Learn how to get better tracking with our vinyl cutter with this video tutorial.
Whether you own a Roland GX-24, GCC Expert, Puma, Jaguar, Bengal, Zencut, Vinyl Express or other brand cutter this edition of the Tuesday Tip Jar is for you.
One of the biggest complaints we hear from novice and experienced cutter operators is that it is tough to get accurate tracking. (To catch everyone up, the term tracking refers to the accuracy at which the vinyl is fed through the machine when cutting)
Today’s vinyl cutters feed material through the unit with friction – the industry term is friction fed. To hold the loaded material, the pinch rollers on the upper shaft of the cutter are lowered with a lever or one by one. When locked the material of choice is sandwiched between these top pinch rollers and the bottom roller bar. The roller bar turns like a wheel to feed the material through. Usually, if you run your finger directly underneath the designated pinch roller area you’ll find a gritty rubber like material on the roller bar to help feed the material through the machine with greater precision. Different models of cutters have different styles of grit and some even have a textured bottom bar rather than the rubber material to help with tracking.
As you may have guessed, tracking is one of those features to look for when buying a vinyl cutter because of course some machines are better than others when it comes to this task. One of the top cutters on the market for this functionality is the Summa brand. Many other brands such as Graphtec, Roland and Mimaki are quite good as well. You’ll find that the professional grade sign cutters (those 30″ or larger) do a better job…the operators of these cutters need it, as they’re usually large production shops or those cutting signs.
So, you may already own a vinyl cutter. If you do, this video is for you. Here are some tips to get better tracking with the unit you’ve purchased or if you don’t own a cutter this will help to prepare you for shopping.
Please feel free to leave a comment with any insider tips that you may have when it comes to tracking!
Fun Fact – When I started selling heat applied film material back in 2001 we sold a lot of punched material. Punched material is punched on the edges of the roll with a hole pattern. Some of the older cutters and printer/cutters in the market are sprocket fed rather than friction fed. The sprocket tracking can’t be beat. The challenge is finding a supplier of punched vinyl who can deliver it to you with a hole pattern compatible with your machine consistently.