vinyl cutter

Print And Cut with the GX-24

A while back I created a step-by-step walk through for setting up the Roland GX-24 for Print & Cut using the Cut Studio software.  I’ve been emailing it out as requested to date but it belongs in a more public domain. 

Before I get into the steps involved, the most important thing to know is that this process has to be done in only the Cut Studio software.  You can create your artwork in another design software if you so choose, just save the artwork as a Bitmap (.bmp) or Jpeg (.jpg) to bring into Cut Studio. 

  • The secret to the Print & Cut process is in the Crop Marks.  The Crop Marks that are set up in Cut Studio are what the Optic Eye on the GX-24 uses to register itself.  To add the Crop Marks on the screen, click on “File” and then “Print & Cut”.  This will put two round, black circles on the bottom of your page and one in the upper left.
    • You should notice the options below “Print & Cut” (print, print setup, etc) are no longer grayed out.  If you aren’t in Print & Cut mode there is no reason to use any of those options. 
  • Make sure you have the correct printer and paper size.  To do this, click on “File” and “Set up the printer”.  This is where you’ll select the printer and paper size for your job.  If you adjust the paper size you should notice the crop marks automatically adjust to account for the new settings.

You are ready to import your artwork.  Cut Studio does not read fill colors for vector files so make sure the artwork you are importing for Print & Cut is a bitmap or jpeg as discussed above. 

  • To bring in your image, click on “File” and “Import”.  Locate your design and click “Open”.
    •  More often than not Cut Studio will bring a design in very large.  To re-size the design, click on “Properties”, the “Size & Shape” tab and then re-size your design as needed.  Click the “Move” icon on the top toolbar to bring your design to the origin point on the screen.
  • The next step is to add the cut line(s). 
    • With the image selected, click on “Object” and then “Image Outline”.  This will bring up the “Image Outline” box. 
    • Cut Studio will add a cut line anywhere the black meets the white.  You can adjust the colors by moving the Alignment Image Density slider. 
    • Once you have your desired density, click the “Extract Contour Lines” button.  If you don’t like what you see, you can still adjust the slider and hit the button again.
    • Once you have the cut line the way you want it, hit the OK button.

You are ready to print.  It is very important that the file does not move from here on out.  Once it is sent to the printer, what is on the screen must remain the same as when you send it to the cutter.

  • Steps to print
    • To preview what your design will look like when printed, click on “File” and “Print Preview”.  You should notice that the image will be a bit move vivid and the Cut Studio Grid will be gone.  You’ll also notice that the cut line is not visible.  Cut Studio recognizes the cut line and removes it from the printed image.
    • To send to the printer, click the “Print” button in the upper left hand corner.  When your print box comes up, click the OK button.  This will send to your printer.

Now that you have your printed design, you’re ready to cut.  Make sure you leave Cut Studio in the “Print & Cut” mode.  This is the only way the Optic Eye will function.

  • On the cutter
    • Load the printed Transfer in the cutter with the two registration points on the bottom. 
    • Select “Piece” when the Select Sheet option comes up on the GX-24.  This will measure your width and length. 
    • Set your origin on the registration point in the lower left hand corner. 
    • Back on the Cut Studio software, click on “File” and “Cutting”.  When the cutting box opens, make sure the GX-24 is displayed in the drop down box.  Click OK.

When you click OK, the Optic Eye laser will search for the Registration point.  This is why you set the origin over the Registration Point at the lower left.  It makes it easy for the cutter to find it’s starting point.  Once it finds all three, it will begin cutting. 

The Print and Cut process is pretty simple as long as you’re familiar with it.  Hopefully this has helped you!

If there are any questions, please contact me.

AY

Name and Number Options

Choosing the Heat Transfer that is right for your application will depend on many factors.  What type of equipment do you currently own?  How quickly can my customers get their finished goods?  How much will the equipment, material or service cost me?  To decide which option is your best, you have to ask yourself these questions.

Transfer Required:

Create Names & Numbers for Sports Uniforms

Options:

Vinyl Cutter & Heat Press

  • Creating your own Names & Numbers with a vinyl cutter is as simple as adding a Heat Applied Material such as the Spectra Eco-Film.

Advantage – Owning your own vinyl cutter gives you the most flexibility and is less expensive in the long run.  You will have the ability to create on demand with sufficient stock.  Roster additions can be made same day.  Choosing the correct vinyl cutter will also open you up into different markets, including signs, applique and pre-printed transfers. 

Disadvantage– Investing in a vinyl cutter can be expensive for some.  A start-up business would be well served by making the initial investment but the money isn’t always there.  Pricing will range from $1000 – $7995 for the most common cutters purchased.  Choosing a model like the Roland GX-24 will get you into all the markets mentioned above for under $2000. 

When cutting your own, you also are responsible for weeding.  Weeding is simply the process of pulling away excess vinyl from the carrier before applying to your garment.  The options listed below will usually come ready to apply, no weeding required.

