs, follow these steps to reinstall the Safenet Driver:

  1. Download the Safenet Sentinel Protection Installer driver file using link below (first selection):
  2. http://www.safenet-inc.com/support_and_downloads/Download_Drivers/Sentinel_Drivers/
  3. Remove the key from the computer
  4. Run installation file
  5. Plug the key back to the computer and start the software.

Note, in the event you need to reinstall Flexi, please go to Add / Remove programs and uninstall using this tool. Uninstall both Flexi Starter and the Safenet Driver from the Program list. Reboot after uninstall and when asked, click yes to delete / remove user settings.

When you go to cut something, Production Manager will open up. You will need to select your cutter. The communication port will be USB_Printer_# where # is a number. Usually it is 0 if you don’t have any other USB Printers on your system. If you have another USB Printer, the port may be USB_Printer_1 or perhaps another number. Usually, start with the highest numbered printer first. Send a test cut without a blade holder installed in the
carriage. If your cutter responds, you are connected. If your cutter doesn’t respond, change to another USB_Printer_# port number.

Finishing Up

With your software installed, and your cutter setup on its stand and connected to your computer, we highly recommend you call us at 888-828-8776 to schedule your training session. Training sessions take approximately 1 to 2 hours and can cover SignCut, Flexi, InkScape (text on path, offsets, vectorization), contour cutting and your cutter functionality. Training is free and included for the life of the cutter regardless of the
warranty or cutter purchased.

Posted in Flexi, Vinyl Cutting Tutorials Tips And Tricks | Leave a comment

ProCut Contour Or Servo Vinyl Cutter Setup SignCut Pro (Mac or PC)

1) Download the latest version of SignCut from:

  1. http://www.signcutpro.com/
  2. Select Downloads from the top menu
  3. http://www.signcutpro.com/download-signcut-productivity-pro/
  4. Open the “+” to see the files and select Windows
    or Mac version.
  5. TIP: You can download the plugins for InkScape,
    Corel Draw and Illustrator here as well. Do this after you have installed
    SignCut Pro
  6. http://www.signcutpro.com/download-available-plug-ins/

2) Allow your explorer to run (install) the software

  1. Alternatively you may save this file to your computer and install it after it has been copied to your hard drive. This can be done by selecting save to disk.

3) Agree to the license terms

4) Accept the default directory and install

5) Select yes to InkScape if you wish to install InkScape. InkScape is a free graphics  program capable of bitmap vectorization somewhat similar to Corel Draw and Adobe Illustrator.

  1. TIP: SignCut may not install the latest copy of InkScape. We recommend you go to www.InkScape.org to download and install the latest stable version directly from the InkScape web site.
  2. Accept all the defaults to install InkScape when the InkScape pop-up installation window appears.

6) If you purchased a permanent license of SignCut and have a dongle key (USB thumb drive), plug it in now.

7) Open SignCut

8) SignCut will ask you for your registration code.

  1. If you purchased your cutter with a 1 year license, you will receive a bundle code on a bright yellow or green 8.5×11 sheet of paper included with your cutter. It may be in the small box inside the cutter box or included in the documentation packet. It will say “Document of Value” at the top and contain a bundle code (this is NOT the registration code). Follow the instructions on this sheet of paper to go to http://www.signcutpro.com/register-bundle/
    This will allow you to register your bundle code. You will then receive the actual SignCut 1 year license code through your email and listed on the registration screen. This process takes a couple minutes and the codes are issued right away. Copy the registration code and save it in notepad or other editor program.
  2. If you purchased a dongle, CutterPros will register your license with SignCut. Depending on timing, your activation code will either be with the dongle or it will be emailed to you. Enter this code into SignCut to activate the dongle license.

9) Once registered, you will need to select your cutter and communication port. This is done by selecting the Cutter button at the top right-center of the screen. Select the manufacturer, your cutter and the port.

  1. Manufacturer – Saga
  2. Cutter –
    1. ProCut Contour 2400 – Saga 720I
    2. ProCut Contour 4800 – Saga 1350I
    3. ProCut Servo 2400 – Saga 720II
    4. ProCut Servo 4800 – Saga 1350II
    5. ProCut Servo 6400 – Saga 1750II
  3. Port – USB00# where # is the USB port number of your cutter. (For MAC, this will be Saga USB)
  4. The communication settings will grey out because this is a direct connection.

10)  Remove your blade holder from the carriage (the blade holder is the metal tube in the carriage that holds the blade). This can be done by unscrewing the thumb screw and pulling the blade holder up and out of the carriage.

11)  In SignCut, select the text button on the left side of the screen. Type an X in the text box and say OK. SignCut will display an X on the screen.

12) Select the cut icon on the left side of the screen

13)   The cut / plot pop up window will display

14)   Select to “Cut out” in the bottom left corner to send a test cut to your cutter.

15)  Your cutter should move around as if it were cutting the X.

16)   Your cutter is now communicating with SignCut and is ready!

Finishing Up

With your software installed, and your cutter setup on its stand and connected to your computer, we highly recommend you call us at 888-828-8776 to schedule your training session. Training sessions take approximately 1 to 2 hours and can cover SignCut, Flexi, InkScape (text on path, offsets, vectorization), contour cutting and your cutter functionality. Training is free and included for the life of the cutter regardless of the
warranty or cutter purchased.

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ProCut Contour And Servo Vinyl Cutter New Customer Setup

When you receive your cutter, open the box from the top being careful not to penetrate the box with a razor blade so as not to scratch the contents inside. The banding straps will need to be cut with a pair of scissors or a cutting tool.

Contained under one of the box flaps on the top there may be documentation. Please save all documentation that comes with your vinyl cutter. Additional documentation may be contained in the box with the cutter or inside a smaller box packaged with the cutter.

Your vinyl cutter package will contain your vinyl cutter along with a small box of supplies such as the blade holder, blades, USB cable, software, etc.

Your stand and if ordered, your basket, will be in a separate box in the bottom of the cutter box, underneath the cutter.

In order to insure you have access to the latest revision of information, we have placed the setup instructions and the manual for your vinyl cutter online. These can be downloaded from the CutterPros Tech Support Page available at the following address. You will need the free Acrobat PDF viewer to view the files. To install the free viewer, go to http://www.adobe.com.

http://www.cutterpros.com/downloads/

The user manual for the cutter (also has stand setup instructions) E1:

http://www.cutterpros.com/downloads/procutcontourmanual.pdf
Cutter setup instructions E2:

http://www.cutterpros.com/downloads/contourcuttersetup.pdf

Setup your cutter on the stand, install your basket if you have one.

Plug your cutter into your computer using the USB cable. If you need a longer cable you can purchase one. Any high quality standard USB-Printer cable will work.

Plug in the power cord for the cutter. Turn your cutter on with the power switch at the end of the cutter. The cutter will go through a short setup and the LCD will glow blue.

Your cutter will use default drivers included in Windows. These drivers will self-install. Your cutter is now communicating with your computer.

Your cutter is oriented such that as you look at the front, the blue LCD display is to the right.

Vinyl rolls are placed on the stand rails in the back (alternatively you may place a roll bar through the vinyl roll. Vinyl is then fed from the back to the front of the cutter and as the vinyl cuts, vinyl comes out towards you. In general, vinyl is used from the right side to the left side. Positive X and Y go from right to left and from front to back.

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Vinyl Cutter Tracking Quality Parameters Effects and Causes

Tracking is the ability of a vinyl cutter to be able to return to the correct point after cutting out a loop. It is easy for a vinyl cutter to track over short distances and small loops of a few inches or so however, if your loops become substantially large such as 10′ or so you may need to adjust some things so your loops close and your vinyl cutter maintains its tracking.

Here are some parameters you will need to adjust when your loops exceed 10 feet or so:

1) In general, servo cutters track slightly better than stepper cutters. This is due to both the higher resolution of the motor encoding for a servo motor as well as less vibration (smoother operation) being present in a servo system.

2) Dirt and dust that get deposited on both the rubber wheels on the top rollers and on the grit rollers on the bottom will reduce the friction between the wheels and the vinyl. The cutter depends on a high friction factor between the roller wheels and the vinyl to maintain a good track. Usually, what happens is that when a long cut is made, the vinyl hits the floor. When it hits the floor it picks up substantial debris (lint, dust, etc) due to static charge. This debris deposits itself on the rollers and makes them slippery. We recommend for long cutting that you get a basket to catch the vinyl so it doesn’t hit the floor. In addition, prior to any long cutting, we recommend cleaning the top and bottom rollers. The top rollers can be cleaned with a cotton cloth with some ammonia based cleaner (such as glass cleaner). The bottom rollers can be cleaned with a dry tooth brush. Be careful not to deposit cloth fibers on the bottom roller.