Order Pre-Cuts – Ordering pre-cuts is the most inexpensive way to get started with athletic lettering.  A Heat Press is still required.

Pre-Cuts are typically ordered two ways

  • Pre-Spaced Player Names – Pre-Spaced Player Names are ordered custom.  Input your roster of players, including numbers if applicable, and the names will be sent to you ready to apply.  Pre-Spaced Player Names and/or Numbers can be ordered from Stahls ID Direct and ship out within a few days.

Advantage– Low start-up cost.  Names come ready to apply and no additional work (weeding) is required.  Ordering pre-cuts can be beneficial as an outsourcing option.  If you are very busy with other projects you can have someone else do some work for you at a reasonable price.

Disadvantage– Higher price per name and/or number vs. cutting your own.  Turn time and lack of control over your project also has to be considered.

  • Die-Cut Letters – Die-Cut letters and numbers is how the lettering industry got it’s start.  Before Vinyl Cutters came about, Dies where used to cut vinyl one letter at a time.  Today, Die-Cuts are still a viable option and at a much higher production.  Die-Cuts are also available from Stahls.

Advantage – Just like Pre-Spaced Player Names, low start-up cost, ready to apply and an outsourcing option.  Pricing is a bit lower, much closer to cutting your own.

Disadvantage– You’re still lacking control and turn time.  Die-Cuts can be stocked but having all the letters, numbers, colors, etc available isn’t always going to happen.  Die-Cuts also have to be spaced out.  There are tools available to help you accomplish this but it is more time consuming compared to the Pre-Spaced or Cut Your Own options mentioned above. 

Summary:

All of these options are viable.  If you take the time to answer the questions I posed in the opening and consider the features, advantages and disadvantages, you should be able to determine the transfer that is right for you.  If you are a start-up or expanding business without the funds to invest in a Vinyl Cutter, Pre-Cuts will still allow you to create the transfers that your customers require.  It is an excellent way to test and build your market.  When the time comes, adding the cutter will give you better flexibility, cost savings and expand your offering.  I will always recommend cutting your own but each situation is different.  If it is feasible, start out right and offer everything that you can to your customers.  Keep in mind, if you can’t offer it, odds are someone else can.

Cutting Twill with the GX-24

UPDATE:  For anyone that is interested, there will be an oncore performance of the Cutting Twill webinar given by my co-worker, Josh Ellsworth on Feb 24 and Feb 25.  Please follow This Link to sign up for or see additional information on this free webinar. 

 

cuttingtwill

Cutting Twill with the Roland GX-24 is pretty simple.  I’ve created a step-by-step for you to follow to fully understand the process. 

You’ll need the following:

    • Roland GX-24
    • Cut Studio Design Software (included with the GX-24)
    • Imprintables Twill Stitch Pro
    • 60 Degree Carbide Blade
    • Pressure Sensitive Poly-Twill

Here’s the process:

Cutting

  • Import your artwork into Cut Studio.   You can import .eps or .ai files directly into Cut Studio.  If you currently use Corel Draw or Illustrator, you can also use the Cut Studio Plug-In to bring the artwork directly in.
  • Make sure your design is NOT mirrored.  Unlike the standard Heat Applied Materials that you are accustomed to cutting, Poly-Twill is cut in the positive. 
  • Make sure your design is sized the way you want it.  You will not be able to change the size after you cut!
  • On the GX-24, make sure you do a test cut to check cutting depth.  You’ll want to put the 60 degree blade in there before doing your test cut. 
  • In Cut Studio, Click on “Cutting” icon that’s on the top tool bar.  On the cutting dialog box that pops up, click “OK”.
  • After the design has finished cutting, take the material off of the machine and weed away the excess material.

Digitizing

  • Back in the Cut Studio software, take the same design and again click on the “Cutting” icon.
  • This time, make sure the “Print to File” box is checked and then click “OK”.
  • Change the “Save As Type” to All Files.  When naming your file, put a .plt on the end of the file name ex. adamyukish.plt.  Once named, click “Save”.
  • Open up the Imprintables Twill Stitch Pro Software and start with a blank white screen.
  • Import your saved artwork into the Twill Stitch Pro.
  • You should have the “Tree View” box open on the left.  Right Click on the color and then scroll down to “Convert To”.  Arrow over to “Tackle Twill”.  This will put place the stitches on your design. 
    • Note that you can also add a placement line and tack down line and change the density, inset, etc by right clicking on the selected design and going down to properties.
  • Once you have the stitches the way you want them, you’re ready to create your sew disk.  Click on “File” and then “Save As”.  There are many different extensions to pick from.  Make sure you choose the one that matches up to your embroidery machine. 

This wraps up the cutting and design side of creating your own appliques using the GX-24.  All that’s left is to use the cut twill and the digitized file to finish it off. 

A video showing this process will be coming, it will be a little redundant, but sometimes visual is more effective than reading.

If there are any questions, let me know!