3) In order to increase the friction force between the vinyl and the rollers we recommend increasing the force on the top rollers. This can be done with the adjustment nuts on the back of the rollers.

4) Another factor that decreases the tracking ability of a cutter is the speed which it is run at. When cutting at high speed, the rollers will depart more kinetic energy into the vinyl. When the cutter has to stop the vinyl from a high speed condition, some of that kinetic energy may result in slippage between the vinyl and the rollers. To reduce the vinyl inertia and reduce slippage between the roller wheels and the vinyl it is advisable to reduce the cutting speed. In general, cutting at slower speed will result in better tracking. Use a speed of about 100 mm/s for Saga cutters.

5) Roll out your vinyl in advance and use a sharp blade. By doing this, you can reduce the force against the roller bar and thus reduce any slippage that would occur due to these forces. By rolling out your vinyl you will also insure that your vinyl is adequately lined up to the cutter over the distance you expect to be cutting. We recommend rolling out the length of vinyl that will be used in your run and making sure that the vinyl is tracking straight with the cutter over that distance. Line up the vinyl with the cutter within 1 mark on the ruler over the distance of the cut. The vinyl can wobble left / right within a mark but it cannot walk more than 1 mark in either direction. This can be frustrating to get the vinyl running that straight but it is necessary for good tracking. It takes a little practice and a little time.

6) If you are running vinyl that is smaller than your cutter size (for instance, 24″ wide vinyl being run in a 48″ cutter), center the vinyl with respect to the rollers which are closest to the center of the cutter. There is a natural bow in the cutter due to the roller spring forces and the blade forces. Not centering the vinyl on the cutter will cause the vinyl to creep due to this bow. It is more important to select the rollers that are evenly spaced for the vinyl width over vinyl centering. For 24” width vinyl on a 48” cutter this means using rollers 1, 3 and 4 for a Saga cutter. This is better than running the material down the center of the cutter.

7) Use the sharpest blade. This is likely a 60° blade. This will allow for the least resistance of the blade through the vinyl. Use a newer blade. Newer blades are sharper.

8) Use the lowest possible force that cuts through the vinyl with the sharpest blade. For the servos, this is a setting around 50 or so for a 45° blade, possibly lower force for a 60° blade.

9) Make sure that the vinyl is free to loosely fall in front and behind the cutter. If there is any extraneous left / right forces or if a corner of the vinyl snags on something or if it kinks it will throw the tracking off. The vinyl must be free to move as it needs to. A basket is highly recommended for the best vinyl handling.

10) The above recommendations will apply not only to ProCut / Saga vinyl cutters but most vinyl cutters that don’t employ a perforation tracking system. With perforated vinyl, the cutter does not depend on friction between the vinyl and the rollers for tracking but rather has the vinyl perforations and mechanical pins to mechanically restrict vinyl tracking to the rollers. Because of this, in general, perforated vinyl systems track better than roller friction based systems.

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Vectorization Of A Photograph For Vinyl Cutting Using InkScape

As many of our clients are aware, vinyl cutting is easy. Most of the time and effort involved in the creation of a custom decal is spent with cleaning up artwork or, if the decal is intricate with small features, with weeding. Below, you can see a sample of a picture that was vectorized in InkScape, cleaned in InkScape and then cut with a ProCut cutter. This artwork was submitted by Randall. He received his cutter and his training session approximately 1 week prior to completing this project. The time from photograph to finished decal was approximately 3 hours with the majority of the time spent in the vectorization and clean-up phase. The results are very good as it is readily apparent that Randall took his time cleaning the artwork. Note that in some cases, you may need to vectorize an image different ways and then use part of the detail from one vectorization and part of the detail from another vectorization. Also note the detail that Randall was able to carry from the picture to the decal. All the important profiles are present in the decal which allows the viewer to capture the essence of the picture that the decal was derived from. The ability to accomplish this usually comes from substantial practice.

Start from this picture:

Interim phase with vectorization needing cleanup:

 

To the finished product:

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ProCut ARMS Vinyl Cutter By Saga Automatic Registration Mark Cutting With SignCut Pro

The process of ARMS cutting is simple however, there are some important points that you will need to be aware of.

1) The first step is to create your contour outline with registration marks. The registration marks used by the ARMS Vinyl Cutter system are simple “L” shaped lines in the four corners. It is helpful if you can make these corner registration marks thicker than a normal line. Perhaps 1 mm (.040″) thick or so and they should be black or should be the color that maximizes the contrast relative to the color of the base media. These 8 lines in the corners should be 25 mm long which is .98425″ (not one inch). The length of these lines is important. If they are too long they will not be recognized by SignCut as registration markers and if they are too short there won’t be enough zone for automatically detecting them. 25 mm is just right. See picture below. In addition, the marks should be orthogonal with respect to each other and they should be directly in-line with one another and define the outer bounding box of the image. Make sure the registration mark lines are not offset with respect to one another.

2) SignCut will cut all the vector art in your image except for the 8 registration marker lines in the corners. Make sure your contour cut file contains only the 8 registration marks in the corners and the countour cut path. Non-vector art like JPEG artwork is OK as it will not be cut by SignCut but make sure to remove any other vector art you do not want cut as part of the contour.

3) Make sure you are using the latest version of SignCut. You will need SignCut version 1.96 to support the ARMS system. This version can be obtained by going to SignCut here, not by checking for updates through the SignCut Help menu:

http://www.signcutpro.com/download-signcut-productivity-pro/

4) Next, open your contour cut path with the 4 L shaped corner registration markers in SignCut. The image will open and appear vertical in the SignCut window. Keep in mind that vertical orientation in the SignCut screen is left to right on your cutter. If you wish to place your artwork in front to back orientation as you look at your cutter, you will need to rotate your image 90° in SignCut so the orientations match. Matching the orientation between your artwork in SignCut and the artwork on the cutter is very important.

5) Place a small test piece of vinyl in your cutter that is similar to the material you will be contour cutting. Set your force and speed on the cutter and press the test button which will cause the cutter to cut a triangle / square test pattern. Verify that you can weed the square and that your blade doesn’t penetrate the release liner.

6) Next, load your artwork into the vinyl cutter in the orientation you wish to cut at. Try to align your media with the cutter as best as possible. It may be useful to roll the media front to back a few times to check for rotational alignment. If the media is not well lined up with the cutter, lift the rollers, rotate your media slightly, lower the rollers and then roll the media front to back again to verify. Repeat as necessary.

7) Next, turn on the laser on the cutter and you will see the optic sensor laser on your image. Take the cutter offline and use the arrow keys to move the cutter head and the media so that the laser is in the center of the bottom right target. It should be in the center of the 25 x 25 mm square created by the lower right alignment mark line segments. It is important that you line up the laser with the center so that the automatic alignment algorithms find the first mark properly. SignCut expects this initial position so the first thing SignCut will do is look to the right and then look down to find these two first line segments. Place the laser where the X is marked in the image below. See picture.

8) In SignCut select the “Cutter” button at the top right corner, for your ARMS cutting system please select SAGA and the Cutter will be one of the following ARMS equipped cutters:

  • 28″ -> SAGA-720IP, SAGA-720-IIP
  • 53″ -> SAGA-1350IP, SAGA-1350IIP
  • 68″ -> SAGA-1750IP, SAGA-1750IIP

The output device / port will be a USB port such as USB001. If you have multiple USB ports listed, start with the highest port number and if a connection is not established then try another port. When one of the Saga ARMS systems is selected as the cutter the Saga ARMS cut will become available under “Special cutting”.

9A) With your image open in SignCut and orientated correctly with how you have placed your graphics in your cutter, you can initiate the contour cut. To initiate the ARMS Contour cut, select “Special cutting” from the top menu bar and select the “Saga ARMS Contour cut” option. A dialog box will open which states that you should align the center of the bottom right corner image marker (SignCut refers to the bottom right marker as the ‘first’ marker of the four). Since we have already done this in step 5 above we are ready. As soon as you press the OK button, SignCut will begin the contour cut.

9B) TIP: If your image contains contour lines, 8 registration mark lines and artwork vector art, you will need to select the registration mark lines and the contour lines to send to the cutter before selecting the “Saga ARMS Contour cut”. The easiest way to do this is to make sure your contour lines and registration lines are either on the same layer or are on 2 layers that you can select on the right side-bar menu. Select the two layers by holding down the control key and selecting the layer for the contour path and for the registration marks. Next, select “Saga ARMS Contour cut” and only the contour path and the registration marks will be sent to the cutter. The next method for selecting the contour path and registration marks is to use the SignCut selection tools to select only the contour path and the registration marks.

10) The test file you see below was created in InkScape by drawing straight lines in the shape of an L and then resizing each L to 25mm x 25mm. It can be downloaded from CutterPros at the following link. (Right click on the link and select Save Target As… to save this to a file on your computer) For this test, you can use a plotter pen. Print the test file on a piece of paper, run the ARMS contour cut and the pen will trace out the rectangle and the word TEST.

 

http://support.cutterpros.com/downloads/ProCut-ARMS-By-Saga-ARMS-Test-InkScape-Laser-Mark.svg

 

ProCut ARMS By Saga ARMS Test InkScape Laser Mark Location

ProCut ARMS By Saga ARMS Test InkScape Laser Mark Location

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Usage Of Fonts As Vinyl Cutter Ready Vector Art

Although you can use virtually any artwork to vectorize with InkScape and cut with your vinyl cutter, the extended characters of font sets are perhaps some of the most readily available sources of good quality Vinyl Cutter Ready Vector Art (VCRVA). It is also very inexpensive to purchase fonts. You can get thousands of fonts for around $20.
Vinyl Cutter Ready Vector Art (VCRVA) is artwork that is made from closed loops and has weedable areas. If your artwork is not closed loop vector art then portions of it will not be able to be weeded. Font characters are looped vector art and are weedable.
Looking through the font list available in SignCut, Flexi and in InkScape you will see some of the characters available in the font set. Usually you will see A, B, C, D, etc. but you will not see the extended characters in the font set. A good way to see the extended characters in the font set is to use the Character Map tool in Windows.
Go to your Windows Start menu, Programs, Accessories (or Windows Accessories), System Tools and you will find the Character Map program. The program is charmap.exe so if you can’t find it, search your hard drive for “charmap”
Running this program you will see the fonts listed in the top. Pull down the arrow to change the fonts. Below this is the complete character set. Scroll down with the scroll bar on the right to see all the characters in the font. You will mostly be interested in the True Type fonts which are fonts identified with the TT in front of them.
As you scroll through the font sets you will see a variety of pictures like houses, planes, telephones, etc. You will also see arrows which are very commonly used in signs.
To lift the character from the character map, double click the character and it will appear in the characters to copy list down at the bottom. (You can also press the select button). Then click the copy button next to the Characters to copy: box. The character will now be on your clip board. Next, go to SignCut, Flexi, InkScape or other program and open up a text window using the create text tool. Select Edit and Paste (alternatively you can press CNTL+V as the keyboard shortcut for paste). The character should now be in your artwork or cutting software as text.
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Transfer Tape Selection For Vinyl Cutter Decals And Cut Vinyl Application

There are many types of transfer tape to choose from. When choosing transfer tape, keep in mind the following points:

  1. Tact – Your transfer tape should have a tact that will easily remove the vinyl from the release liner and then easily remove away from the applied vinyl
  2. Transparency – When you are applying your vinyl to your target surface it is highly advantageous to use a transfer tape that allows you to see through to your decal so you can see what you are doing.
  3. Cost – Although transfer tape is very important for aiding in the proper application of your graphics to the target surface, the transfer tape itself will be discarded and in and of itself it is not the end product.
  4. Ability to absorb release agents – Some transfer tape has the ability to absorb a release agent thereby having the ability to be removed with decals still wet. Other transfer tape that is hydrophobic will not allow release agents to penetrate to the adhesion layer and hence, will need to dry before it can be removed if the decal is applied wet.

ProCut Transfer Tape was chosen with a moderate tact and a paper backing so that it can be wet applied and can be removed with a release agent such as the ClearStar Splash fluid. These properties allow this transfer tape to be used with a wide variety of vinyls and allow it to be removed quickly during wet application by releasing the adhesive with the application fluid. Although it is not transparent, this transfer tape is semi-transparent / opaque which will allow you to partially see through during application. The transfer tape adhesion to the vinyl changes color somewhat when it is rolled with a squeegee which allows you to know if you have good adhesion to the tape and where you still need to apply pressure with your squeegee. The transfer tape is also inexpensive as it is a discardable consumable in the application process. During dry application, the transfer tape can be reused a few times. We use the vinyl release liner to store transfer tape for reuse.

If you are doing smaller, pre-cut decals where wet application will not be a consideration it may be better to choose a completely transparent application tape.

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